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What kind of job can I expect?
These are some the entry level job titles:
The environment is clearly an important issue on which geological engineers often focus their work. As an entry level geological engineer you might work for a state agency such as the Department of Natural Resources, or you might work for the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Alternatively, a geological engineer may undertake a career with one of the consulting firms focusing on environmental protection, hazardous waste cleanup, groundwater protection and geologic hazards. Geological engineers are uniquely trained to be sensitive to geological uncertainty and natural variation in the soil, rock and subsurface fluids, while at the same time having a problem-solving and applications skill set that allows them to develop innovative solutions to environmental problems. Geological engineers are often involved in designing waste storage facilities, or groundwater cleanup plans. Geological engineers might also become environmental experts with respect to petroleum and gas facilities or operations. Finally, many geological engineers work on mitigating the hazards posed by environmental and geological processes such as landslides, earthquakes and flooding.
Engineering in an aggregate quarry is very much interdisciplinary. You can start out as a geological engineer, but end up doing mining engineering, environmental engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, or even electrical. The typically career path for an engineer goes from being an intern to quality control engineer, to production manager, and finally to quarry manager. Some of our graduates become quarry managers in less than 5 years. If you intern with a large aggregate company you will probably spend the first 2 years learning to do every single job in the quarry, from drilling and blasting, to operating the heavy machinery, and learning the ins an outs of the crushing screening operation. You will learn how to do all the quality control tests and write environmental reports and permit application. At the end of the 2 year internship you intimately understand all aspects of the quarrying operation.
Geological engineers often work in part on subsurface contamination issues or groundwater supply problems. Typically an entry level geological engineer would be responsible for supervising the drilling of groundwater wells and monitoring wells, and for designing the sampling plans or for carrying out pumping tests to determine aquifer characteristics. As a project engineer, the geological engineering graduate might be responsible for leading a team that would carry out site investigations, analyze hydrogeological and surface water data, and ultimately might design a groundwater cleanup plan that might utilize pump-and-treat, in-situ cleanup, or some innovative process to restore the groundwater quality. Groundwater is one of the most important natural resources available, and its utilization in a sustainable manner is very important for the future of human society and the environment.
A career in Petroleum Engineering involves many specialties: Drilling engineers work with geologists and contractors to design and supervise drilling operations, many of which are multi-million-dollar ventures. Production engineers design the well bore and surface equipments as well as develop the processes to optimize oil and gas production. Reservoir engineers determine the oil and gas reserves and the ideal processes to recover them. They estimate the number of wells that can be economically drilled, and simulate future recovery performance using sophisticated computer models. In addition to the three core specialties of drilling, production, and reservoir engineering, Petroleum Engineers work as managers, entrepreneurs, economists, or environmental/safety specialists. Petroleum engineers may also find rewarding opportunities in such fields as teaching, consulting, and government services and on a variety of projects which protect and preserve the earth.
As a geotechnical engineer you could work for a State DOT or State DNR, or a construction company, or any company such as a mining company that needs geotechnical work. Most of our graduates work for engineering consulting firms that offer their services to the public and to industry. As a entry level consulting engineer, you will probably be heavily involved in fieldwork. You may be involved in soil rock or water sampling or testing. You might be involved with mapping the rock and units in the field and looking for geological hazards such as landslides. You may be working with a drilling rig in the field. A few years into your career you will be managing projects and supervising others doing the same things. Later in your career, in many companies, if you have proved your worth, and are proficient in bringing clients to your firm, you may have the opportunity of becoming a partner and sharing in the profits of the firm.
What kind of salary can I expect?
The average starting salary for the 2008-2009 graduating class was $51,357.