dcsimg

Civil Engineer

Job Duties

Civil engineers design and supervise the construction and maintenance of public facilities, such as roads, bridges, pipelines, subdivisions, airports, waste water systems, and many others. Some specialize in more specific fields like construction, land development, structural or hydraulic design, soil mechanics, waste water treatment, or solid waste management. Civil engineers usually design the most important features of a project, then supervise others in drawing plans, writing specifications, and preparing budgets. Their work in the field most often involves surveying, site investigation, or construction inspection and supervision. They sometimes sample soil and materials in the field or in the laboratory.

In the field of structural engineering, civil engineers may calculate the structural requirements needed to ensure the viability of certain design features. They often check work in the field to make sure it is conforming to the design. They also consult on existing structures to determine if repair or replacement is necessary. In the transportation field, civil engineers design streets and highways, planning better traffic flow. They prepare reports on environmental impact, draw preliminary plans, and inspect construction materials.

Job Skills

Civil engineers must have an interest in community affairs and environmental issues, along with mathematical and mechanical aptitude. They need to be able to work effectively as part of a team. They should have the ability to communicate in writing and orally. These communication skills are vital in the field of civil engineering because civil engineers interact so often with many non-engineering specialists in a wide variety of fields. Civil engineers should be analytical, creative, detail-oriented, and inquisitive.

Income

In 2002, civil engineers earned a median annual salary of $60,070. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10%, who earned less than $48,360, and the highest 10%, who earned more than $91,010. According to a 2003 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, bachelor's degree candidates in civil engineering received starting offers averaging $41,669 a year, and master's degree candidates averaged $47,245 a year. Ph.D. candidates averaged $69,079.

  • Federal government -- $67,410
  • Local government -- $62,210
  • Architectural, engineering, and related services -- $59,060
  • State government -- $58,350
  • Nonresidential building construction -- $54,190

Training and Education

High school students interested in becoming civil engineers should focus on college preparatory classes in chemistry, physics, English, shop, and drafting. It is important for them to take as many math classes as possible, such as algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus.

A bachelor's degree is required for all entry-level civil engineering positions. Most programs include study in the biomedical specialty, as well as courses in mathematics and science. Many programs include a design course, along with a computer or laboratory class. Many colleges offer students the option of earning a 2- or 4-year degree in engineering technology, which include hands-on laboratory courses that prepare students for practical design and production work, as opposed to more theory-based jobs. While graduates of these programs may obtain the same kinds of jobs as graduates with a bachelor's degree in engineering, they are not qualified to register as professional engineers.

Faculty positions and many research and development programs in civil engineering require graduate training. Some engineers earn degrees in business administration to enhance their education and give themselves more career options. In fact, many high-level executives in government and business started their careers as engineers. Engineers in the United States are required to be licensed if they offer their services directly to the public. When engineers become licensed, they are designated Professional Engineers (PE). PE requirements include a degree from an engineering program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), 4 years of relevant work experience, and successful completion of a State examination. Entry-level engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers, and may advance to become technical specialists or to supervise a staff of engineers and technicians.

Employment

In 2002, civil engineers held about 228,000 jobs.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, employment of civil engineers is expected to increase more slowly than the average. Many civil engineers are employed by construction-related services, which usually decrease hiring during slow economic times. Employment of civil engineers will also vary highly according to geographic area.

For more information on how to pursue this profession, please see our Computer Training and Technology Education directory.


Civil Engineer Training

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            BS in Aeronautics
            • Liberty University’s online programs ranked in the top 10 out of more than 2,100 colleges & universities for academic quality, affordability, and accessibility.*
            • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level.**
            • Transfer up to 90 credits into an undergraduate degree program.
            • Up to 50% of your master’s degree can be transferred in to help you get the most out of your hard work and maximize the credit you previously earned.
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            Certificate - Electrical Technology
            • Many programs require externships, allowing students to gain real-world experience.
            • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1984.
            • Offers 22 accelerated, career-focused program options including business administration, medical assisting, and more.
            • Regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
            • 11 campuses across California, with an online division as well.
            Show more [+]
            • Financial Aid
            Master Of Science in Systems Engineering
            • Its Fast Track program enables qualified students to save up to 30% on tuition and graduate up to 30% faster.
            • Its online MBA program was named by the International Graduate Forum as a top 10 Online MBA Program in 2012.
            • Listed as a military friendly school by G.I. Jobs magazine in 2014.
            • Lets students watch, view, read, or hear content through its program, My Unique Student Experience (M.U.S.E.).
            • Has additional campus locations near military bases in Colorado Springs and Denver.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits