Civil Engineers picture    Civil Engineers image

Civil Engineers

Civil engineers plan, design and oversee the construction of highways, bridges, water treatment systems and other types of structures. Some civil engineers are involved in community planning and urban renewal. Many civil engineers have supervisory or administrative positions. Some civil engineers are involved with research, design, construction or teaching.

Some common job titles include project engineer, structural engineer, railroad design consultant, design engineer, research hydraulic engineer and city engineer.

Most civil engineers specialize in one area. Some of the primary specializations are construction, structural, sanitary, hydraulics, soil mechanics, transportation and environmental.

Construction engineers oversee the projects they design. They also determine the best methods and materials to build structures.

Structural engineers ensure that structures are built efficiently and safely. They collaborate with architects to design bridges, tunnels and large buildings.

Sanitary engineers design systems that treat waste and purify water. These systems provide a safe and economical supply of water. They collaborate with environmental engineers to control air and water pollution.

Civil engineers that are involved with hydraulics, design irrigation systems, flood control systems and canals. They develop ways of using water that will benefit communities.

Civil engineers that specialize in soil mechanics create ways to utilize soil to improve building foundations.

Transportation engineers plan subways, highways, railroads and airports.

Environmental engineers are involved with controlling water and air pollution.


  • Consider the construction costs and expected lifetime of a project
  • Consider government regulations
  • Be aware of potential environmental hazards
  • Oversee construction and maintenance activities at project sites
  • Give technical advice regarding design, construction, structural repairs or program modifications to managerial and industrial personnel
  • Inspect project sites to ensure conformance to safety and design specifications and to monitor progress
  • Prepare or present public reports regarding topics including deeds, environmental impact statements, bid proposals and property and right-of-way descriptions
  • Estimate cost and quantities of materials, and labor and equipment in order to determine the feasibility of a project
  • Evaluate maps, drawings, survey reports, aerial photography and other geological or topographical data for planning projects

Job Characteristics

Civil engineers often work with architects, other engineers and construction workers. They should be detailed oriented and have good written and oral communication skills. A strong aptitude for the physical sciences and mathematics is important for the occupation.

Employment Outlook

The employment growth for civil engineers has been projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to be 24 percent from 2008 to 2018 which is much faster than average for all occupations. General population growth and the need to improve the country's infrastructure should increase the demand for civil engineers.

In 2008 the median annual earnings for civil engineers was $74,600. The highest paid 10 percent earned $115,630.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

A bachelor's degree in civil engineering is usually necessary to enter the occupation. Important classes include fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, structural design, stress analysis and circuitry. Some colleges provide cooperative programs that provide classroom learning and work experience. A graduate degree is typically required for those that want a career in research, development or teaching.

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology provides accreditation for college and university engineering programs. In addition, professional certification can be beneficial for finding a job.

Every state requires licensure for engineers that offer their services directly to the public. Licensure typically requires a degree from an ABET accredited engineering program, four years of relevant work experience and passing a state examination.


Major Employers

The top employment sectors are architectural, engineering and related services; construction industries, local government, state government, nonresidential building construction, and colleges, universities and professional schools.

Schools for Civil Engineers are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Civil Engineers

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Civil Engineers jobs , as of 2016

Metro Area Total Employment Annual Mean Salary
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim 10,740 $107,330
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land 10,690 $113,580
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward 7,670 $108,760
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell 7,070 $93,190
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue 6,320 $89,110
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood 5,790 $89,290
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington 5,340 $93,500
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach 4,860 $88,290
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn 4,840 $77,910
San Diego-Carlsbad 4,800 $92,760

Compare Total Employment & Salaries for Civil Engineers

Use our handy tool to see what employment and salary numbers look like for two different metro areas

Select State
Select Metro Area 1
Select Metro Area 2

Total employment and salary for professions similar to civil engineers

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Civil Engineers

To find out more about building a career as Civil Engineers, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Source : 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, BLS.gov

Most Popular Industries for
Civil Engineers

These industries represent at least 1% of the total number of people employed in this occupation.

Industry Total Employment Percent Annual Median Salary
Professional And Technical Services 140,330 55% $74,680
Government 70,850 28% $75,010
Construction 22,040 8% $71,880
Office Services And Staffing 3,240 1% $69,910
Education 2,920 1% $59,860
Click the Visit School Site buttons to go directly to a school's website and learn more about the school and programs it has to offer. School website will open in a new tab.
Click the Request Info buttons to request more information from a representative at the school.
Results:  6
Matching School Ads
  • Certificate - Electrical Technology
  • Many programs require externships, allowing students to gain real-world experience.
  • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1984.
  • Offers 22 accelerated, career-focused program options including business administration, medical assisting, and more.
  • Regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • 11 campuses across California, with an online division as well.
camnpus icon
Request Info
  • Electrical Technician
  • Offers accelerated programs w/ flexible schedules & professional instruction
  • Multiple accredited campuses across 9 states including CA, TX, NV, & PA
  • 10 + programs including Practical Nursing, Dental and Medical Assisting
  • Provides professional development training & career planning resources
  • Military Student Center (MSC) is committed to the success of military students
camnpus icon
Request Info
  • Electrician
  • Oil and Gas Instrumentation Technician
  • Offers career programs in accounting, cosmetology, massage therapy, physical fitness training, and more.
  • Provides hands-on training led by instructors who have relevant, on-the-job experience.
  • Each campus features a public salon and spa for student practice.
  • Campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and Council on Occupational Education (COE).
  • 11 campuses across California, Texas, Nevada and Idaho, as well as 8 additional Milan Institute of Cosmetology campuses.
camnpus icon
Request Info
  • BS in Aeronautics
  • Liberty University’s online programs ranked in the top 10 out of more than 2,100 colleges & universities for academic quality, affordability, and accessibility.*
  • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level.**
  • Transfer up to 90 credits into an undergraduate degree program.
  • Up to 50% of your master’s degree can be transferred in to help you get the most out of your hard work and maximize the credit you previously earned.
  • Master of Science in Engineering Technology
  • Recognized for academic excellence, meaningful research & graduate achievement
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission w/ programmatic accreditations
  • More than 200 majors with a beautiful campus location in Indiana
  • Top 5 public university in the U.S according to the Wall Street Journal
  • Has a helpful Academic Success Center to help students reach their potential
  • Industrial Design Technology (AS)
  • Industrial Design
  • Industrial Design (BS)
  • Online and Bachelor's programs include B.S. in Advertising, B.S. in Web Design, B.A. in Interior Design, and more
  • Curriculum focus on preparing students for a creative career by teaching them the fundamentals of advertising and design
  • Students can choose from courses that cover areas such as advertising concepts, art direction, experience design, and online marketing
  • Over 50 locations nationwide, with a student support team dedicated to helping students grow
  • Join our next Open House on 10/21 (10/28 @ select locations)!

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Civil Engineers.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

Back to Top