What are Geotechnical Consultants?

Carol Francois
Carol Francois
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Geotechnical consultants are responsible for providing insight and support to projects that will have an impact on the broader planetary environment. The primary purpose behind this type of project would be to reduce or counteract environmental issues or damage caused by humanity. Projects that a geotechnical consultant might work on include cloud seeding to encourage rainfall and tree planting projects to repopulate forests.

People who are naturally outgoing, dedicated to the cause, detail-oriented, and have excellent interpersonal skills find this type of career rewarding. Geotechnical consultants must have a combination of project management and engineering skills to ensure the project is completed on time and within budget. The vast majority of these projects are government sponsored and funded. A consulting firm is typically selected to assist with the project scoping, overall management, and oversight. These types of projects are often multi-year and require considerable teamwork and resources to complete.

All geotechnical consultants are fully licensed geoengineers. In order to obtain the skills required, all candidates must have completed a post-secondary education program in engineering, with a major in environmental engineering. It is expected that every candidate has completed the additional courses and written examination that are required to obtain this professional designation.

There are two primary areas of related work experience for geotechnical consultants: engineering and project management. The vast majority of consultants have at least 10 years of experience working in the field as an environmental engineer. Project management experience can be obtained through standard engineering projects or through a consulting service.

Consultancy is a very lucrative career path but is typically only available to candidates with a combination of academic credentials and extensive work experience. This type of position is available to candidates who are in the middle of their careers, building on 10 years or more of field experience. In consultancy, you are the subject matter expert that other engineers and project managers are relying on. Skill and experience in this field are essential for success.

Many engineers find that a course in public speaking or presentations is very helpful when making the transition into consulting. These types of projects are very high profile and it is best to be prepared for media coverage in advance. Courses in project management methodology and management can be useful, as many consultants are expected to direct staff they have no management authority over. There are specific techniques that can be very beneficial when performing this role. Take the time to learn the skill and avoid a host of problems.

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