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Life As a Civil Engineer

Civil Engineer Definition Perform engineering duties in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of building structures, and facilities, such as roads, railroads, airports, bridges, harbors, channels, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, power plants, and water and sewage systems.

Life As a Civil Engineer

  • Prepare or present public reports on topics such as bid proposals, deeds, environmental impact statements, or property and right-of-way descriptions.
  • Test soils or materials to determine the adequacy and strength of foundations, concrete, asphalt, or steel.
  • Inspect project sites to monitor progress and ensure conformance to design specifications and safety or sanitation standards.
  • Analyze survey reports, maps, drawings, blueprints, aerial photography, or other topographical or geologic data.
  • Identify environmental risks and develop risk management strategies for civil engineering projects.
  • Provide technical advice to industrial or managerial personnel regarding design, construction, or program modifications or structural repairs.

Qualities of a Civil Engineer

These are the skills Civil Engineers say are the most useful in their careers:

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Operations Analysis: Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.

Types of Civil Engineer

  • Project Engineer
  • Roadway Engineer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Bridge Design Engineer
  • Water Systems Designer

Is There Going to be Demand for Civil Engineers?

There were about 303,500 jobs for Civil Engineer in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 10.6% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 32,200 new jobs for Civil Engineer by 2026. The BLS estimates 25,900 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Civil Engineers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Civil Engineer are Utah, Tennessee, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Alaska, Mississippi, or Maine. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Civil Engineer Salary

Civil Engineers make between $54,780 and $142,560 a year.

Salary Ranges for Civil Engineers

Civil Engineers who work in Alaska, California, or New Jersey, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Civil Engineers in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $84,320
Alaska $125,470
Arizona $84,770
Arkansas $81,780
California $109,680
Colorado $93,560
Connecticut $93,630
Delaware $91,410
District of Columbia $99,820
Florida $89,480
Georgia $81,110
Hawaii $86,680
Idaho $78,280
Illinois $94,570
Indiana $82,420
Iowa $83,940
Kansas $82,340
Kentucky $82,840
Louisiana $98,700
Maine $82,160
Maryland $86,110
Massachusetts $94,210
Michigan $82,240
Minnesota $90,760
Mississippi $85,880
Missouri $86,710
Montana $77,480
Nebraska $84,240
Nevada $100,700
New Hampshire $83,970
New Jersey $103,760
New Mexico $88,840
New York $102,250
North Carolina $86,270
North Dakota $83,460
Ohio $82,180
Oklahoma $91,090
Oregon $88,270
Pennsylvania $88,740
Rhode Island $87,220
South Carolina $84,660
South Dakota $77,030
Tennessee $93,810
Texas $102,990
Utah $80,690
Vermont $74,960
Virginia $94,780
Washington $93,120
West Virginia $82,210
Wisconsin $78,660
Wyoming $85,220

What Tools do Civil Engineers Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Civil Engineers may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Data entry software
  • Email software
  • SAP
  • Microsoft Project
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • The MathWorks MATLAB
  • Microsoft Dynamics
  • Microsoft Visual Basic
  • Extensible markup language XML
  • Geographic information system GIS software
  • Minitab

Becoming a Civil Engineer

Learn what Civil Engineer education requirements there are.

Civil Engineer Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Civil Engineer Work Experience

Who Employs Civil Engineers?

Civil Engineer Sectors

The table below shows the approximate number of Civil Engineers employed by various industries.

Civil Engineer Industries

Those who work as a Civil Engineer sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:

References:

Image Credit: Master Sgt. Roger Parsons via Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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