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What Does it Take to Be a Civil Engineer?

Job Description & Duties 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: What Do They Do?

  • Design energy efficient or environmentally sound civil structures.
  • Identify environmental risks and develop risk management strategies for civil engineering projects.
  • Plan and design transportation or hydraulic systems or structures using computer assisted design or drawing tools.
  • Analyze survey reports, maps, drawings, blueprints, aerial photography, or other topographical or geologic data.
  • Provide technical advice to industrial or managerial personnel regarding design, construction, or program modifications or structural repairs.
  • Compute load and grade requirements, water flow rates, or material stress factors to determine design specifications.

Qualities of a Civil Engineer

Civil Engineers state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

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

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

Systems Analysis: Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

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

  • Environmental Construction Engineer
  • Irrigation Engineer
  • Hydraulic Engineer
  • Energy Infrastructure Engineer
  • Contracting Engineer

What Kind of Civil Engineer Job Opportunities Are There?

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

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 10.6% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 32,200 new jobs for Civil Engineers by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 25,900 job openings in this field each year.

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

The states with the most job growth for Civil Engineers are Texas, Florida, and California.

Watch out if you plan on working in Alaska, Vermont, or Maine. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Salary for Civil Engineers

The typical yearly salary for Civil Engineers is somewhere between $54,780 and $142,560. The median salary is $86,640.

Salary Ranges for Civil Engineers

How much do Civil Engineers make in each U.S. state?

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

Alaska

$125,470

California

$109,680

New Jersey

$103,760

Texas

$102,990

New York

$102,250

Nevada

$100,700

District of Columbia

$99,820

Louisiana

$98,700

Virginia

$94,780

Illinois

$94,570

Massachusetts

$94,210

Tennessee

$93,810

Connecticut

$93,630

Colorado

$93,560

Washington

$93,120

Delaware

$91,410

Oklahoma

$91,090

Minnesota

$90,760

Florida

$89,480

New Mexico

$88,840

Pennsylvania

$88,740

Oregon

$88,270

Rhode Island

$87,220

Missouri

$86,710

Hawaii

$86,680

North Carolina

$86,270

Maryland

$86,110

Mississippi

$85,880

Wyoming

$85,220

Arizona

$84,770

South Carolina

$84,660

Alabama

$84,320

Nebraska

$84,240

New Hampshire

$83,970

Iowa

$83,940

North Dakota

$83,460

Kentucky

$82,840

Indiana

$82,420

Kansas

$82,340

Michigan

$82,240

West Virginia

$82,210

Ohio

$82,180

Maine

$82,160

Arkansas

$81,780

Georgia

$81,110

Utah

$80,690

Wisconsin

$78,660

Idaho

$78,280

Montana

$77,480

South Dakota

$77,030

Vermont

$74,960

What Tools do Civil Engineers Use?

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

  • Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne
  • Microsoft Access
  • Data entry software
  • HydroCAD Software Solutions HydroCAD Stormwater Modeling System
  • Eagle Point Site Design
  • Mathsoft Mathcad
  • Oracle Primavera Enterprise Project Portfolio Management
  • ESRI ArcGIS software
  • Computer aided design and drafting software CADD
  • Microsoft Office

Where do Civil Engineers Work?

Civil Engineer Sectors

Are you already one of the many Civil Engineers in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:

  • Petroleum Engineers

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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