Cool Job of the Month

Civil Engineer

Civil engineers play an essential role in our society. They actively contribute to the design and construction of the roads and paths we travel, the dams and power stations that provide our electricity, the water and sewage plants that keep our water clean, the pollution control process that preserves our environment, and much more!

Why it's cool

  • Civil engineers plan, design, and manage the construction and maintenance of physical infrastructure networks, which include roads, bridges, railways, sewers, power plants, water supply systems, and pollution control processes
  • Civil engineering is the oldest and the broadest engineering discipline
  • Specialize in one of several traditional areas:
    • Construction
    • Coastal
    • Environmental
    • Geotechnical
    • Materials
    • Structural
    • Transportation
    • Water Resources
  • Or one of many newer areas of study, which include:
    • Bioengineering
    • Project Management
    • Life-Cycle Design
    • Real-time Monitoring
    • Rehabilitation
    • Smart Systems
    • Space Structures
  • Must consider many factors in the design process, from construction costs and project lifetime to government regulations and environmental hazards
  • There are a wide variety of career paths available because civil engineers work at all levels of the economy, including small specialized consulting firms, large engineering firms, and transportation divisions of all levels of government
  • Work either in office buildings, laboratories and industrial plants, or outdoors in construction, exploration, and production sites

Requirements for the Job

  • Creative
  • Inquisitive
  • Analytical
  • Detail Oriented
  • Work well as part of a team
  • Excellent oral and written communication
  • Mathematic and scientific knowledge base

Education/Training

For most entry-level civil engineering jobs, a bachelor's degree with a specialization in civil engineering is required. Some colleges offer degree programs in engineering technology that focus on the practical application of engineering principles and prepare students for practical design and production work, rather than jobs that require more theoretical and scientific knowledge. Admission requirements for undergraduate programs include a solid background in mathematics (algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus) and science (biology, chemistry, physics). Graduate training is required for engineering faculty positions and many research and development programs.

To do any civil engineering work that affects the public in the United States, one must be licensed as a Professional Engineer. This licensure requires either a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Engineering degree in Civil Engineering from an ABET-accredited program, four years of work experience, and successful completion of two State examinations.

Career Path/Average Salaries

Most civil engineers work 40 hours a week, however deadlines can often result in overtime hours. The average starting salary can range from $43,000 US to $59,000 US, depending on level of education and work experience.

Related Occupations

  • Architects
  • Drafters
  • Civil Engineering Technicians
  • Physical and Life Scientists
  • Environmental Engineers and Scientists
  • Construction Workers and Managers
  • Surveyors

JVIS Report

  • You should consider this job if you score above average on some of the following Basic Interest Scales: Mathematics, Physical Science, Engineering, Skilled Trades, Stamina, Nature-Agriculture, Creative Arts, and Adventure.
  • Your JVIS Report should show one or more of the following occupation groups under your "Top 3": Engineering and Technical Support Workers, Construction/Skilled Trades, and Mathematical and Related Occupations.

For more information contact:

  • American Society of Civil Engineers
    1801 Alexander Bell Drive
    Reston, VA 20191
    Tel: 800-548-2723
    Website: www.asce.org
  • Canadian Society for Civil Engineering
    4877 Sherbrooke St. West
    Montreal, QC
    H3Z 1G9
    Website: www.csce.ca
  • Institution of Civil Engineers
    1 Great George Street
    Westminister
    London, England SW1P 3AA
    Tel: +44 (0)20 7222 7722
    Website: www.ice.org.uk
  • National Society of Professional Engineers
    1420 King Street
    Alexandria, VA 22314-2794
    Tel: 703-684-2800
    Website: www.nspe.org
  • The Engineering Institute of Canada
    1295 Highway 2 East
    Kingston, ON K7L 4V1
    Tel: 613-547-5989
    Website: www.eic-ici.ca