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Become A Civil Designer

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Working As A Civil Designer

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • $80,900

    Average Salary

What Does A Civil Designer Do

A Civil Designer plans, scales, and drafts drawings and maps for roads, bridges, and other construction projects. They work with engineers and project managers in determining material, labor, and other costs of the assigned projects.

How To Become A Civil Designer

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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Civil Designer jobs

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Civil Designer Demographics


  • Male

  • Female

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • Portuguese

  • Vietnamese

  • Chickasaw

  • Carrier

  • Cantonese

  • Russian

  • Polish

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Civil Designer

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Civil Designer Education

Civil Designer

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Real Civil Designer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Principle Civil/Structrual Designer I CB&I Inc. Houston, TX Oct 08, 2016 $135,491 -
Civil Designer Foster Wheeler USA Corporation Houston, TX Sep 30, 2012 $108,393
Civil Designer Vatani Consulting Engineers Houston, TX Sep 30, 2016 $108,160
Civil Designer Foster Wheeler USA Corporation Houston, TX Jul 27, 2012 $106,080
Civil Stuctural Designer Fishbone Solutions, Inc. Bellaire, TX Sep 06, 2013 $80,517 -
Civil Designer T.Y. Lin International San Ramon, CA Sep 10, 2012 $78,728
Civil Designer Vatani Consulting Engineers Houston, TX Oct 01, 2013 $75,712
Civil Designer T.Y. Lin International Chicago, IL May 12, 2012 $75,000 -
Civil Designer T.Y. Lin International Chicago, IL Sep 10, 2012 $75,000 -
Civil Designer Vatani Consulting Engineers, PLLC Houston, TX Oct 01, 2010 $72,000
Civil Designer Civiltech Engineering Inc. Bellevue, WA Aug 02, 2014 $63,153
Senior Civil Designer Ammann & Whitney, Inc. Philadelphia, PA Oct 01, 2012 $62,000 -
Senior Civil Designer Patrick Engineering, Inc. Lisle, IL Sep 15, 2014 $58,282
Civil Designer I Dubois Consultants, Inc. Kansas City, MO Oct 01, 2013 $57,400

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Top Skills for A Civil Designer


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Top Civil Designer Skills

  1. Autocad
  2. Site Layout
  3. Drainage Plans
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Model plant roads, dikes, trenches, and drainage using AutoCAD Civil 3D.
  • Produced site layouts, utility locations, grading, landscaping, roadway sections and erosion controls for design and construction plans.
  • Designed plan and profile pipeline alignments, roadways, cross-sections, grading and drainage plans.
  • Implemented and maintained CAD Standards as well as designed a comprehensive Styles and Labels Template for Civil 3D.
  • Storm water and sanitary sewer management design and narratives.

Top Civil Designer Employers

Civil Designer Videos

Career Choices - Civil Engineer

12d Model IFC Writer for Exporting Civil Design Data to BIM (Building Information Management)

Civil Engineer Career Information : Why Become a Civil Engineer?