Geotechnical engineers are also referred to as "soil scientists." According to Purdue University, the discipline of geotechnical engineering is a specialty under the umbrella classification of civil engineering, focusing on the "analysis, design and construction of foundations, slopes, retaining structures and other systems that are made of or are supported by soil or rock."
A geotechnical engineer utilizes the engineering principles of solid and rock mechanics, geology and construction to understand their affects on the physical environment.
Geotechnical engineers may work both in the field and the office. Field investigation includes gathering data, implementing lab tests and investigating computer-generated analysis. Office duties are writing and preparing project proposals, writing lab results, calculating analytical findings and using computer programs for two- and three-dimensional simulated experiments.
Geotechnical engineers must be able to communicate effectively and work on a team of hydrogeologists, construction engineers, structural engineers and clients.
A geotechnical engineer usually will hold a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering, with a specialty in geotechnical engineering.
A geotechnical engineer must have an Engineer-in-Training license (EIT) or a Professional Engineer (PE) license to officially sign legal documents and designs.
- Photo Credit geologist image by Stanisa Martinovic from Fotolia.com
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