The Need For Geotechnical Engineering Jobs In The Golden State


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Geotechnical engineers are in high demand in the AEC industry right now, particularly in California. Every construction project needs a geotechnical assessment of its site. Are you an AEC professional looking for your next Geotech job? We’ve got good news for you. The state of California needs you. Here’s why.

California has many construction projects searching for geotechnical engineers. There are residential projects and commercial buildings that need foundations, development projects that require soil, rock, and groundwater investigations, and heavy civil projects that need material testing and soil stability assessments. Many geotechnical engineers are required for levee projects in Sacramento, such as the Sacramento River West North Levee project.

The High-Speed Rail project in Central Valley is another example of the type of projects that geotechnical engineers can get involved in. This project is currently underway and will extend to Sacramento and San Diego. Additionally, other construction projects that often have openings for Geotech engineers include: 

  • Commercial and residential land development
  • Transportation (all across the Golden State)
  • Fire clean-up and restoration
  • Dams, landfills, and levees
  • Material testing 

Heavy civil and vertical construction is exploding in California right now. This article explores why geotechnical engineering jobs are vital in California and how geotechnical engineers can get involved.

Why Geotechnical Engineering Jobs Are Important In California

Every construction project needs geotechnical engineering and analysis – regardless of the application. And construction projects in California are booming, and this growth doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. According to Statista 2022, the heavy civil engineering industry is expected to bring in close to $40 billion by 2024. 

For this reason, geotechnical engineering jobs will become progressively more important across the state. Wondering how you, as a geotechnical engineer, can get involved? Firstly, you need to understand how you add value to a project. 

Geotechnical engineering involves several of the following:

  • Assessment of slope stability
  • Investigation of soil, clay, sand, silt, and rock behavior
  • Risk of landslide or rockslide assessment
  • Examining groundwater flow
  • Provide analysis and mapping of seismic survey results
  • Conduct field tests
  • Safety inspections and reviews
  • Collaborate with multidisciplinary teams

All construction projects must have an AEC professional in this area on-site. These professionals work during the design and construction phases of a project. Hiring geotechnical engineers is necessary before a construction project can begin. This applies to projects within various areas, including:

  • Commercial & residential construction
  • Infrastructure
  • Transportation
  • Water utilities
  • Coastal restoration
  • Land development
  • Dams
  • Levees
  • Material testing
  • Fire clean-up and fire restoration
  • Environmental remediation 

These AEC roles are vital in the Golden State, particularly because California has a high level of seismic activity. These seismic hazards (such as earthquakes or faulting) can cause soil motion which can be dangerous for construction projects.

The San Francisco Millennium Tower is a famous engineering project in California. This luxury condominium building continues to sink at a rate of 7.5 centimeters per year and tilt at a rate of 3 inches per year (think Leaning Tower of Pisa), causing Geotechs and engineers to rush to implement a solution. 

Application Of Geotech Jobs In The Golden State

Geotech jobs are available across various applications in California at the moment. Below are the most common projects where you will find geotechnical engineering jobs.

Commercial & Residential Construction

Geotech jobs in commercial and residential construction projects are in high demand as soil stability assessments need to be completed before a project can begin.

Geotechnical engineers support all stages of a project, from beginning to end. This involves aspects of pre-construction and design, as well as testing and analysis throughout the entire life cycle of projects.  They also provide support for issues that arise on-site. 

One residential construction project currently underway and set for completion in the fall of this year is 681 Florida Street. This residential development will offer 130 residential units and a 9,140 square foot space dedicated to art-related purposes such as a gallery. Residential developments often require the expertise of a Geotech engineer before construction can start. 


Many geotechnical engineering jobs in California operate in the infrastructure industry. For example, the designing and testing of bridges, tunnels, and roadways. Geotech engineers would also lend their expertise to other vital projects such as water supply, sewers, dam construction, and electrical grids. 

Infrastructure projects typically require the following geotechnical services:

  • Geotechnical subsurface investigations
  • Foundation engineering
  • Earth retaining structures
  • Excavation analysis
  • Seismic evaluations

As you may already know, California’s infrastructure is in dire need of upgrades and repair. Many of the bridges and overpasses across the state were constructed over 50 years ago. These structures will need to be re-evaluated and restored by a multidisciplinary team, including geotechnical engineers. 

The federal government’s infrastructure program will see California receive approximately $45.5 billion in funding towards infrastructure projects across the state. One such project is the Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing in Agoura Hills, which has officially begun. This infrastructure project will provide a safe passage for wildlife across the Hollywood/Ventura Freeway (US-101). 


Transportation projects are another example of sectors where geotechnical engineering jobs are critical and popular. While railroads are often included in this category, one of the most significant transportation projects is currently under construction in the Golden State. 

The California High-Speed Rail is a publicly funded project that will run from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin. It will be over 800 miles in length and will feature 24 stations. As of Fall 2021, over 119 miles were under construction, and over 6000 construction jobs had been created. 

California High-Speed Rail Construction Update – Fall 2021

Water Utilities

Geotechnical engineering jobs are also in demand for water utility projects. Hydrogeology is an intrinsic part of designing and constructing water utilities. Working on a water utility project will need extensive subsurface and underground investigations. 

The EchoWater Project is a notable water utility project in California and is one of Sacramento’s largest public works projects. This project will be upgrading a wastewater treatment plant to deliver cleaner water to the Sacramento River. Construction is underway, and the system is expected to be in place by the end of 2023. 

Coastal Restoration

Coastal restoration projects are another area where AEC professionals can get involved. Many projects are hiring for geotechnical engineers, including:

Coastal restoration projects require geotechnical engineers to assist with studies concerning slope stability, soil integrity, embankment foundations, groundwater quality, and more. For example, the Coal Oil Point Reserve Habitat Restoration project is an ongoing project in Santa Barbara that has already restored over 20 acres of wetlands, dunes, beaches, and vernal pools.  

Find Geotechnical Engineering Jobs With Certis Solutions

Are you looking for geotechnical engineering jobs in California? You should consider working with a dedicated technical engineering staffing agency. The Certis team provides you with access to the most in-demand AEC projects in California. We guarantee you’ll find an opportunity that suits your needs.

Contact us today, and we’ll help you land your next dream job in geotechnical engineering.

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