Civil Engineer

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Job Outlook:
Faster than average
Education: Bachelor's degree
High: $138,690.00
Average: $97,380.00
Average: $46.82

What they do:

Perform engineering duties in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of building structures and facilities, such as roads, railroads, airports, bridges, harbors, channels, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, power plants, and water and sewage systems.

On the job, you would:

  • Direct engineering activities, ensuring compliance with environmental, safety, or other governmental regulations.
  • Manage and direct the construction, operations, or maintenance activities at project site.
  • Inspect project sites to monitor progress and ensure conformance to design specifications and safety or sanitation standards.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Civil engineers must be able to explain, both orally and in writing, the details of their projects. They may need to convey information to a variety of audiences, including nontechnical ones.

Decision-making skills. Civil engineers must be able to balance a variety of objectives, such as the feasibility of plans against cost and safety.

Interpersonal skills. Civil engineers often manage projects and the teams that work on them. They must be able to lead urban planners, surveyors, civil engineering technicians, and others.

Math skills. Civil engineers use calculus, trigonometry, and other mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting.

Organizational skills. Civil engineers often oversee several projects at the same time and must be able to allocate resources effectively.

Problem-solving skills. Civil engineers may encounter problems during each stage of their work. They must be able to evaluate issues that arise and troubleshoot to find solutions.


A3 Your Strengths Importance

Characteristics of this Career

89% Integrity  -  Job requires being honest and ethical.
87% Dependability  -  Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
85% Attention to Detail  -  Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
85% Analytical Thinking  -  Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
76% Initiative  -  Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
70% Self-Control  -  Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
69% Stress Tolerance  -  Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
69% Achievement/Effort  -  Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
68% Cooperation  -  Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
68% Persistence  -  Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
67% Adaptability/Flexibility  -  Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
A3 Your Strengths Importance


95% Realistic  -  Work involves designing, building, or repairing of equipment, materials, or structures, engaging in physical activity, or working outdoors. Realistic occupations are often associated with engineering, mechanics and electronics, construction, woodworking, transportation, machine operation, agriculture, animal services, physical or manual labor, athletics, or protective services.
83% Investigative  -  Work involves studying and researching non-living objects, living organisms, disease or other forms of impairment, or human behavior. Investigative occupations are often associated with physical, life, medical, or social sciences, and can be found in the fields of humanities, mathematics/statistics, information technology, or health care service.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Values of the Work Environment

83% Independence  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
75% Working Conditions  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
72% Achievement  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
72% Recognition  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
61% Support  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.


A3 Your Strengths Importance

Abilities | Cognitive, Physical, Personality

75% Oral Comprehension  -  The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
75% Deductive Reasoning  -  The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
75% Inductive Reasoning  -  The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
75% Oral Expression  -  The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
75% Written Expression  -  The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
75% Written Comprehension  -  The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
75% Problem Sensitivity  -  The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
72% Mathematical Reasoning  -  The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
72% Information Ordering  -  The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
69% Category Flexibility  -  The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
69% Fluency of Ideas  -  The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
69% Number Facility  -  The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
69% Visualization  -  The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
69% Near Vision  -  The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
66% Speech Recognition  -  The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
66% Speech Clarity  -  The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
66% Far Vision  -  The ability to see details at a distance.
66% Flexibility of Closure  -  The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
66% Perceptual Speed  -  The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Skills | Cognitive, Physical, Personality

71% Reading Comprehension  -  Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
68% Mathematics  -  Using mathematics to solve problems.
66% Critical Thinking  -  Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
66% Active Learning  -  Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Job Details

Estimate technical or resource requirements for development or production projects.
Inspect facilities or sites to determine if they meet specifications or standards.
Survey land or bodies of water to measure or determine features.
Estimate operational costs.
Prepare proposal documents.
Explain project details to the general public.
Test characteristics of materials or structures.
Investigate the environmental impact of projects.
Analyze operational data to evaluate operations, processes or products.
Incorporate green features into the design of structures or facilities.
Design systems to reduce harmful emissions.
Implement design or process improvements.
Develop technical methods or processes.
Coordinate safety or regulatory compliance activities.
Investigate the environmental impact of projects.
Develop technical methods or processes.
Recommend technical design or process changes to improve efficiency, quality, or performance.
Direct construction activities.
Create graphical representations of civil structures.
Evaluate technical data to determine effect on designs or plans.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Attributes & Percentage of Time Spent

100% Electronic Mail  -  How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
98% Telephone  -  How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
94% Face-to-Face Discussions  -  How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
85% Indoors, Environmentally Controlled  -  How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
85% Importance of Being Exact or Accurate  -  How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
85% Work With Work Group or Team  -  How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
80% Contact With Others  -  How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
78% Spend Time Sitting  -  How much does this job require sitting?
75% Letters and Memos  -  How often does the job require written letters and memos?
75% Frequency of Decision Making  -  How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?
75% Structured versus Unstructured Work  -  To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?
75% Time Pressure  -  How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?
73% Freedom to Make Decisions  -  How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
73% Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results  -  What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the image or reputation or financial resources of your employer?
78% Duration of Typical Work Week  -  Number of hours typically worked in one week.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Tasks & Values

89% Getting Information  -  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
86% Making Decisions and Solving Problems  -  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
82% Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates  -  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
78% Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment  -  Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
78% Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards  -  Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
78% Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge  -  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
77% Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others  -  Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
77% Working with Computers  -  Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
76% Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials  -  Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
76% Processing Information  -  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
76% Scheduling Work and Activities  -  Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
76% Communicating with People Outside the Organization  -  Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
74% Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work  -  Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
73% Analyzing Data or Information  -  Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
68% Developing and Building Teams  -  Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
67% Documenting/Recording Information  -  Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
66% Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships  -  Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
66% Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events  -  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

What Civil Engineers Do

Civil engineers
Civil engineers design major transportation projects.

Civil engineers plan, design, and supervise the construction and maintenance of building and infrastructure projects. These projects may include facilities, bridges, roads, tunnels, and water and sewage systems.


Civil engineers typically do the following:

  • Analyze plans, survey reports, maps, and other data related to project design
  • Consider regulations, site selection, and other factors relevant to a project
  • Analyze the results of tests on soil and building materials to determine strength for foundations and other support
  • Prepare cost estimates for equipment, materials, and labor to determine a project’s economic feasibility
  • Use design software to plan transportation systems, hydraulic systems, and structures
  • Submit permit applications to local, state, and federal agencies, as needed, and confirm that projects comply with regulations
  • Perform or oversee surveying to establish building locations, site layouts, grades, and elevations to guide construction
  • Manage the construction or repair, maintenance, and replacement of buildings and infrastructure

Civil engineers work in all aspects of planning, designing, and constructing or repairing a building or infrastructure project to ensure that structures and systems are assembled correctly. Depending on the job, civil engineers may be involved in a project from start to finish or for certain stages of it.

Civil engineers’ responsibilities during the planning stage may include researching specific topics, such as building codes for a construction proposal or traffic patterns near an intended site. They also may conduct analyses, such as for estimating availability and costs of concrete and other building materials, to determine a project’s timeline and feasibility.

During design and preconstruction stages, civil engineers may focus on specific elements such as site layout, grading (shaping) the land, and identifying appropriate stormwater and sewage systems for the project. Engineers use computer-aided design (CAD) software to create detailed project plans and may make presentations related to the final design, such as about its environmental impact. They often review project documents and secure required permits before work may begin.

Civil engineers also oversee the building of structures or systems throughout a project’s construction, and they help with signoff and other postconstruction activities. They ensure that work complies with safety regulations and adheres to design specifications, helping to resolve problems that may arise. At the conclusion of a project, they may finalize billing, inspection, and other completion details.

Civil engineers may collaborate on projects with other workers, such as architects, construction managers, and urban planners. They may be assisted by civil engineering technicians.

Civil engineers often work as generalists on a variety of projects, gaining skills in different areas that are widely applicable. Some specialize in one of several areas. The following are examples of types of civil engineers:

Construction engineers manage construction projects, ensuring that they are scheduled and built according to plans and specifications. They typically are responsible for the design and safety of any temporary structures used during construction. They also may oversee a project’s budget and communications.

Geotechnical engineers ensure the safety and sturdiness of foundations for streets, buildings, and other structures and systems. They focus on how these manmade objects interact with the earth, including soil and rock. In this way, their work relates to that of environmental engineers.

Structural engineers design and assess major projects, such as buildings, bridges, and dams, to ensure their strength and durability.

Transportation engineers plan, design, and maintain streets and highways, airports, mass transit systems, harbors, and related systems.

Work Environment

Civil engineers held about 326,300 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of civil engineers were as follows:

Engineering services 48%
State government, excluding education and hospitals 12
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 10
Nonresidential building construction 6
Federal government, excluding postal service 3

Civil engineers work in a variety of locations and conditions, including indoors in office settings and outdoors at construction sites. Some construction jobs require setting up a temporary office, such as in a trailer, to work onsite.

Work Schedules

Most civil engineers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. Engineers who direct projects sometimes work extra hours to ensure that designs meet requirements and that the projects are on track to meet deadlines.

Getting Started

Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree

How to Become a Civil Engineer

Civil engineers
Civil engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or a related field.

Civil engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or a related field. Although licensure requirements vary by state, civil engineers usually must be licensed if they provide services directly to the public.


Civil engineers typically need a bachelor's degree in civil engineering or a related field. Civil engineering programs include coursework in math, physics, engineering mechanics, and construction systems. Courses may include a mix of academic learning and laboratory work.

Employers usually prefer to hire graduates of civil engineering programs accredited by ABET. Some students attend schools that have cooperative-education programs (also known as co-ops); others participate in internships. Co-ops and internships provide students with an opportunity to gain practical experience while pursuing a degree.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level civil engineers. However, civil engineers typically must be licensed if they provide services directly to the public. Engineers who have a Professional Engineer (PE) license are called professional engineers (PEs).

A PE may oversee the work of other engineers, approve design plans, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires a bachelor’s or higher degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program, a passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, several years of relevant work experience, and a passing score on the PE exam.

Each state issues its own licenses. Most states recognize licensure from other states, as long as the licensing state’s requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements. Some states require continuing education for engineers to keep their licenses.

Certifications, such as in coastal engineering or geotechnical engineering from the American Society of Civil Engineers, also are available. Optional certification may demonstrate a level of competence and experience that make candidates attractive to prospective employers.


With experience, some PEs advance to supervisory or administrative positions. Their responsibilities may focus on a specific project, such as a construction site, or encompass broad oversight, such as in working as a city engineer, public works director, or city manager.

Graduate-level education, along with a PE license and experience, may be helpful for advancing into supervisory positions, such as engineering managers.

PEs who have certification that demonstrates expertise in a civil engineering specialty also may be able to advance into senior technical or managerial positions.

Job Outlook

Employment of civil engineers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 21,200 openings for civil engineers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.


With continued investment in U.S. infrastructure, civil engineers will be needed to manage projects that meet society's need for upgrading bridges, roads, water systems, buildings, and other structures.

Civil engineers also will be needed to oversee renewable-energy projects, such as construction of wind farms and solar arrays, as these projects gain approval.

Public projects may depend on funding from state and local governments. Employment of civil engineers may fluctuate with the availability of project funds.

Contacts for More Information

For information about general engineering education and career resources, visit

American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)

Technology Student Association (TSA)

For more information about licensure, visit

National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES)

National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)

For information about accredited programs in civil engineering and civil engineering technology, visit


For more information about civil engineers, visit

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

Occupational Requirements Survey

For a profile highlighting selected BLS data on occupational requirements, see

Civil engineers (PDF)

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of civil engineers.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2022
Architects Architects

Architects plan and design houses, factories, office buildings, and other structures.

Bachelor's degree $82,840
Civil engineering technicians Civil Engineering Technologists and Technicians

Civil engineering technologists and technicians help civil engineers plan, design, and build infrastructure and development projects.

Associate's degree $59,630
Construction managers Construction Managers

Construction managers plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction projects from start to finish.

Bachelor's degree $101,480
Environmental engineers Environmental Engineers

Environmental engineers use engineering disciplines in developing solutions to problems of planetary health.

Bachelor's degree $96,530
Landscape architects Landscape Architects

Landscape architects design parks and other outdoor spaces.

Bachelor's degree $73,210
Mechanical engineers Mechanical Engineers

Mechanical engineers design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal sensors and devices.

Bachelor's degree $96,310
Surveyors Surveyors

Surveyors make precise measurements to determine property boundaries.

Bachelor's degree $63,080
Urban and regional planners Urban and Regional Planners

Urban and regional planners develop land use plans and programs that help create communities, accommodate population growth, and revitalize physical facilities.

Master's degree $79,540
Architectural and engineering managers Architectural and Engineering Managers

Architectural and engineering managers plan, direct, and coordinate activities in the fields of architecture and engineering.

Bachelor's degree $159,920
project management specialists Project Management Specialists

Project management specialists coordinate the budget, schedule, staffing, and other details of a project.

Bachelor's degree $95,370

Information provided by CareerFitter, LLC and other sources.

Sections of this page includes information from the O*NET 27.3 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.

CareerFitter, LLC has modified all or some of this information. USDOL/ETA has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.