Career Map: Civil Engineer

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Civil Engineer

Position TitleCivil Engineer
Alternate Title(s)Engineer
Education & Training LevelBachelors required, prefer graduate degree
Education & Training Level DescriptionCivil engineers need a bachelor’s degree. They typically need a graduate degree for promotion to managerial positions. Civil engineers who sell their own services publicly must be licensed in all states and the District of Columbia. Professional Engineering licenses are necessary for some regulatory and inspection career paths.
Brief job description Civil engineers design and supervise large construction projects, including wind farm foundations, access roads, and crane paths and pads. They test road, soil, concrete, and other construction materials to ensure quality of work as well as implement environmental protection measures such as storm water pollution prevention. 
Preferred Level of EducationBachelor’s degree
Preferred Level of ExperienceSee the Bureau of Labor Statistics for more information.
Estimated/Expected SalarySee the Bureau of Labor Statistics for more information.
Job Profile

Civil engineers typically do the following:

  • Design site access roads to facilitate turbine component transportation
  • Analyze survey reports, maps, and other data to plan projects
  • Consider construction costs, government regulations, potential environmental hazards, and other factors in planning stages
  • Test soils to determine the adequacy and strength of foundations, roads, crane pads, and crane paths
  • Test building materials, such as concrete, asphalt, or steel, for use in particular projects. Provide cost estimates for materials, equipment, or labor to determine a project’s economic feasibility. Civil engineers may also be responsible for calibrating and testing measurement equipment for on-site or lab testing of materials used in the field
  • Use design software to plan and design systems or structures according to industry and government standards
  • Oversee, or participate in, surveying to establish reference points, grades, and elevations to guide construction
  • Present findings to clients or public on topics such as bid proposals, environmental impact statements, or property descriptions.

Civil engineers hold a range of positions from supervisory positions to working in design, construction, project development, research, and teaching. They work with others on projects and may be assisted by civil engineering technicians. Federally employed civil engineers may also inspect projects to be sure that they comply with regulations. These engineers need a Professional Engineering license.

Job Skills
  • Complex problem-solving skills. Civil engineers work at the highest level of design and plan large infrastructure projects, such as wind farm foundations, access roads, and crane paths and pads, which requires solving complex problems.
  • Decision-making skills. Civil engineers must determine the feasibility of plans, especially regarding financial costs and safety concerns.
  • Leadership skills. Civil engineers are ultimately responsible for the infrastructure project’s design and implementation. Therefore, they must be able to lead surveyors, construction managers, civil engineering technicians, and others to implement the plan.
  • Math skills. Civil engineers use the principals of calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced topics in mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.
  • Project management skills. Only licensed civil engineers can sign the plans for infrastructure projects. This makes it imperative that civil engineers be able to monitor and evaluate the work at the job site as a project progresses.
  • Writing skills. Civil engineers must be able to communicate with other professionals, such as wind farm project engineers and regulatory authorities. This means that civil engineers must be able to write clear reports that people without an engineering background can follow.
Resources

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Civil Engineer

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