Engineers are responsible for applying principles of math and science in order to develop solutions related to technical issues. An engineer may commonly use a computer in order to complete their work. Most workers within this occupation specialize, such as in mining and geological engineering.
Mining and Geological Engineer Job Responsibilities
Mining and geological engineers are responsible for finding, extracting and preparing metals, minerals and coal for use by utilities and manufacturing industries. They may often design both underground and open pit mines in addition to supervising the construction of tunnels and mine shifts in underground mines. Other job responsibilities may include creating transportation methods to allow for the transportation of minerals and metals to processing plans. Mining engineers’ job duties also include the responsibility of the safety and environmentally and economically safe operation of mines. In some cases, a mining engineer may also work with metallurgical engineers and geologists in order to appraise and locate new deposits of metals, coal or minerals.
Other engineers work primarily with developing new equipment or direct processing operations that separate the minerals from rock, dirt and other materials. Mining engineers may commonly specialize in the mining production of one specific type of metal or minerals, like gold or coal. Due to an increased emphasis on the protection of the environment, mining engineers today are commonly working to resolve problems associated with water and air pollution as well as land reclamation. Safety engineers within this field utilize their knowledge of mine practices and design in order to ensure worker safety as well as comply with federal and state safety guidelines and regulations. Levels of responsibility include inspecting wall and roof surfaces, monitoring air quality and examining equipment to ensure it is in compliance with all safety guidelines.
Engineers may work in buildings; however, they may also frequently work on site in the mines, which can mean working outdoors and often in underground mine locations. Extensive travel may be required in many cases. Engineers may work a 40 hour standard work week. Deadlines may require working overtime. Frequent travel may be necessary. In some cases, it may be necessary to travel overseas or even spend extended periods of time in foreign countries to assist with foreign mining activities.
To be successful in this career field, individuals should be inquisitive, creative, detail oriented and analytical. They must have good communication skills; including written and oral communication skills as well as be able to work with others. In order to work for the federal government or for defense contractors engineers may need to have a security clearance.
Employment within this field expected to grow approximately as fast as other occupations over the course of the next decade. This growth will vary according to specialty. Mining and geological engineers are expected to see a growth in their field that is faster than average for other occupations. This field is anticipated to grow by approximately 15% over the next ten years. This growth will primarily be fueled by an increased demand around the world for minerals. Growth in this field will also continue as a large number of engineers approach retirement age. The best employment opportunities in this field will include frequently traveling and possibly living abroad for long periods of time. This is directly related to the fact that more mining operations around the globe are now recruiting graduates from engineering programs in the U.S. To remain competitive it is important for engineers within this field to participate in continuing education and training throughout their career.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Mining and Geological Engineer Training and Education Requirements
A bachelor’s degree is commonly needed to enter this occupation. A graduate degree may be required for research positions. An engineering program commonly involves study within a specific specialty, combined with courses in life and physical sciences and math.
Admissions requirements for an undergraduate engineering school might include a background in math, science, social studies, English and humanities. While most bachelor degree programs last four years, some students may take up to five years. The first two years are commonly spent in the study of basic sciences, math, humanities, intro engineering and social sciences. The last two years of the program may include a concentration in engineering.
Mining and Geological Engineer Salary and Wages
In 2008 mining and geological engineers had median wages of $75,960 per year. Salaries may vary based on geographic location, employer and level of experience and education.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Mining and Geological Engineer Certifications
In all fifty states as well as the District of Columbia, engineers who provide services to the public are required to be licensed. Licensed engineers are known as professional engineers or PEs. Licensure can be obtained through a degree from an engineering program that is ABET accredited, along with four years of work experience as well as a state exam. Licensure is typically recognized among states.
New graduates commonly work under the direction and supervision of an experienced engineer before advancing to projects that require more responsibility.
Mining and Geological Engineer Professional Associations
Professional associations for mining and geological engineers include the Society for Mining, metallurgy and Exploration.