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Become A Construction Engineer

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Working As A Construction Engineer

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • $81,145

    Average Salary

What Does A Construction 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.

Duties

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 A Construction 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.

Education

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.

Advancement

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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Do you work as a Construction Engineer?

Construction Engineer Jobs

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Construction Engineer Career Paths

Construction Engineer
Consulting Engineer Architect Project Architect
Assistant Construction Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Project Manager Construction Manager
Capital Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Construction Manager Project Consultant
Controls Project Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Director Of Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Operations Manager Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Structures Engineer Project Engineer Facility Engineer
Facilities/Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Lead Technician Field Engineer
Field Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Engineering Manager Maintenance Manager General Contractor
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Engineer Senior Product Engineer Product Engineering Manager
Global Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Structures Engineer Senior Engineer Section Manager
Manager Of Engineering Department
7 Yearsyrs
Project Engineering Manager Consulting Engineer Senior Project Engineer
Plant Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Senior Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Project Executive
9 Yearsyrs
Construction Manager Design Manager
Project Manager/Design Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Operations Vice President Construction Manager
Regional Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager
Senior Construction Manager
14 Yearsyrs
Construction Manager Operations Manager Site Manager
Site/Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Field Technician Surveyor
Survey Manager
10 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Construction Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Civil Engineer 4.0 years
Resident Engineer 3.5 years
Project Engineer 3.3 years
Engineer/Estimator 3.3 years
Engineer 3.2 years
Office Engineer 2.6 years
Site Engineer 2.3 years
Top Employers Before
Engineer 5.9%
Internship 3.2%
Estimator 2.6%
Cashier 2.6%
Top Employers After
Engineer 3.8%
Manager 2.8%
Estimator 2.5%
Owner 2.1%

Do you work as a Construction Engineer?

Construction Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

86.4%

Female

10.6%

Unknown

3.0%
Ethnicity

White

58.7%

Hispanic or Latino

15.2%

Black or African American

11.6%

Asian

9.0%

Unknown

5.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

49.5%

German

8.4%

French

7.5%

Italian

5.6%

Arabic

4.7%

Russian

3.7%

Chinese

3.7%

Mandarin

2.8%

Carrier

2.8%

Korean

1.9%

Swahili

0.9%

Turkish

0.9%

Bulgarian

0.9%

Hawaiian

0.9%

Ukrainian

0.9%

Armenian

0.9%

Navajo

0.9%

Cantonese

0.9%

Tagalog

0.9%

Comanche

0.9%
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Construction Engineer Education

Schools

Purdue University

7.3%

Auburn University

6.8%

West Virginia University

6.8%

Central Texas College

6.8%

Texas A&M University

6.3%

Temple University

5.3%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

5.3%

Louisiana Tech University

5.3%

University of Houston

4.9%

University of Alabama

4.4%

University of Florida

4.4%

University of Phoenix

4.4%

Washington State University

4.4%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.4%

Michigan Technological University

3.9%

University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez

3.9%

North Carolina State University

3.9%

Arizona State University

3.9%

University of Texas at Austin

3.9%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

3.9%
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Majors

Civil Engineering

29.3%

Business

12.3%

Mechanical Engineering

11.2%

Construction Management

7.7%

Electrical Engineering

5.5%

Engineering

3.9%

Management

3.2%

General Studies

3.1%

Project Management

3.1%

Criminal Justice

2.9%

Construction Engineering

2.6%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.1%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.0%

Engineering Technology

1.8%

Computer Science

1.8%

Automotive Technology

1.7%

Industrial Technology

1.5%

Architecture

1.5%

Education

1.4%

Civil Engineering Technologies

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.8%

Other

21.5%

Masters

17.8%

Associate

7.5%

Certificate

4.1%

Diploma

1.7%

Doctorate

1.3%

License

0.3%
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Internship
Temporary

Real Construction Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Construction Engineer Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals, Inc. Houston, TX Jun 22, 2016 $156,516
Fpso Construction Engineering Advisor Oscar Associates Americas LLC Houston, TX Dec 15, 2013 $150,000 -
$450,000
Construction Scheduling Engineer Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Dec 09, 2016 $140,000
Tunnel Construction Engineer Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 25, 2015 $132,683
Construction Engineer BP America Inc. Anchorage, AK Aug 25, 2016 $125,000 -
$128,000
Senior Construction Engineer II Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals, Inc. Gregory, TX Apr 20, 2016 $117,765
Engineer-Tire Construction Engineering The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company Akron, OH Jan 08, 2016 $116,000 -
$120,000
Virtual Design In Construction Engineer Herrero Builders Incorporated San Francisco, CA Sep 13, 2014 $112,000
Electrical Construction Engineer SNC-Lavalin Constructors, Inc. Bothell, WA Aug 05, 2015 $108,992
Construction Engineer Fluor Enterprises, Inc. Tarrytown, NY Jan 01, 2016 $108,007
Subsea Construction Installation Engineer Chevron Corporation Houston, TX Feb 15, 2013 $105,000
Senior Construction Engineer Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals, Inc. Richland, WA Jun 27, 2016 $100,500 -
$154,680
Construction Engineer/Specialist, Senior Parsons Construction Group Inc. Fresno, CA Sep 15, 2016 $95,002
Construction Engineer Sam-Construction Services, LLC Fort Worth, TX Jul 28, 2015 $95,000
Construction Engineer Greeley & Hansen LLC New York, NY Oct 01, 2014 $78,416
Construction Engineer Intrepid Offshore Construction, Inc. Houston, TX Sep 07, 2013 $78,000
Construction Engineer Pax Ventures LLC New York, NY Apr 16, 2015 $78,000
Construction Engineer M&J Engineering, P.C. NY Sep 03, 2015 $76,960
Construction Engineer/Specialist PGS Subsidiary II Company Boston, MA Dec 15, 2014 $76,529
Construction Engineer Exp U.S. Services, Inc. Chicago, IL Dec 02, 2016 $76,300 -
$80,000
Construction Engineer III Fluor Enterprises, Inc. Tarrytown, NY May 13, 2014 $76,242
Design & Construction Engineer NTE Mobility Partners LLC North Richland Hills, TX Feb 23, 2015 $76,232
Construction Engineer Bechtel Infrastructure and Power Corporation Shamokin Dam, PA Sep 15, 2016 $72,000
Construction Engineer III Primera Engineers Ltd Chicago, IL Apr 15, 2015 $71,032
Construction Engineer Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals, Inc. Houston, TX May 24, 2015 $70,392 -
$86,916
BIM Construction Engineer Sanveo, Inc. Newark, CA Sep 10, 2015 $70,200
Construction Engineer Parsons Construction Group Inc. QSSS Westminster, CO Jun 24, 2013 $70,000 -
$78,000
Construction Engineer Exp U.S. Services Inc. East Dundee, IL Apr 30, 2016 $70,000 -
$80,000
Construction Engineer Sprig Electric Co San Jose, CA Jul 09, 2016 $67,933 -
$104,000

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Top Skills for A Construction Engineer

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  1. Safety Standards
  2. Contract Documents
  3. Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Operated miscellaneous heavy machinery to military safety standards.
  • Sourced and selected subcontractors, developed technical contract documents, effectively minimize change orders and project slippage with the Project Manager.
  • Charged with developing procedures to open and operate five operating locations.
  • Developed and implemented facility start-up commissioning, coordinating plant and construction union employees to allow improved production ramp up.
  • Performed basic demolition, mine welfare and combat construction operations.

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Top 10 Best States for Construction Engineers

  1. Alaska
  2. New York
  3. Louisiana
  4. Nevada
  5. Washington
  6. Connecticut
  7. District of Columbia
  8. Virginia
  9. New Jersey
  10. Texas
  • (66 jobs)
  • (1,084 jobs)
  • (218 jobs)
  • (171 jobs)
  • (846 jobs)
  • (313 jobs)
  • (282 jobs)
  • (1,236 jobs)
  • (504 jobs)
  • (2,006 jobs)

Top Construction Engineer Employers

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Jobs From Top Construction Engineer Employers

Construction Engineer Videos

Career Choices - Civil Engineer

A Day in the Life of a Civil Engineer

What Do Civil Engineers Do?

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