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How do I Become a Geoengineer?

Carol Francois
Carol Francois

There are three items required to become a geoengineer: post-secondary training, related work experience, and completing the job interview process. A geoengineer is responsible for managing projects that would cause changes to the broader planetary environment. The primary purpose behind this type of project would be to reduce or counteract issues caused by humanity. Examples of geoengineering projects include cloud seeding to encourage rainfall and tree planting projects to repopulate forests denuded by logging operations.

People who are mechanically inclined, detail-oriented, and have excellent interpersonal skills find this type of career rewarding. In this role, project management and engineering skills are important to ensure the project is completed on time and within budget. A project with such a broad scope is typically multi-year and requires considerable teamwork and resources to complete. The vast majority of these projects are government sponsored and funded.

A geoengineer may find ways to repopulate forests affected by logging operations.
A geoengineer may find ways to repopulate forests affected by logging operations.

The first requirement to become a geoengineer is to complete a post-secondary education program in engineering. There are a wide range of engineering disciplines, but most geoengineers are environmental engineers. A professional designation as an engineer (P.Eng) is required to work in this role. Additional courses and a written examination are required to obtain this professional designation.

Admissions to an engineering degree program require high marks in high school calculus, algebra, physics, technology, and English courses. These programs are very competitive, with the best schools requiring personal essay, interviews, and references as part of the application process. The tuition fee to become an environmental engineer is higher than a bachelor of arts degree, as this is a professional program.

There are two areas of related work experience required to become a geoengineer: engineering experience and project management experience. Typically, geoengineers have at least 10 years' experience working in the field as an environmental engineer. Project management experience can be obtained through standard engineering projects or through a consulting service.

Keep in mind that project management experience can be obtained outside the engineering work environment. Managing a large project for a volunteer agency, such as Engineers Without Borders, local community organization projects or projects through the local engineering school are all options. Management is a skill that is learned best through activity.

During the job interview process, take the time to prepare for the interview. Think of a list of standard interview questions and prepare your answers in advance. Take your time and answer all the questions to the best of your abilities. Many engineers find that a course in public speaking or presentations is very helpful when working to become a geoengineer. These types of projects are very high profile and it is best to be prepared for media coverage in advance.

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    • A geoengineer may find ways to repopulate forests affected by logging operations.
      By: onepony
      A geoengineer may find ways to repopulate forests affected by logging operations.