Earth Resources Engineer

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Alaskan Pipeline

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System is 800 miles long and has a diameter of four feet.

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How is technology changing Earth resources?

by Jill Reid

Specifically a project called Engineers Without Boarders.


Earth resources engineers specialize in the safe and sustainable use of natural resources such as fossil fuels, rocks, minerals, and water. Some work to improve the safety and reduce the impact of mining and drilling operations. Others develop technologies to recycle or dispose of used materials or waste.


A four-year college degree in science or engineering is preferred to start working in this field. Many Earth Resources Engineers obtain higher, more advanced degrees such as a Masters or PhD.

Some possible job titles/college degrees for earth resources engineers are:


You might like earth resources engineering, if you:

  • Like rocks and minerals
  • Enjoy working outdoors
  • Want to understand how to design in harmony with the landscape
  • Enjoy traveling
  • Like to solve puzzles
  • Are interested in climate change or energy or water conservation
  • Enjoy the challenge of helping diverse groups of people to find common ground


Although earth resources engineers work in many, very different environments, most jobs have an outdoor component. Some work in remote areas with varying work hours. Many others work mainly in offices with a regular 40-hour work week.


The average annual salary for earth resources engineers is $64,000*


  • Devise methods to improve and oversee drilling or mining operations.
  • Work with multiple stakeholders to restore previously damaged environments.
  • Design safe, economical, and environmentally sound underground construction techniques.
  • Create new techniques for processing or recycling earth resources.
  • Design mines.
  • Implement safety programs for companies with a focus on natural resources.

*salary taken from

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  • Pascha McAlister
    "The first challenge I faced was math; I failed my first test EVER during my junior year in high school. Before that, I may have felt like a failure at times or may not have accomplished something the way I wanted to, but I had never failed. Failing that test made me start to approach learning a new way, namely for me. It made me appreciate whatever level of knowledge was available to me."