Employment of mining and geological engineers is projected to grow 6 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Employment growth for mining and geological engineers will depend upon demand for mining operations. Growth will be affected by recent changes in federal policy concerning clean air policy. Coal with low sulfur content is found on federal lands and is the most environmentally friendly, and mining such coal presents the best possibility for continued operations. The feasibility studies and proposals needed to gain access to these and other mineral deposits will help spur demand for these engineers.
Other countries may restrict exports of certain minerals known as “rare earths,” which are used in the manufacture of many high-tech products and military equipment. This could help encourage exploration and further development of mines in the United States that yield these minerals.
Employment growth also will be driven by demand for engineering services. As companies look for ways to cut costs, they are expected to contract more engineering services with these firms, rather than employ engineers directly.
Job prospects should be favorable for those entering the occupation, because many of these engineers will be reaching retirement age by 2024. In addition, the education and licensing required to enter this occupation will limit the supply of engineers competing for these positions.
Mining and Geological Engineers
Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24
Total, all occupations
Mining and geological engineers, including mining safety engineers
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program