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Mining Engineer: Job Description & Requirements

Read on to learn what a mining engineer does. See about required education and training. Get career prospects to help you decide if this job is right for you.

Career Definition

Mining engineers design and create systems that are used to locate, extract, and transport natural resources. They develop and design new mining equipment and make sure that the mining procedures used are safe and efficient. Increasingly, mining engineers focus their attention on creating mining equipment and techniques that are as friendly to the environment as possible.

Become a Mining Engineer

Required Education

Mining engineers need at least a bachelor's degree to find a job and many research positions require a master's degree or doctorate. Some courses that students need to take cover geology, mining operation, mine design, metallurgy and environmental reclamation, among others.

Licensing Requirements

Any mining engineer who works in the public sector must have a state license. Requirements vary by state, but typically include a combination of education and experience, and a series of tests.

Skills Required

Mining engineers must have a strong background in math and science, good organizational skills and strong problem solving abilities. Creativity and the ability to communicate effectively are also needed.

Career and Economic Outlook

The number of jobs in the mining and geological engineering field is expected to expand about 12% from 2012-2022, in line with the national average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). The BLS also indicated that the median yearly salary for mining and geological engineers was $84,320 in 2012.

Alternate Career Options

Petroleum Engineer

A petroleum engineer's work focuses on the extraction of oil and gas from the ground; this work can include improving mechanical or chemical processes, making drilling plans, well testing, or maintenance of extraction equipment in the field. A bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering or a closely related field is required for entry-level work. Petroleum engineers who work in the public sector must have a state license; licensing requirements vary by state but most require a degree from an ABET-accredited program, work experience, and two exams. Petroleum engineers can also earn Society of Petroleum Engineers certification. The BLS expects jobs in this field to increase 26% from 2012-2022. This occupation paid a median salary of $130,280 in 2012, per the BLS.

Geoscientist

A geoscientist studies the physical properties and processes of planet Earth. Geoscientists can specialize in subfields like oceanography, paleontology, seismology, and more. Geoscientists work in the field, making observations and taking measurements or samples, and in the lab, conducting research and analysis. This career requires at least a bachelor's degree; a Ph.D. is often required for research jobs. Licensure requirements may also apply, depending on the state. The BLS predicts that geoscientist jobs will increase 16% from 2012-2022; geoscientists earned median pay of $90,890 in 2012.

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