Engineering Geologists .NE. Geological Engineers

This post title includes the Fortran Boolean  logical operation .NE. , computer programming parlance that I used to be more familiar with than I am now.  It means ” Engineering Geologists Not Equal to Geological Engineers.

The title and this piece are prompted by an interesting  recent thread at the discussion page of the Engineering Geologists LinkedIn Group “Raise the Profiles of EGs” (You will have to be both interested enough to read the thread, and  also a LinkedIn subscriber to learn the background to this post). Read on if your interest is .EQ. enough:

In the LinkedIn thread some folk commented that Engineering Geologists are the same (.EQ.) to Geological Engineers. That is not true, and so I added a lengthy commentary to muddy the waters. (Another of my posts describes how Engineering Geologists and Geological Engineers are separate phases of the  GeoSpectrum sequence that has Engineers at one end and Geologists at the other.)

Another chap opined that Engineers could never be Geologists. Medley muddied some more with another comment. And then Chris Jack posted a link to an excellent and thoughtful essay on his blog, The Engineering Geology Project.

To add to the currency of this issue, a recruiter yesterday posted an ad for a Principal Geotechnical Engineer position at a large firm in Northern California in which the candidate should have a Geotechnical Engineer license or a Certified Engineering Geologist license. That ad, posted to the LinkedIn Engineering Geology forum. prompted a mild post from me that the ad could not be right. There is no .OR. equivalency between a licensed Geotechical Engineer and licensed Engineering Geologist in California. In fact there is no professional equivalency, anywhere – period/full stop.

The differences in the GeoSpectrum between Engineers, Geotechnical Engineers, Geological Engineers, Engineering Geologists and Geologists is confusing if you are a recruiter but should .NOT. be confusing to geoprofessionals. But, still they seem to be, particularly  to newly-minted, soil-focused Geotechnical Engineers, who too often seem to think they know “enough geology to get by…”.

Note @ Nov 21 2011: Folk are still interested enough in this topic that they have asked for copies of a Jahns Lecture I gave a couple of years ago: Of Elephants, Earthquakes, Caves and Hot Rock:Recent Geological Engineering Adventures. So: I provide for download an  abbreviated version of the Lecture. It contains several introductory slides describing the  differences between Geologists, Engineering Geologists, Geological Engineers, Geotechnical Engineers, and Engineers. The significance of the Elephants is explained in the slides. But this version lacks the Case Histories that made the lecture one of my most popular. Now why would I be so miserly as to not provide the Case Histories? Well: they are adventures, professional stories that are best told by the Storyteller -me. But go ahead and substitute tales from your own experiences. Preach the value to clients/colleagues/disbelievers of your skills as Geological Engineers or Engineering Geologists or Geotechical Engineers or Elephants…

About Ed Medley

Ed Medley has been on a random walk for over 40 years. Many scribbles and snapshots at this site are from his vagabond transits; others are from his 40 years of international experience in geological and geotechnical engineering, academia, and mineral exploration prospecting.
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