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Mining Engineers

At a Glance

  • Find and remove deposits of minerals, oil, and gas
  • Are responsible for mine safety
  • May specialize in one area
  • Work both indoors and outdoors
  • Travel to work sites
  • Have a bachelor's degree
  • May need a license

Career summary

Mining engineers design mines for the safe removal of coal, metals, and minerals.

Mining engineers work with geologists and metal engineers to locate and assess mining sites. They:

Mining engineers design open pit or underground mines. They oversee the construction of tunnels and shafts for underground mines. When mines are running, mining engineers monitor the rate at which gas, oil, or minerals are extracted. They prepare reports about these findings for mining, engineering, and management staff.

Mining engineers may specialize in extracting one type of mineral or metal, such as coal or gold. Some mining engineers work for companies that make mining equipment.

Mining engineers must make sure that mines are safe. They inspect mine areas for unsafe structures, equipment, and working conditions. They test air for harmful gases. They recommend changes such as installing airshafts, dividers, or equipment to solve problems. They also design safety equipment and devices for mine workers. They train mine staff in how to work safely and to give first aid.

Because of environmental concerns, mining engineers work to recycle old mine sites. They also try to improve water and air quality at working mines.

Related careers

This career is part of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to mining engineers.

Common work activities

Mining engineers perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, mining engineers:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Mining engineers frequently:

It is important for mining engineers to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for mining engineers to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Mining engineers need to:


Reason and problem solve

Use math and science

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Work with things

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a mining engineer, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Most mining engineers prepare for the field by earning a bachelor's degree in mining engineering. Only a few four-year colleges and universities offer this program. You may need between four and five years to complete this program.

Some jobs require a master's or doctoral degree (PhD). For instance, if you are interested in teaching mining engineering, you need a PhD. Also, some students go to graduate school to specialize in an area of mining engineering.

Work experience

You should consider participating in an internship while in college. An internship is usually part of a four-year degree program. It offers you a chance to apply what you have learned in the classroom to a work situation. It also allows you to build skills and make contacts with people in the field.

On-the-job training

New graduates work under the guidance of experienced engineers. In large companies, you may also receive formal classroom training. You work on more difficult tasks and get more independence in your work as you gain knowledge and experience. Training usually lasts a few months.

Helpful high school courses

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum (external link) may be different from your state's graduation requirements (external link). Engineers use math and science frequently. Try to take math classes through Trigonometry and science classes through Physics.

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups (PDF file) that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

For entry-level jobs, most employers prefer to hire applicants who have a bachelor's degree in mining engineering. Employers may require a master's degree or higher for research and consulting jobs.

Employers prefer to hire mining engineers who are creative and curious. They also look for people who are detail-oriented and analytical. Oral and written communication skills are also important. Employers look for people who can work on a team. Mining engineers may work with people from different cultures or countries.

Costs to workers

Some workers may wish to join a professional association, which may have annual dues. Workers may have to pay for continuing education classes to keep up with changes in the field.


Engineers employed in responsible positions in government or in firms offering services to the public, or who stamp their work as being done by an engineer, must be licensed by the Washington State Department of Licensing.

Getting a license as an engineer-in-training requires:

Professional engineer licensing requirements include:

Engineers who wish to be licensed as professional engineers must pay $65 to the State for an initial national exam application. After State approval, engineers must pay for the registration examination from the National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors. The license renewal fee is $116 every two years. Not all engineers in Washington must be licensed.

For licensing information, contact:

Washington State Department of Licensing
Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and
Land Surveyors Licensing Program (external link)

PO Box 9025
Olympia, WA 98507-9025

For information on testing, contact:

National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (external link)
PO Box 1686
Clemson, SC 29633-1686


Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


Mining and geological engineers, including mining safety engineers (SOC 17-2151)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $32.29 $36.21 $43.38 $57.78 $73.35
Monthly $5,596 $6,275 $7,518 $10,013 $12,712
Yearly $67,160 $75,320 $90,230 $120,170 $152,570
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $31.88 $37.48 $48.02 $68.29 $81.03
Monthly $5,525 $6,495 $8,322 $11,835 $14,042
Yearly $66,310 $77,960 $99,896 $142,048 $168,539
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $32.73 $35.88 $39.49 $50.83 $59.04
Monthly $5,672 $6,218 $6,844 $8,809 $10,232
Yearly $68,086 $74,649 $82,123 $105,720 $122,794
    Vancouver Hourly $28.08 $32.07 $35.95 $40.11 $57.23
Monthly $4,866 $5,558 $6,230 $6,951 $9,918
Yearly $58,397 $66,699 $74,770 $83,412 $119,032
United States Hourly $26.23 $33.79 $44.35 $58.67 $72.61
Monthly $4,546 $5,856 $7,686 $10,168 $12,583
Yearly $54,550 $70,290 $92,250 $122,020 $151,030

Mining engineers who work in coal mines or quarries may earn more than those at other types of mines. Wages also vary by area of the country.

Mining engineers who work full time usually receive benefits. Typical benefits include health insurance, sick leave, and paid vacation.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Mining and Geological Engineers, Including Mining Safety Engineers (SOC 17-2151)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 75 2.7% 16.1% 6
    King County 17 0.0% 19.6% 1
    Spokane County 20 15.0% 13.9% 2
United States 5,900 3.4% 5.2% 500

National employment

Mining engineers usually work at or near the location of natural deposits. These areas are often in small towns and rural areas. Sometimes they may be in other countries. About one-third of mining engineers who work in the United States work in Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for this occupation will remain steady. Coal mining in the US creates jobs for mining engineers. Jobs will also be created at mining consulting firms.

Job openings will occur as mining engineers move to other positions or retire. In addition, there are only a few mining engineering programs, so the number of graduates is small. These low numbers may improve graduates' chances of finding jobs.

Other resources

American Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) (external link)
(This website provides a list of engineering-related programs accredited by ABET)
415 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
American Geophysical Union (external link)
2000 Florida Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20009
American Geosciences Institute (external link)
4220 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22302
American Institute of Professional Geologists (external link)
1333 W. 120th Avenue
Suite 211
Westminster, Colorado 80234-2710
Discover Engineering (external link)
eGFI - Dream Up the Future (external link)
Engineer Girl! (external link)
National Academy of Engineering
Environmental & Engineering Geophysical Society (external link)
1391 Speer Blvd., Ste 450
Denver, CO 80204
Institute of Makers of Explosives (external link)
1120 - 19th Street NW, Suite 310
Washington, DC 20036
International Society of Explosives Engineers (external link)
30325 Bainbridge Road
Cleveland, OH 44139
National Academy of Engineering (external link)
500 Fifth Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (external link)
National Society of Professional Engineers (external link)
1420 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (external link)
12999 East Adam Aircraft Circle
Englewood, CO 80112
Society of Exploration Geophysicists (external link)
8801 South Yale Avenue, Suite 500
Tulsa, OK 74137
Society of Women Engineers (external link)
130 East Randolph Street, Suite 3500
Chicago, IL 60601
Technology Student Association (external link)
1904 Association Drive
Reston, VA 20191-1540
Washington State Division of Geology and Earth Resources (external link)
Washington State Science & Engineering Fair (external link)


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupations

Strong Interest Inventory

Holland occupational cluster