How Much Do Entry Level Civil Engineers Typically Make in Salary?

Civil engineers design, construct and maintain much of our country's infrastructure, including roads, dams, water treatment systems and bridges. If you're interested in learning more about the starting salaries and career opportunities for civil engineers, read on. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Salary Overview

In January 2014, reported that civil engineers with less than one year of experience earned annual salaries ranging from $39,628-$60,458, though these figures accounted for those at all degree levels. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual salary for all civil engineers, regardless of experience or education, was $79,340 in May 2012. The top-paid ten percent earned $122,020 or more, and the bottom-paid ten percent made $51,280 or less.

Salary by Industry

The BLS reported that the industries employing the most civil engineers in May 2012 included architectural and engineering services, state government, local government, nonresidential building construction and the federal executive government. Average wages for these industries were $86,170, $76,520, $84,470, $81,350 and $87,320, respectively.

The three industries that paid these professionals the highest mean wages were commercial and industrial machinery and equipment repair maintenance ($138,780), specialized design services ($105,470) and urban transit systems ($104,690). Oil and gas extraction companies paid an average wage of $102,640, and accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services paid an average wage of $102,150.

Salary by Location

According to the BLS, states employing the most civil engineers in May 2012 included California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and New York. Average wages for these locations were $95,750, $94,790, $82,890, $78,190 and $87,190, respectively. In addition, California and Texas had some of the highest average salaries in the country. Additional states with top average pay included Rhode Island ($97,720), Alaska ($93,650) and New Jersey ($91,450). Engineers made much lower average wages of $53,740-$72,570 in states that included Maine, New Hampshire, Alabama, Michigan, Montana, West Virginia and South Dakota.

Educational Requirements

The majority of entry-level positions in civil engineering require a bachelor's degree in the field. As a civil engineering major, you can expect to study structural mechanics, transportation engineering, materials science and fluid mechanics. Your curriculum could also include a number of courses in advanced mathematics, physics and life sciences. When choosing a school, you should look for programs that are approved by ABET, Inc, which sets accreditation standards for engineering and technology programs. Some employers, licensing boards or certification organizations could require applicants to complete an ABET-accredited program.

Licensure and Certification

Entry-level civil engineers work under the supervision of a more experienced and licensed engineering professional. If you plan to provide engineering services directly to the public, state licensure could be required. However, you may not need licensure if the projects you work on have a fully licensed engineer on the team. Full licensure requires passing two tests administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, which are recognized by all states. You can take the initial exam toward the end of your undergraduate program, but you'll need to have at least a bachelor's degree and a minimum of four years' experience working under a licensed engineer to qualify for the second exam (

Career Outlook

Between the years of 2012 and 2022, the BLS predicted employment of civil engineers would increase by 20 percent. The reason for this anticipated growth was due to the need for improved roads, water resources, buildings and pollution control for the nation's increasing population. In addition to having a bachelor's degree, you can improve your prospects with work experience, such as through a co-op.

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