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Geo-technical engineer


A geo-technical engineer has an important job role in analysing soil, rock, groundwater, and other earth materials prior to major construction projects. This analysis can help determine what materials must be used in the structure’s foundation or overall design, or whether the project needs additional measures to ensure it is safe.

Average salary*




How to become a geo-technical engineer

There are several routes to becoming a geo-technical engineer. You can gain the qualifications you need by doing a university or college course or you could apply for an apprenticeship. If you already have relevant skills or experience you may be able to apply directly to an employer or train on the job. 

You should explore these routes to find out which is the right one for you. Although some of these options have certain qualification requirements, many employers are more interested in people who are enthusiastic, willing to learn and can follow instructions.

You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a construction site.


You could complete an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject, such as:

  • Geological engineering
  • Geology
  • Geotechnology
  • Geophysics
  • Mineral or mining engineering.

For an undergraduate degree you’ll usually require:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 2 - 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and science. 

Employers may also ask for a postgraduate qualification in a subject such as geotechnical engineering, hydrogeology, soil or rock mechanics. To enrol on a postgraduate degree course, you’ll need to have completed an undergraduate degree, or equivalent qualification. 

College/training provider

Your local college or training provider may offer courses to help you on your journey towards becoming a geo-technical engineer, such as environmental science, geology or applied science.

Entry requirements vary but you’ll generally need 4 - 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent. 


You could complete an apprenticeship to become a geo-technical engineer. You can train as an engineering technician, and then specialise to gain the relevant qualifications to work as a geo-technical engineer.

You’ll need 4 - 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science.

Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16. As an apprentice, you’ll be fully employed by your company and expected to work a minimum of 30 hours a week. Your time will be split between on-the-job experience and a college or training provider.


If you have a background in civil engineering or science, it is sometimes possible to enter the field through the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) or the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3). You might start out as an assistant to a more experienced geo-technical engineer and progress as your abilities improve.  

Work experience

Work experience is essential to gaining employment within the construction industry. You could gain this at school, or by working weekends and holidays with a company or relative who works as a geo-technical engineer. Potential employers will always be pleased to see work experience listed on your CV.


Additional skills which may benefit anyone considering a job as a geo-technical engineer  include: 

  • Mathematics, science, and geological knowledge
  • Ability to draw basic sketches
  • A passion for the environment
  • Ability to apply technical knowledge
  • Analytical abilities 
  • Able to build and maintain relationships with clients and other teams
  • Project management skills.

What does a geo-technical engineer do?

As a geo-technical engineer, you will be responsible for the study and review of the natural environment before a construction project takes place. This includes reviewing the surrounding minerals and materials and helping to design projects based on your findings. 

The job role of a geo-technical engineer involves the following duties: 

  • Gathering and analysing data
  • Looking at the risk of geological hazards and making sure any factors affecting engineering works are identified and managed
  • Advising on procedures required and the suitability of construction materials
  • Using specialist computer software to create analytical 2D and 3D models
  • Consulting geological maps and aerial photographs to advise on site selection
  • Assisting with the design of built structures, using specialised computer software or calculations
  • Planning detailed field investigations by drilling and analysing samples of deposits or bedrock
  • Supervising ground investigations and budgets
  • Advising on and testing a range of construction materials including sand, gravel, bricks and clay
  • Making recommendations on the proposed use of a site
  • Managing staff, including other engineering geologists, geotechnical engineers, consultants and contractors
  • Working to preserve and protect the physical environment
  • Analysing sites and designs for environmentally sensitive developments, such as landfill.

How much could you earn as a geo-technical engineer?

The expected salary for a geo-technical engineer varies as you become more experienced.

  • Newly trained geo-technical engineers can earn £20,000 - £25,000
  • Trained geo-technical engineers with some experience can earn £25,000 - £32,000
  • Senior, chartered, or master geo-technical engineers can earn £32,000 - £60,000*.

Hours and salary depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do.

* Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources


Check out the latest geo-technical engineer vacancies:  

As these are external websites, the number of vacancies related to your preferred role may vary. New opportunities will be posted as they come up.

Career path and progression

As a geo-technical engineer, you could transfer your skills to a similar discipline within engineering, such as structural engineering. 

You could also progress to become a team leader or project manager.

Progression Opportunities

Explore the progression opportunities below

  • Current role Geo-technical engineer Interested in analysing the risk of geological hazards to identify any risks to ...
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  • Current role Contracts manager During a construction project, the contracts manager overseas the contracts proc...
    Read more
  • Current role Project manager Considering a career in project management? See what the role of a construction ...
    Read more
  • Current role Structural engineer Structural engineers design structures ready to withstand the stresses of the en...
    Read more
  • Current role Self employed contractor As a contractor or subcontractor, you'll be working directly with your clients t...
    Read more
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