What are the Different Geotechnical Engineer Jobs?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 14 September 2018
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There are four different types of geotechnical engineer jobs: independent consultancy, working for a geotechnical or civil engineering firm, and teaching. A geotechnical engineer is a specialist who investigates the conditions of the subsurface of the earth. He or she is primarily focused on evaluating the suitability of an area of land for a specific project or construction, completing a risk assessment, and designing structural foundations to minimize risk, both on the short and long term.

In order to qualify for geotechnical engineer jobs, you will need to complete a university degree in geotechnical or civil engineering and become a professional engineer (P.Eng). This is a specialized program that is available from a limited number of universities. Very few schools have a program for geotechnical engineers, so most are licensed civil engineers who have completed a graduate degree in geotechnical engineering.

A growing number of geotechnical engineer jobs are created through working as an independent consultant. In this role, the engineer provides his expertise to clients for either a specific project or a service agreement. Services may include designs, construction or repair project plans, and working with the client to understand their needs. This role allows the company to access specific expertise as needed, while allowing the engineering to work with multiple clients. It is very common for government agencies to hire a consultant to provide advice on large construction projects or repairs that may be impacted by subsurface ground conditions.


The most common type of geotechnical engineer jobs involves working for a services firm. In this job, the engineer provides possible designs to resolve an existing structural problem, or writes reports and recommendations regarding the use of specific areas of land. This type of work is highly skilled and the time a project takes varies widely, depending on the scope and the client.

There are a wide range of geotechnical engineer jobs available in teaching. Using his or her presentation skills, an engineer can provide instruction to civil engineers, project and senior management, or architects. Many of these courses focus on the pressures of building on less than ideal ground, working in an unstable area, or repairing old structures that have shifted due to a change in the subsurface conditions.

In order to become an instructor, many engineers complete a certificate program in adult education. Learning the most effective way to teach adults can be a huge help when making this career transition. Engineer school is very knowledge based, and does not provide an opportunity to learn presentation skills. Take the time to gain these skills when making this change.

People who report the greatest satisfaction in geotechnical engineer jobs enjoy problem solving and working independently. Many successful engineers built their practice through reputation. Skill, ability to meet client expectations and maintaining good business relationships are critical to a long career.



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