Geotechnical engineering, a specialty under civil engineering, examines the geological ramifications related to building large structures such as office towers, skyscrapers, dams and bridges. The focus of this type of engineering is on the interaction of nature and manmade structures.
A strong understanding of soil, geology and the earth’s structure is required for a position in this field. Earning an advanced degree in a specialty area, such as geotechnical engineering, provides the opportunity for higher income potential and a larger employment base.
A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering is required for this type of engineering. Higher level degrees that focus on technology and geology are most desirable when hiring a geotechnical engineer.
A geotechnical engineer’s job involves working directly with other civil engineers and other professionals. The job also requires the ability to examine the relationship between a building and the foundation in order to determine the safest options for construction.
Some of the daily responsibilities of geotechnical engineers include:
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, civil engineering salaries range from $48,000 to $62,000 annually.
Approximately 256,000 civil engineers were employed in the United States in 2006 with an expectation of at least 12 percent growth by the year 2012. With such opportunities for continued (and well-compensated) employment, an engineering degree can open a multitude of doors.