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Become An Architectural Engineer

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Working As An Architectural Engineer

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • $88,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Architectural Engineer Do

Civil engineers design, build, supervise, operate, and maintain construction projects and systems in the public and private sector, including roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and systems for water supply and sewage treatment. Many civil engineers work in design, construction, research, and education.


Civil engineers typically do the following:

  • Analyze long range plans, survey reports, maps, and other data in order to plan projects
  • Consider construction costs, government regulations, potential environmental hazards, and other factors in planning the stages of, and risk analysis for, a project
  • Compile and submit permit applications to local, state, and federal agencies, verifying that projects comply with various regulations
  • Perform or oversee soil testing to determine the adequacy and strength of foundations
  • 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
  • Use design software to plan and design transportation systems, hydraulic systems, and structures in line with industry and government standards
  • Perform or oversee surveying operations in order to establish reference points, grades, and elevations to guide construction
  • Present their findings to the public on topics such as bid proposals, environmental impact statements, or descriptions of property
  • Manage the repair, maintenance, and replacement of public and private infrastructure

Civil engineers inspect projects to insure regulatory compliance. In addition, they are tasked with ensuring that safe work practices are followed at construction sites.

Many civil engineers hold supervisory or administrative positions ranging from supervisor of a construction site to city engineer, public works director, and city manager. Others work in design, construction, research, and teaching. Civil engineers work with others on projects and may be assisted by civil engineering technicians.

Civil engineers prepare permit documents for work on projects in renewable energy. They verify that the projects will comply with federal, state, and local requirements. With regard to solar energy, these engineers conduct structural analyses for large-scale photovoltaic projects. They also evaluate the ability of solar array support structures and buildings to tolerate stresses from wind, seismic activity, and other sources. For large-scale wind projects, civil engineers often prepare roadbeds to handle large trucks that haul in the turbines. In addition, they prepare the sites on the shore or offshore to make sure that the foundations for the turbines will safely keep them upright in expected environmental conditions.

Civil engineers work on complex projects, so they usually specialize in one of several areas.

Construction engineers manage construction projects, ensuring that they are scheduled and built in accordance with plans and specifications. These engineers typically are responsible for the design and safety of temporary structures used during construction.

Geotechnical engineers work to make sure that foundations are solid. They focus on how structures built by civil engineers, such as buildings and tunnels, interact with the earth (including soil and rock). In addition, they design and plan for slopes, retaining walls, and tunnels.

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

Transportation engineers plan, design, operate, and maintain everyday systems, such as streets and highways, but they also plan larger projects, such as airports, ship ports, mass transit systems, and harbors.

The work of civil engineers is closely related to the work of environmental engineers.

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How To Become An Architectural Engineer

Civil engineers need a bachelor’s degree. They typically need a graduate degree and licensure for promotion to senior positions. Although licensure requirements vary within the United States, civil engineers usually must be licensed in the locations where they provide services directly to the public.


Civil engineers need a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, in one of its specialties, or in civil engineering technology. Programs in civil engineering and civil engineering technology include coursework in math, statistics, engineering mechanics and systems, and fluid dynamics, among other courses, depending on the specialty. Courses include a mix of traditional classroom learning, work in laboratories, and fieldwork.

A degree from a program accredited by the ABET is needed in order to earn the professional engineer (PE) license. In many states, a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering technology also will suffice as an academic requirement for obtaining a license.

About 1 in 4 civil engineers has a master’s degree. Further education after the bachelor’s degree, along with the PE license and previous experience, is helpful in getting a job as a manager. For more information on engineering managers, see the profile on architectural and engineering managers.

Important Qualities

Decisionmaking skills. Civil engineers often balance multiple and frequently conflicting objectives, such as determining the feasibility of plans with regard to financial costs and safety concerns. Urban and regional planners often look to civil engineers for advice on these issues. Civil engineers must be able to make good decisions based on best practices, their own technical knowledge, and their own experience.

Leadership skills. Civil engineers take ultimate responsibility for the projects that they manage or research that they perform. Therefore, they must be able to lead planners, surveyors, construction managers, civil engineering technicians, civil engineering technologists, and others in implementing their project plan.

Math skills. Civil engineers use the principles of calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced topics in mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Organizational skills. Only licensed civil engineers can sign the design documents for infrastructure projects. This requirement makes it imperative that civil engineers be able to monitor and evaluate the work at the jobsite as a project progresses. That way, they can ensure compliance with the design documents. Civil engineers also often manage several projects at the same time, and thus must be able to balance time needs and to effectively allocate resources.

Problem-solving skills. Civil engineers work at the highest level of the planning, design, construction, and operation of multifaceted projects or research. The many variables involved require that they possess the ability to identify and evaluate complex problems. They must be able to then utilize their skill and training to develop cost-effective, safe, and efficient solutions.

Speaking skills. Civil engineers must present reports and plans to audiences of people with a wide range of backgrounds and technical knowledge. This requires the ability to speak clearly and to converse with people in various settings, and to translate engineering and scientific information into easy to understand concepts.

Writing skills. Civil engineers must be able to communicate with others, such as architects, landscape architects, and urban and regional planners. They also must be able to explain projects to elected officials and citizens. This means that civil engineers must be able to write reports that are clear, concise, and understandable to those with little or no technical or scientific background.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as a civil engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can 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 degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years working under a licensed engineer
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after earning a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam commonly are called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

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. Several states require continuing education for engineers to keep their licenses.


Civil engineers with ample experience may move into senior positions, such as project managers or functional managers of design, construction, operation, or maintenance. However, they would first need to obtain the Professional Engineering (PE) license, because only licensed engineers can assume responsibilities for public projects.

After gaining licensure, a professional engineer may seek credentialing that attests to his or her expertise in a civil engineering specialty. Such a credential may be of help for advancement to senior technical or even managerial positions.

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Architectural Engineer Career Paths

Architectural Engineer
Project Manager Owner/Operator Construction Manager
Director Of Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Information Technology Director Chief Information Officer
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Senior Software Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Senior Software Engineer Information Technology Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Principal Engineer Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Systems Engineer Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Senior Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Senior Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Architect Construction Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Manager, Project Management
9 Yearsyrs
Project Architect Design Manager Engineering Manager
Engineering Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Architect Construction Manager Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Architect Manager Information Technology Manager
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Architect Technical Manager Technical Support Manager
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Architect Design Manager
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Systems Engineer Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Engineer Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Application Engineer Senior Process Engineer
Engineering Group Leader
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Architectural Engineer?

Average Yearly Salary
View Detailed Salary Report
Min 10%
Median 50%
Median 50%
Median 50%
Median 50%
Median 50%
Median 50%
Median 50%
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Highest Paying City
Anchorage, AK
Highest Paying State
Avg Experience Level
3.8 years
How much does an Architectural Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Architectural Engineer in the United States is $88,582 per year or $43 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $62,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $125,000.

Real Architectural Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Principal Architectural Engineer NES Global, LLC Houston, TX Mar 12, 2012 $224,000
Principal Architectural Engineer NES Global, LLC Houston, TX Jan 03, 2011 $224,000
IOS GPU Architecture Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Oct 01, 2012 $180,000 -
GPU Driver Architecture Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Aug 20, 2013 $180,000 -
SYS Design/Architecture ENG. SR. Staff 2 Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. San Diego, CA Sep 02, 2014 $172,000
Staff System Architecture Engineer Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. Milpitas, CA Jul 07, 2014 $160,000
Staff System Architecture Engineer Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. Milpitas, CA Aug 26, 2015 $160,000
Engineer-Performance Architecture Samsung Austin Semiconductor, L.L.C. Austin, TX Oct 01, 2012 $155,000
Microprocessor Architecture Engineer Centaur Technology, Inc. Austin, TX Sep 21, 2015 $152,000
Systems and Architecture Engineer Crossbar, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Apr 02, 2013 $150,000
Systems & Architecture Engineer V Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. San Jose, CA Aug 08, 2015 $148,810 -
Lead Architectural Engineer Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. Conshohocken, PA Jan 04, 2011 $142,605
IT Architecture Engineer Lead Northwestern University Chicago, IL Jan 15, 2015 $102,872
Silicon Architecture Engineer/Researcher Intel Corporation Santa Clara, CA Aug 24, 2013 $102,723 -
Hardware Architecture Engineer Vivante Corporation Sunnyvale, CA Dec 01, 2012 $100,000
System Architecture Engineer Micron Technology, Inc. Folsom, CA Nov 01, 2011 $99,449
Silicon Architecture Engineer/Researcher Intel Corporation Hillsboro, OR Oct 01, 2014 $97,500 -
Engineer, Systems Architecture T-Mobile USA, Inc. Bellevue, WA Sep 12, 2016 $95,000 -
Design and Architecture Engineer Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. Austin, TX Sep 02, 2015 $94,000 -
Lead Security Solutions Architecture Engineer Motorola Solutions, Inc. Schaumburg, IL Dec 01, 2014 $91,686 -
Solar Architectural Engineer EVS, Inc. Eden Prairie, MN Jul 15, 2016 $79,414
Systems Architecture Engineer TWC Administration LLC Charlotte, NC Jan 30, 2014 $79,000
Systems Architecture Engineer Dukenet Communications, LLC Charlotte, NC Jan 02, 2014 $79,000
Architecture/Eng.II Virginia Department of Transportation Bristol, VA Oct 22, 2014 $78,853
Architectural Engineer Gray Construction, Inc. Lexington, KY Oct 09, 2016 $76,086
Architectural Engineer Superstructures Engineering + Architecture, PLLC New York, NY Jul 23, 2012 $75,862
Systems & Architecture Engineer III Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. Tempe, AZ Nov 07, 2011 $75,400 -

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Top Skills for An Architectural Engineer

  1. Shop Drawings
  2. Architectural Design
  3. CAD
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Develop and coordination of Details and assembly of shop Drawings for Commercial projects such as hospitals, schools, hotels etc.
  • SERVICE, EGYPT, My Responsibility include - Participation in the architectural design of several villas & commercial buildings.
  • Achieved leadership role as core lead architectural electrical engineer and maintained responsibility for the electrical design system of the Cadillac.
  • Project Manager for new construction, interior alteration, maintenance and repair capital improvement projects.
  • Project management of jobs released into production.


Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Architectural Engineers

  1. Alaska
  2. Texas
  3. California
  4. New Jersey
  5. Connecticut
  6. Louisiana
  7. Washington
  8. Virginia
  9. Minnesota
  10. District of Columbia
  • (66 jobs)
  • (2,649 jobs)
  • (5,860 jobs)
  • (950 jobs)
  • (494 jobs)
  • (209 jobs)
  • (1,121 jobs)
  • (2,659 jobs)
  • (583 jobs)
  • (474 jobs)

Architectural Engineer Demographics










Hispanic or Latino




Black or African American



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Foreign Languages Spoken




















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Architectural Engineer Education


Pennsylvania State University


University of California - Berkeley


Drexel University


Rochester Institute of Technology


University of Southern Mississippi


University of Washington


University of Houston


University of North Carolina at Greensboro


University of Phoenix


Art Institute of Pittsburgh


More Tech Institute


University of Florida


National Institute of Technology


University of Pennsylvania


University of Michigan - Ann Arbor


Kaplan University


Kettering University


Florida International University


University of Arizona


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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Architectural Engineering




Electrical Engineering




Computer Science


Mechanical Engineering


Civil Engineering


Computer Engineering


Drafting And Design


Engineering And Industrial Management


Information Technology




Construction Management


Urban Planning




Computer Networking


Project Management




Supply Chain Management


Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

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