What is a Geotechnician or Geotechnologist?

Geotechnicians/Geotechnologists are civil engineering scientists who study the earth’s crust to determine the natural resources of the area or to locate building materials for large constructions. They use very sophisticated, technical instruments, satellite and aerial photography, computers, drills etc.

They can specialise in 5 different areas, namely:

  • Exploration Geology

These Geotechnicians research and explore new natural resources. They look for both precious and semi-precious stones, basic metal, fossil fuels, building material or even look for underground water supplies.

  • Geophysics

The main aspect of this field is to evaluate the bedrock of a large construction or civil construction sites so that the required re-enforcing can be applied. Deep-drilling, rock and soil sampling and analysis will take place to determine these factors. 

  • Mining

Geotechnicians in this filed are usually employed by large mines. They will work both above and underground collecting info on rock surfaces, soil samples etc, which will aid them in locating precious metals, ores or even predicting hazardous conditions. 

  • Geohydrology:

The science of finding new water resources. It also involves finding suitable waste-disposal sites and evaluating pollution in underground water supplies.   

  • Engineering Geology

Geotechnicians generally work on large civil constructions (see Civil Engineering for more info) – where their research into geological conditions of the site at hand will assist in the design of the foundations and where re-enforcing will take place. This field may also find Geotechnicians locating building materials which can be used on site.

What does a Geotechnician or Geotechnologist do?

  • sets up technical instruments used to collect data
  • drillsand takes soil samples and collects rock samples
  • reads aerial photographs
  • takes measurements, makes calculations, writes detailed notes
  • researches information from all relevant sources
  • analyses information and solves problems
  • captures data on computers
  • draws up geological maps
  • processes research material, prepares notes and reports, etc
  • keeps up-to-date with relevant technology and relevant information
  • communicates and adviss with design teams, supervisors, project managers etc etc

Are you . . . ?

  • interested in geology?
  • prepared to work outdoors?
  • physically fit?
  • very good at mathematics and physical science?
  • technically aware?
  • computer literate?
  • observant?
  • detail orientated?
  • responsible?
  • willing to work in remote places?
  • willing to work and live, at times, in harsh weather conditions?
  • analytical?
  • able to work well on your own in remote places?
  • a team player?
  • willing to work in dangerous environments, like in a mine?

How do I become a Geotechnician or Geotechnologist?

Students considering a career in geotechnology may consider starting with a National Diploma (Nat Dip) course in civil engineering at one of the Universities of Technology, then specialise in a particular field, thereafter with a Bachelors of Technology in Engineering (BTech Eng). 

See below for examples:


BTech Eng in Urban Engineering
BTech Eng in Construction Management
BTech Eng in Structural Engineering
BTech Eng in Environmental Engineering
BTech Eng in Water Engineering


B Tech Eng Civil (Transportation)
B Tech Eng Civil (Water)
B Tech Eng Civil (Structural)
B Tech Eng Civil (Geotechnical)
B Tech Eng Civil (Construction Management)
B Tech Eng Civil (Urban Engineering)
They also offer Masters in Technology and Doctorate inTechnology study options in this field.


N. Dip. / B.Tech: Civil Engineering


National Diploma in in Civil Engineering then:
BTech Eng in Structural Engineering
BTech Eng in Urban Engineering
BTech Eng Construction Management
BTech Eng inTransportation Engineering
BTEch Eng in Water Engineering


National Diploma in Civil Engineering
BTech Eng in Construction Management
BTech Eng in Environmental Engineering
BTech Eng in Geotechnical Engineering
BTech Eng in Structural Engineering
BTech Eng in Transportation
BTech Eng in Urban Engineering
BTech Eng in Water Engineering
Masters in Technology
Doctorate in Technology

Minimum requirements: 

Each institution will have its own requirements – check with your institution of choice for more details. 

Compulsory Subjects:

Mathematics and Physical Sciences 

Recommended Subjects:




  • CLICK HERE to check for a training institution near you to see what they offer.
  • Make sure you understand their entry requirements for each course.
  • To avoid scams, make sure your institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education. CLICK HERE to check accredited Private Higher Education Institutions. 


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Land Surveyor or Civil Engineer

Is becoming a Geotechnician or Geotechnologist the right choice for me.