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NOC Code: NOC Code: 2144 Occupation: Geological Engineers
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Geological engineers conduct geological and geotechnical studies to assess suitability of locations for civil engineering, mining and oil and gas projects and plan, design, develop and supervise programs of geological data acquisition and analysis and the preparation of geological engineering reports and recommendations. Geological engineers are employed in consulting engineering companies, electrical utilities, mining and petroleum companies and in government and research and educational institutions. Geological engineers conduct geological and geotechnical studies to assess suitability of locations for civil engineering, mining and oil and gas projects and plan, design, develop and supervise programs of geological data acquisition and analysis and the preparation of geological engineering reports and recommendations. Geological engineers are employed in consulting engineering companies, electrical utilities, mining and petroleum companies and in government and research and educational institutions.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3 4 5
Writing Writing 1 2 3 4
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3 4
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2 3
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3 4
Money Math Money Math 1 2 3
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3 4
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2 3
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3 4 5
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2 3
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3


  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.


Reading Text
  • Read email and letters from co-workers, colleagues and clients. For example, read email in which co-workers confirm project deadlines and meeting times, clarify assignments and provide suggestions for agenda items. Read email and letters from colleagues who ask for advice about current projects and clients who provide overviews of work and request project status reports. (2)
  • Read research and operating reports. For example, read reports which describe work processes, field tests, engineering methods and models. Read reports to review recommendations for designs, construction methods and environmental impact studies. (3)
  • Read articles in trade magazines. For example, a hydrogeological engineer may read an article in MSW Management to learn about ways to reconcile old liner designs of landfills with new liner standards. (3)
  • Read municipal bylaws and provincial and federal regulations and Acts. For example, read municipal bylaws and zoning regulations of the jurisdictions where you practise. Read provincial and federal building and environmental protection Acts to ensure projects meet regulations. Read municipal, provincial and federal regulations which outline methods for managing aquifers and specify allowable levels of contaminants in drinking water. Read regulations specifying the number of boreholes required when testing past landfill sites. (4)
  • Read articles and reviews in professional journals specific to areas of expertise. For example, read articles in journals such as Science of the Total Environment, Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology Journal to learn about engineering developments and processes which may be relevant to the work. Read articles in publications such as Canadian Consulting Engineer for information on standards being tested in other engineering fields, industry changes, trends and new equipment. (4)
  • Read and critique technical reports, research papers and journal articles written by co-workers and colleagues. Read research papers to understand the premises of the studies and to offer critiques of methodologies, findings and conclusions. Read textbooks and other professional materials to enhance understanding of the topics you are critiquing. (5)
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Writing
  • Write field notes. For example, write progress notes to record observations and conversations with team members during field work. (1)
  • Write email and letters. For example, write email to request co-workers' opinions and assistance and to exchange information about ongoing projects. Write letters to provide clients with summaries of work completed, describe problems and request changes to contracts and work plans. (2)
  • Write proposals and reports. For example, write proposals in response to bids for geological exploration projects. State qualifications, outline plans and approaches to the work, describe anticipated problems and propose solutions. Write environmental impact reports in which research data is presented and analyzed and make recommendations for addressing environmental concerns. (3)
  • May write articles for publication in peer-reviewed journals. For example, a geological engineer may write a paper which suggests new standards and practices for assessing landslide susceptibility. The engineer reviews previous studies, critically analyzes research data and synthesizes the information to present and support original ideas and concepts for carrying out slope stability assessments. (4)
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Document Use
  • Enter data into various forms. Record times and monies spent on projects in timesheets and reimbursement forms. Complete questionnaires and copyright release forms when submitting articles to journals for publication. Complete reporting forms for various government agencies. (2)
  • Locate data in forms. For example, locate legal descriptions and dates of sale in land transfer forms. Review laboratory reports which show concentrations of contaminants in water and soil samples. Identify types of rock and fatigue indicators in sample analysis reports. (2)
  • Locate data in lists and tables. For example, locate contact information of co-workers, clients and contractors in address lists. Scan tables of lab results to identify soil and water compositions and contaminant levels at sites under investigation. Locate maximum loads for various soil types, stress distribution and rates of consolidation for soils and land movements in specification tables. (2)
  • Study historic and current aerial photographs to locate landmarks such as rivers and logging roads and define the limits of ancient and recent slope failures. Use the information obtained for planning purposes and environmental impact assessments. (3)
  • Study a variety of maps. For example, study topographical maps to understand elevation changes and identify features such as rock outcrops, rivers and lakes when planning exploration locations. Study seismic hazard maps when planning land use and determining landslide potentials. (4)
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Computer Use
  • Use word processing. For example, prepare memos for co-workers, letters and reports for clients and draft articles for publication. Embed photographs, spreadsheets and graphs in operating and research reports. (2)
  • Use graphic software. For example, adjust sizes and edit colour in photographs using photo-editing software such as Photoshop. Prepare slide presentations for clients and public forums using software such as PowerPoint. Create line graphs, histograms and contour maps in software programs such as Grapher, Free Flow and Surfer. (2)
  • Exchange messages with co-workers, colleagues and clients to share information such as testing results and project timelines. (2)
  • Search for technical information and articles in on-line journals and university libraries and access government and environmental websites when carrying out research. (2)
  • Locate clients' histories, pictures, reports, maps and other specific information from previous projects in the organization's databases. In some cases, record payroll, financial and other data using database entry forms. (2)
  • Use spreadsheets. For example, organize and analyze data collected during research projects. Create timelines, schedules and budgets for projects and track task completions and deliverables using spreadsheets. (2)
  • Use statistical analysis software. For example, use statistical analysis software to conduct mathematical modelling and trend analysis of geological and environmental variables. (3)
  • Use computer-assisted design, manufacturing and machining. For example, create two and three-dimensional models and basic structural designs using drawing and design programs such as AutoCAD. (3)
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Oral Communication
  • Coach and mentor junior engineers and technicians and offer guidance throughout projects. Provide constructive criticism, build trainees' technical knowledge and offer recommendations for improvement. (2)
  • Discuss projects with co-workers and colleagues. For example, discuss data collected, test results and recommendations with co-workers. Discuss project objectives, timelines and recommendations when collaborating with colleagues on research studies. Critique articles written for publication and discuss changes to the content and organization of colleagues' writing. (3)
  • Discuss ongoing work with contractors, clients and representatives from governments and community groups. For example, discuss work to be completed and changes to work plans with contractors and clients and explain government regulations which affect work on sites. Clarify jurisdictional requirements and local development constraints with government agencies and community groups. (3)
  • Lead safety and project team meetings. For example, review safety precautions and work processes at work sites with team members. Lead project team discussions on progress, problems encountered and proposed solutions. (3)
  • Make presentations at public consultations and professional conferences. For example, present findings and make recommendations on land use and landslide hazard areas. Present research papers at professional development seminars and conferences. (4)
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Money Math
  • Prepare invoices for clients. Itemize completed tasks and calculate fees using hourly rates. Include travel expenses which are calculated using set rates per kilometre, per diem rates for meals and accommodations. Calculate applicable surcharges, discounts and taxes. (3)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Create and monitor project schedules. For example, create schedules for work crews to manage the hours allocated to each project. Monitor schedules and task completions to ensure specified project timelines are met. (2)
  • Plan and monitor budgets of large research and exploration projects. Calculate labour costs using different pay rates and pay periods for engineers, junior engineers, technicians and support workers. Calculate costs of contractors and equipment rentals at hourly, daily and monthly rates. Monitor budget categories for cost overruns and make adjustments as appropriate to incorporate new information. Use data from previous projects to estimate budget amounts of new projects. (4)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Calculate dimensions of geological formations and structures. For example, calculate areas and volumes of landslides, decontamination sites and landfills. Calculate the permeability of various types of soils to determine how much water can be absorbed before runoff. (2)
  • Measure geological features using specialized instruments. For example, measure distances such as base spread of landslides using handheld global positioning system stations and other survey instruments. Assess ground water quality using measuring instruments to determine levels of contaminants. (3)
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Data Analysis
  • Compare various measurements to standards and specifications. For example, compare soil and water contaminant readings taken during site investigations to acceptable levels established by regulatory bodies. Calculate and compare average soil density results to municipal guidelines for commercial building foundations. (1)
  • Interpret graphs displaying quantitative data. For example, interpret line graphs displaying water levels over ten year periods and slope histograms displaying data for simulated and observed land slide densities. (2)
  • Generate statistics to describe geological sites and phenomenon. For example, collect data and calculate rates of movement of landslides. Compare slope and angle measurements of landslide areas taken over set periods of time. Calculate distributions of rock types, soil particle sizes and other features of geological samples. Analyze amounts of gas produced at landfill sites, compositions of various ores, rainfall over long time periods and determine if water levels are sustainable for increasing populations. (4)
  • Predict changes to geology over time. For example, use mathematical modelling to analyze the effects that variables such as ground slope, water seepage rates and rock mass fracturing have on the stability of dams and building foundations. (5)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate distances, areas and volumes. For example, estimate distances between landmarks and the volumes of landfills. (2)
  • Estimate times needed to complete job tasks and conduct research, survey and exploration projects when preparing responses to proposals. (2)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Job task planning and organizing is an important skill for geological engineers as they frequently handle several projects concurrently. Their tasks vary on a day-to-day basis depending on the nature and complexity of their projects. They encounter numerous interruptions such as unexpected meetings with clients and work stoppages. (3)
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Decision Making
  • Decide team composition for large research and exploration projects. Review the scope of these projects and proposed budgets and consider skill sets and availabilities of junior engineers, technicians and contractors. (2)
  • Choose work processes and data collection methods. Review clients' goals and budgets to determine projects' stages, task sequences, data collection methods and testing locations. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • Testing equipment is malfunctioning. For example, when seismic testing equipment is not working, refer to manuals for troubleshooting and call manufacturers' help lines for assistance. In some cases, ask for replacement equipment to be delivered to field sites. (1)
  • You cannot complete work because sites being investigated have high levels of contaminants. Sub-contract environmental services for cleanups, develop new assessment criteria and tests to be conducted, and adjust projects' timelines. (2)
  • Field data and measurements are inconsistent and unusable. Check testing equipment and take measurements in other areas to ensure data being captured is consistent. Consult co-workers to determine possible reasons for inconsistent data. Formulate new testing methods. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Find information about theories, classification systems and new research by conferring with co-workers and reading textbooks and professional journals. (3)
  • Find information about project work sites by speaking with co-workers, reading historical information in company files, viewing maps and searching government websites. (3)
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Critical Thinking
  • Assess validity and completeness of test results. Consider observations of investigation sites, types of tests conducted, data collected, analysis reports and industry standards of testing processes. (2)
  • Judge the risk that unstable geological formations pose for building owners and the general public. Review compositions of ground layers, soil densities, water seepage rates, temperature changes and municipal, provincial and federal regulations to ensure public safety. (3)
  • Judge the suitability of methods for mitigating pollutants and contaminants. Review data from site investigations such as chemical analysis reports of contaminants in soil and water samples, industries currently in these areas and past land uses which may have contributed to elevated counts. Also consider government regulations, clients' budgets and your own experience. (3)
  • Judge the suitability of proposed land use. For example, analyze data on contamination, soil stability, ground composition and bearing strength when formulating land use recommendations. Review proposed designs of buildings and ancillary structures, types and sizes of foundations required and types of building materials to be used. Also consider the costs and regulatory requirements for proper land usage and stabilization. (3)
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