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Geological Engineer
Geologists study the structure, composition and history of the earth's crust. Geological engineers apply their knowledge of geological principles to the planning, designing, construction, operation and safety of civil and structural engineering projects.

Geological engineers examine the types and geological structures of soils at construction sites and
ensure that large structures such as high buildings, dams, roads, or new townships are designed to suit the soil conditions or strength of the rock. They ensure the firm and safe construction of the foundations in the most cost-effective way. They also examine the materials used in the construction of roads. Geological engineers work most closely with civil engineers.

Geological engineers conduct studies to analyse geological and geotechnical conditions, and they plan, develop and coordinate programmes of geotechnical, geological, geophysical or geohydrological data acquisition, analysis and mapping to assist in the development of civil engineering, mining, petroleum and waste management projects, or for regional development. They analyse and prepare recommendations and reports for the construction of, or improvements to, the foundations of civil engineering projects, such as rock excavation, pressure grouting, rock slope stabilization and hydraulic channel erosion control. They conduct theoretical and applied studies of groundwater flow and contamination, and they develop specifications for site selection, treatment and construction.

They also plan, develop, coordinate and conduct theoretical and experimental studies in mining exploration, evaluation and feasibility studies with regard to the mining industry. They conduct surveys and studies of ore deposits, ore reserve calculations and mine design. They design, develop and implement computer applications for geophysics, geochemistry, geology, mapping and related fields, and they supervise technologists, technicians and other engineers and scientists.

Satisfying Aspects
- working outdoors part of the time
- solving problems and ensuring that structures are safe
- the variety of work
- working with others

Demanding aspects
- sometimes having to be away from home and family for long periods
- primitive living conditions in the field
- the pressure of ensuring accurate work, as mistakes could cost lives

A geological engineer should:
- have scientific and mathematical aptitude;
- have above-average intelligence;
- be dedicated to their work;
- have good observation skills;
- work independently or as part of a team;
- be adaptable;
- be willing to work outdoors under all weather conditions.

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences
Recommended Subjects: Geography

The minimum qualification required for registration as a natural scientist (Geology) at the South African Board for Natural Scientists is a BSc (Honours) degree, or a 3-year diploma in Geology at a university of technology. A degree in Geology is available at UCT, UP, UWC, UFS, UV, TUT; Geological Science at Wits and UKZN, and Geoscience at NMMU.

Geologists cannot register with ECSA but can register with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions.

- Civil engineering companies
- Government departments
- Municipalities
- Large institutions concerned with civil engineering projects
- Consulting geological companies
- Quantity surveyors
- Self-employment, with enough experience and capital, can start own business as a consultant

Geological Society of South Africa
P O Box 61809
Linden, 2107
Tel: (011) 492-3370 Fax: (011) 492-3371

Council for Geoscience
Private Bag x112
Pretoria, 0001
Tel: (012) 841- 1911 Fax: (012) 841-1221