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 September 2015, reported that civil engineers with less than five years of experience earned annual salaries ranging from $43,883-$70,768, 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 $82,050 in May 2014. The top-paid ten percent earned $128,110 or more, and the bottom-paid ten percent made $52,570 or less.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Job Outlook 20%
Key Skills Writing, leadership, math, organizational, problem-solving and decision-making skills
Work Environment Office setting with some on-site work
Similar Occupations Architect, construction manager, environmental engineer, surveyor

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salary by Industry

The BLS reported that the industries employing the most civil engineers in May 2014 included architectural and engineering services, state government, local government, nonresidential building construction and the federal executive government. Average wages for these industries were $88,710, $80,040, $86,540, $81,300 and $89,500, respectively.

The three industries that paid these professionals the highest mean wages oil and gas extraction ($126,830), accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services ($111,880) and specialized design services ($109,140). Pipeline transportation of crude oil companies paid an average wage of $107,940, and employment services paid an average wage of $104,970.

Salary by Location

According to the BLS, states employing the most civil engineers in May 2014 included California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Average wages for these locations were $99,580, $100,330, $91,350, $84,920 and $82,460, respectively. In addition, California and Texas had some of the highest average salaries in the country. Additional states with top average pay included Alaska ($107,600), the District of Columbia ($99,460) and Rhode Island ($95,720). Engineers made much lower average wages of $57,120-$75,030 in states that included Wyoming, 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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