September 22, 2021

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Civil Engineer Job Description – How to Become a Civil Engineer

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Civil Engineer Job Description

Civil engineers plan, design, and supervise the construction of large projects. Virtually every structure that is built requires the expertise of a civil engineer to make sure that it is safe, stable, and efficient.

Many civil engineers work on projects that include airports, roads, bridges, and water supply systems. Because of the size of these projects, civil engineers often work on the same project for years at a time.

Since each type of construction project requires a different skill set, civil engineers normally choose to specialize. Specialties include transportation engineering, structural engineering, and geotechnical engineering.

Transportation engineers most frequently design roads and highways, though they may also design other transportation systems like airports and ports.

Structural engineers are employed to work on structures that rely on strong structural integrity. Bridges, dams, and large buildings all fall within a structural engineer’s specialty. They are responsible for ensuring that the structure remains stable, and can handle the worst conceivable conditions.

Geotechnical engineers work on aspects of projects that require an understanding of the rock and soil on which the project will be built. They may help with underground projects such as tunnels, or designing the foundations required for bridges or buildings.

Work Environment and Schedule

Civil engineers spend the majority of their time working in an office environment, though they often have to visit construction sites to ensure that operations are running smoothly and to help with any problems that arise.

The majority of civil engineers work in the private sector, but there are plenty of opportunities in the government sector as well.

Because construction is a deadline-driven business, it’s very common for civil engineers to work late nights and maintain irregular hours.

How to Become a Civil Engineer

A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering is required for jobs in this occupation, though some employers require a master’s degree.

Before you enroll in a civil engineering program, you should make sure that it’s accredited by ABET. If the program is not accredited, you will not be able to obtain the licenses needed to practice professionally. For a list of accredited programs, visit ABET’s website.

All states require civil engineers to be licensed. A bachelor’s degree in civil engineering is enough to qualify for the licensing exam, called the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination. Successfully passing this exam will allow you to practice as an Engineer in Training.

To become a certified civil engineering professional, you will need to gain work experience and pass some additional tests.

Related Occupations

Employment Outlook

There are currently 262,800 civil engineers in the United States, with 10,440 new civil engineer job openings created each year.

Civil Engineer jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.

Civil Engineer Salaries

Overall Salaries

Civil Engineer salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most civil engineers make between $61,900 – $98,300 per year, or $29.76 – $47.25 per hour.

Career as a Civil Engineer – Description, Income, & Qualification


Civil engineering is one of the oldest occupations in human history. Civil engineers design, build, repair, and maintain building projects. They build dams, bridges, roads, road bypasses, airports, factories, canals, interchange, and many other structures. Both, private and public sectors hire civil engineers to work on construction projects.

Their work usually starts by understanding the needs of client. Civil engineers create the initial plan for construction after understanding all the requirements of their client. They also prepare budget plans. If the client approves the initial construction plan and if the estimated project budget is within range, they then continue the work by analyzing government regulations. The next step is to prepare a building permit and submit it to the concerned state agency for approval. Construction work cannot start until government approves the building plan.

After construction plans are approved, civil engineers first do geotechnical investigation in which they collect soil composition and other data. They use this data to determine the dimensions and material needed for the foundations. After soil testing, they start their hunt for the best materials they can use for the given project. For instance, they use different ratio of raw material to make concrete that is best suited for the job. This is just what they do in the beginning of a construction project; they continue their work until construction is finished.

Work Conditions and Timings

Civil engineers work in many different places and conditions. An engineer in an offshore oil drilling plant usually faces harsh working conditions. On the other hand, building a bridge or a house has a much friendlier work environment.

Civil engineers have to spend time inside offices as well as at the construction site. They oversee all construction work until the job is complete. They monitor work progress and solve issues if any ever occurs.

This is a full-time job and it often requires the employee to work extra-time to meet deadlines and solve unexpected issues.


To get civil engineer jobs, you need a bachelor’s degree. A professional engineering license is also usually needed. Job competition in this field is massive, so you should consider earning a master degree in civil engineering. You can get a better job if you have more education and experience than an average candidate does.

Check following links for more information, these are ABET accredited programs:

1. Alabama A&M University
2. Arizona State University
3. Arkansas State University
4. Auburn University
5. Bluefield State College
6. Boise State University
7. Bradley University
8. BridgeValley Community and Technical College
9. Brigham Young University

Job Prospects

There are approximately 300,000 civil engineering jobs in the US. The number of jobs in this field is projected to increase by 8% between 2014-2024. The number of jobs in this occupation is increasing in both private and public sectors. The number of construction projects is increasing, so is the demand for civil engineers.


Civil engineers make approximately $60,000 to $130,000 annually. Their salary depends on what job they are doing. They can make more money if they have higher education credentials and experience.

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