Geotechnical Engineer

Geotechnical Engineer

Geotechnical engineers evaluate ground conditions to determine whether they are suitable for construction and infrastructure projects, and design foundations for buildings and other structures.

As a geotechnical engineer, you might be involved in:

  • Assessing the foundations of houses damaged by the Canterbury earthquakes – and finding ways to fix them
  • Making sure dams are safe, by researching the properties of the ground underneath the dam and the potential for landslips
  • Coastal engineering, including wharves, jetties and marinas

Both geotechnical engineering and engineering geology involve applying knowledge about soil and other components of the earth to construction projects. The difference is that geotechnical engineers are a specialised type of civil engineer and are involved in designing earthworks and foundations, whereas engineering geologists apply their knowledge of geology to investigate ground conditions and report on their suitability for building.

The main employers of geotechnical engineers include:

  • Specialist geotechnical engineering consultancies such as Coffey Geotechnics
  • General engineering consultancies such as Opus, Beca, URS and Tonkin & Taylor
  • Construction companies
  • Mining and drilling companies such as OceanaGold
  • Regional and local government authorities

Geotechnical engineers earn:

  • $45-55,000 starting salary
  • $65-95,000 with five to seven years’ experience

Key tertiary qualifications for geotechnical engineers:

Required and recommended school subjects:

  • Calculus (required)
  • Physics (required)
  • English
  • Chemistry
  • Technology subjects

Careers New Zealand: Civil Engineer

Other job roles you may be interested in:

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Geotechnical Engineer: People who work in this role

  • Abby Wake-Mayo

    Geotechnical Engineer, Abby Wake-Mayo at work

    Ashe Cooper

    Geotechnical Engineer, Ashe Cooper at work

    Crystal Ham

    Graduate Geotechnical Engineer, Crystal Ham at work

    Floyd Thomas

    Geotechnical Engineer, Floyd Thomas at work
  • Charlotte Robertson

    Geotechnical Engineer, Charlotte Robertson  at work

    Elles Pearse-Danker

    Project Engineering Geologist, Elles Pearse-Danker at work

    Ben Harrison

    , Ben Harrison at work

    David Chiswell

    Geotechnical Engineer, David Chiswell at work
  • Poini Palu

     Geotechnical Engineer, Poini Palu at work

    Stuart McCready

    Geotechnical Engineer, Stuart McCready at work

    Kushant Kishore

    , Kushant Kishore at work

    James Livingston

    Geotechnical Engineer, James Livingston at work
  • James Russell

    Geotechnical Engineer, James Russell at work

    Moru Jia

    Geotechnical Engineer, Moru Jia at work

    James Beaumont

    Geotechnical Engineer , James Beaumont at work

    Peter Lisle

    Engineer, Peter Lisle at work
  • Rory McCully

    Geotechnical Design Engineer, Rory McCully at work

    Shirley Wang

    Geotechnical Engineer, Shirley Wang at work

    Michael Blucher

    Civil Engineer, Michael Blucher at work

    Brett Menefy

    , Brett Menefy at work

Geotechnical Engineer: Companies that employ people in this job role

  • Engineers Without Borders New Zealand
    Engineers Without Borders New Zealand
    GNS Science
    GNS Science
    McConnell Dowell
    McConnell Dowell
    Western Bay of Plenty District Council
    Western Bay of Plenty District Council
  • Tiaki Engineering Consultants
    Tiaki Engineering Consultants
    HEB Construction
    HEB Construction
    Tonkin & Taylor
    Tonkin & Taylor
  • Coffey
    Fulton Hogan
    Fulton Hogan
    Fraser Thomas
    Fraser Thomas
  • Stantec
    Riley Consultants
    Riley Consultants
  • Dunedin City Council
    Dunedin City Council
    Davis Ogilvie
    Davis Ogilvie
    URS New Zealand
    URS New Zealand

Futureintech is an initiative of Engineering New Zealand, funded by Callaghan Innovation