Difference Between Engineering Geology & Geological Engineering

Engineering geology and geological engineering sound like the same job said differently. This article gives you details on just how different these two professions are and what one can expect by pursuing either of these fields.

Comparing Engineering Geologists to Geological Engineers

Engineering geologists study the environmental impact before and after any engineering project on an area or location. Geological engineers design mines based on geological and site studies looking for certain minerals and metals. Below is a comparison of these two engineering positions, as well as some interesting financial material.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2014-2024)**
Engineering Geologists Bachelor's Degree $81,014 10% (Geoscientists, except hydrologists and geographers)
Geological Engineers Bachelor's Degree $54,000 6% (Mining and geological engineers, including mining safety engineers)

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Engineering Geologists vs. Geological Engineers

Engineering geologists and geological engineers are students of the earth and all its shifting, movement and alterations. Both of these professionals need to be licensed in most states to work. Engineering geologists are called in before an engineering project takes place to determine what the impact will be on the soil and the surrounding environment. These geologists will make studies of the earth, any bedrock and other possible problems underground. Geological engineers are engineers using their knowledge of geology to design and create safe mines for workers so they can extract various minerals or metals.

Engineering Geologists

Engineering geologists are geoscientists who travel to various possible work sites to assess problems that might arise before, during and after an engineering project. They are trained to be aware of unseen problems like landslides or floodplains. They use a variety of testing materials to see what's under the ground that might affect the construction project or the long term safety of a structure's placement.

Job responsibilities of an engineering geologist include:

  • Collecting samples and surveys
  • Conducting lab tests on samples
  • Preparing reports based on testing and on site observations for clients
  • Creating geological charts and maps

Geological Engineers

Geological engineers are engineers with extensive knowledge of geology. These experts utilize their geological studies to determine where the best places to build mines are, and they use their engineering skills to design them to keep miners safe while they work underground and in open pits. These professionals must have the experience and expertise to analyze data which will lead them to the minerals or metals their clients seek. They are the key to finding coal, gold, platinum and other precious metals.

Job responsibilities of a geological engineer include:

  • Consulting with other geoscientists and engineers
  • Designing underground transportation methods for material and miners
  • Monitoring daily operations to assess effectiveness
  • Making sure mining operations are environmentally proper

Related Careers

Those interested in becoming engineering geologists, who study the environmental impact of an engineering project, might also consider becoming environmental scientists, who use their expertise to protect the environment and help people deal with unhealthy, outside pollution. Individuals looking into becoming geological engineers to design mines might consider work as petroleum engineers and design ways to extract oil and gas from the earth.

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