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What is a Civil Engineer?

Civil Engineer Job Description 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.

Civil Engineer Responsibilities

  • Direct or participate in surveying to lay out installations or establish reference points, grades, or elevations to guide construction.
  • Compute load and grade requirements, water flow rates, or material stress factors to determine design specifications.
  • Design energy efficient or environmentally sound civil structures.
  • Design or engineer systems to efficiently dispose of chemical, biological, or other toxic wastes.
  • 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.

Civil Engineer Required Skills

When polled, Civil Engineers say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

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

  • Forest Engineer
  • Condemnation Engineer
  • Airport Engineer
  • Foundation Engineer
  • Geotechnical Engineer

Are There Job Opportunities for Civil Engineers?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 303,500 jobs in the United States for Civil Engineer. 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

The salary for Civil Engineers ranges between about $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?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Civil Engineers:

  • 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

How to Become a Civil Engineer

What kind of Civil Engineer requirements are there?

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 some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

Civil Engineer Industries

You May Also Be Interested In…

Career changers with experience as a Civil Engineer sometimes find work in one of the following fields:

References:

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

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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