Civil engineers create designs for large construction and infrastructure projects. They often work for city, county, or state governments. Common projects may include designing airports, roads, dams, bridges, and buildings.
People who excel as civil engineers often have strong technical as well as creative abilities. This helps them solve design problems so infrastructure and buildings remain as reliable as possible.
Management opportunities within the field may give civil engineers opportunities to work with suppliers, independent contractors, and construction engineering professionals.
Civil Engineer Job Education Requirements
Civil engineers must have bachelor's degrees before they can start their careers. Many employers, however, prefer hiring engineers with graduate degrees. Degree programs usually include classes in subjects like architecture, sustainability, and business administration.
People interested in starting careers as civil engineers may want to gain experience by working as civil engineering technicians. Combining several years of real world experience with a college degree often makes it easier for engineers to secure jobs.
Civil Engineer Job Market
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the job market for civil engineers to grow by about 20 percent between 2012 and 2022. This should mean that aspiring civil engineers have plenty of career opportunities. Some areas, however, have more jobs than others. In May 2014, the Houston area had the most civil engineering jobs. Other areas with plentiful employment opportunities include New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle.
Civil Engineer Job Salary Information
The mean annual wage for civil engineers in May 2014 was $87,130 ($41.89 per hour). Some industries tend to pay civil engineers higher wages, though. The annual mean wage for a civil engineer working in oil and gas extraction was $126,830. Engineers in some states also tend to earn more than those in other parts of the country. Top-paying states include Alaska, Texas, California, and Rhode Island.