Mining and Geological Engineering Careers

Read on to learn about typical courses, resources, and careers in this field.

Staff Writer

2022-11-1515 min read

Mining and geological engineers oversee mining operations, direct mineral processing operations, and access and develop mining sites.

This guide details mining and geological engineering occupations, including degree requirements, professional development tools, salaries, and job prospects.

Why Choose Mining and Geological Engineering?

The world currently runs on fossil fuels, and most of our gadgets are made using mineral resources and ore deposits. These actions will require mining and geological engineers to handle mining operations, transport mined materials, inspect mining areas, and develop environmentally sound extraction strategies that meet state and federal regulations.

How to Start your Mining and Geological Engineering Journey

Mining and geological engineers often need a bachelor’s or a master’s degree to get a job. Here are the educational requirements for mining engineers.

Education Requirements

Associate Degree

An associate's degree is perfect for those looking for entry-level technician positions. You'll learn how to operate mines safely and efficiently and handle technical reports. It typically takes two years to complete and lets you work as a mining technician.

Bachelor’s Degree

Mining and geological engineers typically have a bachelor's degree. The degree takes four years to complete and details what it takes to be a mining engineer.

There are relatively few schools offering mining and geological engineering degrees. Make sure your program is an abet accredited engineering program before enrolling.

Master’s Degree

A Master's degree trains students in specialized areas such as mineral resource development, gives them an understanding of mining regulations, and shows them how mine construction operations work. You can find work in management or as a drilling operations director once you have a master's degree.

Doctorate Degree in Mining and Geological Engineering

A doctorate prepares you to teach engineering. You’ll be required to come up with a thesis before you graduate.

Employment Prospects

Mining operations will increase the need for geological and mining engineers. In addition, recently amended federal laws govern access to coal reserves on federally controlled territory in numerous western states.

This regulation change allows increased mining for this low-sulfur coal, which is in high demand worldwide. Mining and geological engineers will be needed to safely and efficiently extract minerals from these new mines.

Mining and Geological Engineering Career Forecast

Mining and geological engineers are expected to grow 2% from 2021 to 2031, which is less than the average.

Mining and geological engineers are expected to fill 500 jobs per year over the next decade, despite the slow job growth.

Lucrative Mining and Geological Engineering Career Paths

Mining and Geological Engineers

Mining and geological engineers develop mines to safely and efficiently extract resources like coal and metals for manufacturing and utilities.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a mining and geological engineer is $97,090. The salary ranges from $48,690 to $162,720.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Prepare plans for both surface and underground mining
  • Supervise tunnel and mine shaft construction.
  • Develop techniques for transferring materials to processing plants
  • Write up technical reports for the benefit of the mining crew, the engineering team, and the management.
  • Check the output of the mine to see how well it is doing.
  • Address land reclamation, air and water pollution, and sustainability issues.
  • Keep mines safe and environmentally friendly.

Industries Employing Geological Engineers

The industries actively hiring mining and geological engineers include:

  • Engineering services
  • Metal ore mining
  • Coal mining
  • Oil and gas extraction
  • Government

Mine Supervisor

Mine supervisors manage underground and surface mining operations. They supervise mines, mining sites, and quarries.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a mine supervisor is $84,000. The salary ranges from $69,800 to $98,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Record and verify mining site spatial data.
  • Track mine production and machinery performance.
  • Manage, supervise, and inspect mine planning and surveying activities.
  • Manage the acquisition, storage, and transfer of raw materials and work-in-progress inventory.
  • Check mines for safety.
  • Communicate clearly with mine production management and machine operators.
  • Prepare and supervise shaft and tunnel mine construction.
  • Evaluate mining processes, including waste management, life-of-mine plans, production timeframes, and funding.

Industries Employing Mine Supervisors

The industries actively hiring mine supervisors include:

  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Energy
  • Fortune 500
  • Technology


Metallurgists or metallurgical engineers extract and process metals and alloys. They study and use metals like iron, steel, aluminum, nickel, and copper to make valuable goods and materials.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a metallurgist is $81,839. The salary typically ranges from $72,490 to $90,852.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Technically assessing metals' suitability for various uses.
  • Advising on product feasibility and new product research.
  • Designing accurate components.
  • Inventing new solutions and prototypes.
  • Studying metal fatigue and corrosion.
  • Supervising engineers and technicians.
  • Maintaining manufacturing quality
  • Supervising operational quality control utilizing specialized software
  • Analyzing samples in a lab using destructive and non-destructive methods to determine the composition
  • Creating new test and repair procedures

Industries Employing Metallurgists

The industries actively hiring metallurgists include:

  • Metal and materials producers
  • Manufacturing and process companies
  • Foundries
  • Research and development organizations
  • Specialist consultancies
  • Utility companies

Drilling Operations Directors

Drilling Operations Directors manage a company's drilling, production, and engineering. They design and execute drilling projects, develop oil and gas resources, and analyze reserves.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a drilling operations director is $204,236. The salary typically ranges from $171,716 to $227,266

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Manage drilling operations, workers, work environment, and HSE.
  • Manage onsite activities safely and efficiently to meet well objectives following standards and operator procedures.
  • Arrange logistics for remote deliveries.
  • Safely and efficiently meet well objectives while adhering to standards and operator policies.
  • Manage and approve vendor field tickets using relevant AFE and cost codes.

Industries Employing Drilling Operations Directors

The industries actively hiring drilling operations directors include:

  • Engineering services
  • Metal ore mining
  • Coal mining
  • Oil and gas extraction
  • Government

Project Controls Managers

Project controls managers build internal training tools, teach project managers, audit deliverables, and define service criteria for engineering and construction contracts to oversee project cost control, change management, and EVM procedures.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a project control manager is $119,148. The salary ranges from $81,000 to $173,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Manage independent and contractor-style cost estimates.
  • Control client costs, and create and manage a program/project cost control system for the CM task order and construction contract.
  • Coordinates engineering and construction activities with project schedules.
  • Responsible for IT scheduling standards, including baseline schedules for cleanup and construction.
  • Manages and tracks project/program financing sources such as SOWs and external contracts.
  • Compare task or project plans to cost, schedule, and technical performance.
  • Estimate costs using quantity surveys, inflation considerations, and R-based pricing.

Industries Employing Project Controls Managers

The industries actively hiring project control managers include:

  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Government

Occupational Health and Safety Specialists

Occupational health and safety experts gather and analyze data on many workplaces and processes. They inspect workplaces for safety, health, and environmental compliance.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of an occupational health and safety specialist is $78,740. The salary ranges from $44,040 to $118,510.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Check working settings, equipment, and processes for safety and government compliance.
  • Design and implement workplace processes to protect workers from dangerous work circumstances.
  • Assess workplace health and safety initiatives
  • Provide occupational safety training to companies and employees.
  • Use safety gear properly.
  • Investigate occurrences and accidents to determine causes and preventive measures.

Industries Employing Occupational Health and Safety Specialists

The industries actively hiring occupational health and safety specialists include:

  • Government
  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Management, scientific, and technical consulting services
  • Hospitals; state, local, and private

Mineral Processing Engineer

Mineral processing engineers design and manage equipment and processes to extract and refine precious minerals from ore.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a mineral processing engineer is $71,241. The salary ranges from $43,000 to $118,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Organize and manage the extraction of metals and minerals from ore at underground or surface mines.
  • Check process conditions and mill material flow.
  • Control the mine feed, operational settings, and chemical addition to maximize mineral extraction and produce stable, high-quality concentrates.
  • Improve systems through onsite testing and research.
  • Use advanced safety and process methods.
  • Work with other divisions to optimize production, lower costs, solve problems, and fulfill deadlines.
  • Help supervisors manage junior engineers and technicians.
  • Plan equipment wear and preventative maintenance.

Industries Employing Mineral processing Engineers.

The industries actively hiring mineral processing engineers include:

  • Sand and gravel operations
  • Government
  • Coal mining
  • Metal ore mining
  • Engineering services

Seismic Engineer

Seismic engineers work to improve construction methods that can shield structures from any harm caused by earthquakes of varying magnitudes.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a seismic engineer is $101,659. The salary ranges from $30,500 to $179,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Join seismic acquisition, processing, and interpretation.
  • Work with the team to conduct comprehensive research on the structure and reservoir.
  • Organize a demonstration in the new well location, track well-drilling
  • performance, and write well modification suggestions.
  • Develop and organize well-drilling site geophysical work.
  • Interpret Oil Field seismic data and assist geology and reservoir in improving development plans.
  • Assess structure, reservoir, plan execution, and risk before and after development plan implementation.
  • Perform structural design for the petrochemical industry using the STAAD program.

Industries Employing Seismic Engineers

The industries actively hiring seismic engineers include:

  • Construction
  • Water Utilities
  • Landfill management
  • Oil and gas exploration


Hydrogeologists investigate underground water deposits. Their research is used for building projects, protecting aquifers, and safely getting rid of hazardous waste, among other things.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a hydrogeologist is $61,748. The salary typically ranges from $49,000 to $81,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Using basic geology, learn how rock types and structures affect groundwater occurrence and movement.
  • Read and interpret maps, geographical data, historical facts, and models to develop a picture of the groundwater regime and land contamination.
  • Use computers to estimate groundwater flow, chemistry, and temperature based on geological formations, surface water movement, and human influence.
  • Investigate and monitor sites in the field
  • Construct and install boreholes, sample and analyze groundwater and surface water, and conduct environmental impact evaluations of groundwater abstraction and management operations
  • Analyze data to determine how landfills, construction projects, mining, and agriculture impact groundwater quality and resource availability.

Industries Employing Hydrogeologist

The industries actively employing hydrogeologists include:

  • Construction
  • Environmental protection
  • Hazardous waste
  • Government
  • Research firms

Environmental Geologist

Environmental geologists investigate the planet and its resources. For example, they may study soil composition, water quality, mineral deposits, or other planet-related topics.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of an Environmental Geologist is $58,000. However, the salary typically ranges from $45,000 to $83,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Predicting future dangers by studying natural disasters like earthquakes and landslides.
  • Conducting geological surveys of development sites to evaluate if the land can support the projected use
  • Conducting environmental impact assessments to examine the environmental impact of a proposed project
  • Conducting environmental impact assessments to examine the environmental impact of a proposed project
  • Conducting soil studies to assess an area's agricultural potential
  • Designing environmental solutions like green spaces or cleanup schemes

Industries Employing Environmental Geologists

The industries actively hiring environmental geologists include:

  • Government agencies
  • Oil, mining, and drilling companies

Geophysical Data Technician

Geophysical Data Technicians use audio, electronic, electrical, seismic, and gravity-measuring tools to collect, record, and analyze geological data in the search for oil and gas.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a Geophysical Data Technician is $61,795. The salary typically ranges from $21,500 to $131,500.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Adjust or operate equipment used to collect geological data.
  • Manage data-collection workers.
  • Set up geological data collection devices.
  • Record data for oil and gas prospecting.
  • Supervise oil, water, or gas well-drilling.
  • Use machinery or hand tools to collect samples or cuttings.

Industries Employing Geophysical Data Technicians

The industries actively employing geophysical data technicians include:

  • Architectural, engineering, and related services
  • Oil and gas extraction
  • Management, scientific, and technical consulting
  • Management of companies and enterprises

How to Boost your Mining and Geological Engineering Career

Professional certifications and further education are the best strategies to advance your mining and geological engineering career.

Most high-paying jobs require a professional certificate. Certificates available to professionals in this field include:

Another available option is the SME Board of Directors Internship Program. The project offers a program for SME members under 40 who want to become leaders. The interns will learn about the company and offer fresh ideas on current concerns.

Pros and Cons of Mining and Geological Engineering Careers

Here are some pros and cons of working as a mining and geological engineer.


  • It’s perfect for problem solvers
  • Ideal for those seeking job security and pleasant working conditions
  • It is an extremely lucrative field.


  • High barrier to entry

Skills You’ll Develop While Studying Mining and Geological Engineering

It's important for mining and geological professionals to have and maintain these skills in their careers.

Analytical skills

Mining and geological professionals must always think about the bigger picture. Therefore, they must be able to address multiple, perhaps complex, situations at once.

Decision-making skills

The decisions made by mining professionals have repercussions for the safety of miners, the health of the business, and the local ecosystem. Therefore, it's critical to anticipate challenges and address them as soon as possible.

Writing skills

Mining and geological engineers write reports and directions for personnel. As a result, they need strong writing skills to ensure that readers fully grasp their intentions.

Math skills

For analysis, design, and problem-solving in the field, mining and geological professionals rely on the principles of calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced areas in mathematics.

Logical-thinking skills

Engineers are essential for successfully executing mining, mineral processing, and reclamation projects. They need to be able to organize tasks in a way that makes sense.

How to Prepare for a Mining and Geological Engineering Career

1. Get a Degree

Mining and geological engineers need a bachelor's degree that focuses on physics, geology, mine design and safety, arithmetic, and thermodynamics from an accredited engineering program. The program typically includes classrooms, laboratories, and fieldwork.

2. Apply for Entry Level Jobs

After graduating, start looking for entry-level jobs, especially those that don't require a professional license.

3. Apply for Licensure

Mining and geological engineers need professional licenses to advance their careers. Here are the application requirements:

  • Passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, which college graduates can take immediately to become EITs or interns (EIs)
  • Four years of related job experience
  • The Professional Engineering (PE) test is the final step to licensure. One must pass the PE exam to be eligible for licensure.

4. Continued Professional Development

Engineers must continue their professional development in several states to keep their licenses.

Mining and Geological Engineering Resources to Help Your Career

The best place to go for mining engineering resources is the Society For Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration. There you’ll find resources for students and professionals.

Students can get access to the following:

  • Grants and scholarships
  • Join the student chapter
  • Learn how to publish and present papers.

How to Switch to a Mining and Geological Engineering Career

You'll need a degree from an accredited university/college to start as a mining or geological engineer. You'll also need a professional license. Requirements for the license vary by state.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mining and Geological Engineering?

Mining and geological engineering involve the design of mines and the efficient and safe removal of materials for manufacturing purposes.

What certification do I need for a Mining and Geological Engineering career?

You can get a Certified Mine Safety Professional (CMSP) certification.

Can I get a Mining and Geological Engineering degree online?

Yes. However, only a few universities offer online mining and geological engineering degrees. You can always get a degree in a related field.

The only university offering an online degree in mining, geological, and geophysical engineering is the University of Arizona.

What fields can Mining and Geological Engineering professionals work in?

Mining and geological engineers work in consulting companies, oil and gas extraction firms, and mining firms, take part in sand and gravel operations, and remote locations where they develop mines.

Is there a high demand for Mining and Geological Engineering majors?

Yes, there is. Some may think the field is outdated, but it is an industry with great career opportunities.

Final Thoughts

Over six thousand people are employed as mining and geological engineers. They work in isolated mining sites far from cities and towns. However, some engineers find work at sand and gravel pits close to urban areas. Extensively trained engineers may find work in the corporate headquarters of mining or consultancy firms.

Compare your school options

Made in Texas

600 Congress, 17th Floor | Austin, Texas

Privacy PolicyTerms of Service

2023 Authority - All rights reserved.