Tunnel construction is one function of an engineering geologist.
Combine the disciplines of engineering and geology and the result is the position of an engineering geologist; engineers who apply their knowledge of geology in the construction of roads, bridges and power plants. Problems with soil, such as erosion and fault lines, require the expertise of an engineering geologist prior to and during construction. This field requires certain educational achievements, including degree problems and with licensing, which involves taking and passing certain examinations.
It takes education to be an engineering geologist. For example, the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate programs. A Bachelor of Science is a requirement for licensing as a professional engineer. The bachelor’s degree offers five tracks that shed light on the wide range of activities of an engineering geologist. The tracks are energy, minerals and mining; sustainability and environment; geohazards; ground and surface water; and infrastructure.
Completion of the degree requirements and receipt of a bachelor’s degree in engineering geology does not complete the professional process. The next step is the examination, which is administered by the National Association of State Boards of Geology. The examination takes place twice a year: once in the spring and once in the fall. Passing the exam is a requirement for licensing.
Once you obtain your degree and pass the ASBOG exam, you are ready to apply to your state for a license as a geologist. Each state has its own requirements. For example, Wisconsin state law requires two character references, education — which is met by some type of geology degree like engineering geology, passing the ASBOG exam and experience. In Wisconsin, five years of experience following graduation is required. Three years must be under the direct supervision of a licensed geologist. You can earn up to two years of credit for teaching or researching in graduate school.
Becoming an engineering geologist requires math and science skills. Engineers must know advanced math and calculus, along with chemistry and physics. Those skills combined with an understanding of the earth and its geology is what allows engineering geologists to design and construct projects that are safe and sustainable.