Our last post examined several career paths for mining geologists. Mining geology is a multi-faceted career with many specialties including mining and geological engineering, environmental geology, petroleum geology, and exploration geology, just to name a few. There are many opportunities in the cement, coal, and minerals sector. In this post, we’ll discuss a few of the certification and continuing education requirements and opportunities available to take your career to the next level.
A bachelor’s degree is required for entry-level jobs in mining geology and engineering. A graduate degree is a necessity for research and academic positions, but it’s also a good idea for those in other specialties who want to learn new technologies or advance to management positions.
Once you’ve completed your education, certifications may also be required depending on your job responsibilities. For example, in some states and countries, geologists have to be registered with a professional organization in order to work as a “Professional Geologist” (called P.Geo). In the United States, engineers who offer their services directly to the public are required to pass a Professional Engineering exam to become licensed professional engineers (PEs). Such Professional Geologists or engineers are entitled to sign off technical news releases and reports for mining companies.
To become a licensed PE in the United States, you need to pass two state examinations. The first, the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination, can be taken upon graduation from an accredited engineering program and earns you the title of engineer intern (EI) or engineer-in-training (EIT). After four years of relevant work experience, you can take the second examination, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam (mining engineers may take the Professional Licensure of Mining and Mineral Engineers exam). Depending on where you live, continuing education may be required to renew your license. While each state maintains its own licensure qualifications, most states recognize licensure from other states if the requirements are similar.
The procedure to become a licensed Professional Engineer (P.Eng) or Professional Geologist (P.Geo) in Canada is very similar; upon graduation from an accredited undergraduate program, you must complete three to four years of work under the supervision of a licensed engineer or geologist. A minimum of 12 months of this experience must be in a Canadian environment to ensure familiarity with Canadian codes and standards.
In addition to passing a provincial or territorial practice examination you must also be proficient in the language of your jurisdiction (French in Québec, English or French in New Brunswick and English in all other provinces and territories). Alternatively, or in addition to, a graduate program and licensure, there are numerous short courses available to help mining geologists and engineers keep up with the continually evolving technologies and management strategies in their profession. Classes and certification programs are offered by colleges and professional societies and cover topics including:
- Mine planning and design
- Risk management
- Mineral exploration
- Ore deposit exploration
- New regulatory requirements
- Health and safety practices
- Sustainability issues
- Equipment maintenance and operation
- Management strategies
- Data integration and emerging IT tools
- Ethics issues.
More information about continuing education opportunities can be provided by professional organizations such as the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration. For information on Professional Engineer licensure requirements, contact: National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying: or the National Society of Professional Engineers. Learn about some of the tools and technologies mining geologists use every day on site. Are you a mining geologist? Let us know what courses you plan to attend this year.