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A person who wants to become an engineering geologist will need a bachelor's degree at a minimum and might have more employment opportunities by earning a graduate degree. In some regions, it might also be necessary to obtain a license from a regulatory agency to practice as an engineering geologist. It also can be helpful to join a professional organization to keep up with developments in the field, establish professional connections and interact with colleagues.
High school students who have an interest in geotechnical engineering might want to consider seeking out extra math and science classes to prepare for college. Some students could choose to take care of some general education requirements in high school to leave more time for study in college. It might be possible to do this through advanced placement classes and electives or by taking college-level courses at a local educational institution.
A high school student can apply to colleges that have engineering geology degree tracks or strong programs in geotechnical engineering. It is important to get familiar with the degree requirements early, because it is often necessary to take classes in a series that might start as soon as the second year of college. Failing to prepare ahead of time might mean spending more time in college to become an engineering geologist. A counselor can help a student develop a plan for all four years of college to make sure that the degree requirements will be met.
Someone who is in college to become an engineering geologist might want to explore internship opportunities. Government agencies and private companies that use engineering geologists sometimes accept interns for a limited number of positions each year. These can include summer jobs as well as long-term internships in which students do a few hours of work each week while in school. Internships can provide practical experience and might create networking opportunities that could be useful after graduation. Some internships pay or are grant-supported, which can benefit students who have concerns about covering living expenses during an internship.
With a degree, it might be possible to become an engineering geologist in an entry-level position. Such jobs allow employees to develop their skills while being supervised by a more experienced geologist. After at least a year of experience in the field, a geologist can apply for more advanced positions. Another option is to go to graduate school for an advanced degree to become an engineering geologist. This can provide research opportunities, which might be of interest to a geologist who wants to improve the available technology and understanding of his or her field.