Civil Engineering Majors: Salary and Career Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in civil engineering. Read on to learn more about career options along with educational requirements, licensure, and job outlook. Schools offering Civil Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Civil Engineer?

Civil engineers design, build, and oversee large-scale construction projects like airports, buildings, and roads. Many of them work as administrators and supervisors in government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private industry. Others obtain academic, construction, and design positions. They must consider budgeting and government regulations when developing projects, and verify all necessary documentation is obtained. They oversee materials and soil testing to make certain that these things are safe. Civil engineers are also responsible for the maintenance of their structures. Information about education, key skills, licensure, salary, and job growth for civil engineers is listed in the following table.

Degree RequiredBachelor's, master's
Education Field of StudyCivil engineering, civil engineering technology
Key SkillsDecision-making, leadership, organizational, problem-solving
LicensureEvery state and the District of Columbia require licensure for civil engineering services offered publicly.
Job Growth (2014-2024)8%*
Median Salary (2015)$82,220*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Jobs Can I Qualify For With a Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering?

Civil engineers often work in the manufacturing and technical services industries. Private and nonprofit organizations also employ civil engineers, including architectural, construction and public utilities companies. Some engineers work for state highway departments, the Department of Transportation or the U.S. Geological Survey. With experience, you may choose to work independently as a consultant offering services to private companies or government agencies.

Is Licensure Required?

All states require engineers who offer services directly to the public to be licensed as Professional Engineers (PEs). Licensure requirements include completion of an accredited bachelor's program, four years of work experience under the supervision of a PE and two examinations. You'll probably need to take some continuing education courses in order to maintain licensure.

Certification is generally optional and can demonstrate an advanced level of competency within the field. For instance, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) created Civil Engineering Certification, Inc. (CEC) in order to provide post-licensure credentialing options. The CEC partners with the Environmental & Water Resources Institute, the Geo-Institute and the Coasts, Oceans, Ports & Rivers Institute to offer certification in related specialties.

What Will My Job Duties Be?

As a civil engineer, you'll probably be involved in the design and construction of buildings, bridges, roadways, tunnels or water systems. Part of your time may be spent in an office developing plans, drafting blueprints or preparing survey reports. You could also work on site, providing technical advice to construction crews and other project staff members. Additional job duties might include soil testing, materials selection and environmental impact assessment.

What's the Job Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of employed civil engineers is expected to increase by 8% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). During this time, civil engineers will be needed to build new structures in response to population growth. These engineers will also be hired to repair existing buildings, roads, bridges and other public structures. The need for new water supply and pollution control systems is driving job growth as well.

How Much Can I Expect to Earn?

Your salary could vary according to your level of experience. PayScale.com reports that civil engineers with 1-5 years experience earned a median salary of $58,000 in 2016. Most engineers with 20 or more years of experience earned $95,000 during the same year. The median annual wage for civil engineers was $82,220 in 2015, as noted by the BLS.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Related careers include architects, construction managers and mechanical engineers. Architects create design plans for various establishments. Construction managers oversee budgets, schedules and contracts for projects. Mechanical engineers build devices such as engines and machines. All of these professions require a bachelor's degree for entry.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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