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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
  • $62,886

    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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Construction Engineer jobs

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Construction Engineer Career Paths

Construction Engineer
Structures Engineer Senior Engineer Architect
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Structures Engineer Project Engineer Construction Manager
Capital Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Construction Consultant
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Marketing Director Senior Technician Specialist
Construction Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Technical Director Carpenter
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Construction Manager Senior Project Manager
Director Of Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Senior Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager President Of Operations Construction Manager
Estimating Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Construction Manager Senior Estimator
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Engineer Maintenance Manager Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Operator Foreman
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Field Supervisor General Foreman
Mechanical Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Estimator Project Superintendent
Owner/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Consultant Senior Consultant
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Mechanical Engineer Project Engineer
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager
Senior Construction Manager
14 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Operations Manager Site Manager
Site/Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Construction Manager
Vice President Of Construction
10 Yearsyrs
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Construction Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

85.3%

Female

11.7%

Unknown

3.0%
Ethnicity

White

75.7%

Hispanic or Latino

10.9%

Asian

8.9%

Unknown

3.6%

Black or African American

1.0%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.0%

French

7.0%

German

7.0%

Italian

5.3%

Carrier

4.4%

Chinese

4.4%

Arabic

4.4%

Mandarin

3.5%

Russian

3.5%

Korean

1.8%

Swahili

0.9%

Turkish

0.9%

Cheyenne

0.9%

Bulgarian

0.9%

Hawaiian

0.9%

Ukrainian

0.9%

Armenian

0.9%

Navajo

0.9%

Tagalog

0.9%

Comanche

0.9%
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Construction Engineer Education

Schools

Purdue University

8.6%

West Virginia University

6.8%

Texas A&M University

6.3%

University of Houston

6.3%

Auburn University

5.4%

Temple University

5.4%

University of Phoenix

5.4%

Louisiana Tech University

5.4%

Central Texas College

5.0%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

5.0%

Michigan Technological University

4.5%

University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez

4.5%

Arizona State University

4.5%

University of Texas at Austin

4.5%

Washington State University

4.5%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

4.1%

University of Alabama

3.6%

North Carolina State University

3.6%

Lamar University

3.6%

New York University

3.2%
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Majors

Civil Engineering

28.6%

Business

12.5%

Mechanical Engineering

11.1%

Construction Management

7.6%

Electrical Engineering

5.5%

Engineering

4.2%

Project Management

3.7%

Management

3.2%

Criminal Justice

2.8%

General Studies

2.7%

Construction Engineering

2.5%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.2%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.1%

Engineering Technology

1.9%

Computer Science

1.8%

Finance

1.7%

Accounting

1.6%

Industrial Technology

1.5%

Automotive Technology

1.4%

Architecture

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.4%

Other

21.8%

Masters

18.3%

Associate

7.5%

Certificate

4.0%

Doctorate

1.4%

Diploma

1.3%

License

0.3%
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Full Time
Part Time
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
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
SR. Construction Engineer II (Field Engineer, Rigg Bechtel Equipment Operations, Inc. Houston, TX Jul 22, 2013 $92,700 -
$110,520
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 II Primera Engineers, Ltd. Chicago, IL Nov 03, 2016 $76,003 -
$76,006
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 Exp U.S. Services Inc. East Dundee, IL Apr 30, 2016 $70,000 -
$80,000
Construction Engineer Parsons Construction Group Inc. QSSS Westminster, CO Jun 24, 2013 $70,000 -
$78,000
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

SafetyStandardsContractDocumentsFacilityProjectScopeHeavyConstructionEquipmentCombatGradeStakesProjectManagementConstructionManagementBackhoeLoadersConstructionActivitiesDumpTrucksCADConstructionSupervisionRFIHydraulicExcavatorsScrapersHvacProjectScheduleEngineerMissions

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Top Construction Engineer Skills

  1. Safety Standards
  2. Contract Documents
  3. Facility
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Sustained and pushed safety standards to ensure a safe working condition for me and my coworkers while operating in hazardous environments.
  • Monitor, inspect, and approve subcontractor work against contract documents, standards, acceptance criteria and schedule milestones.
  • Coordinate with general contractor training to the owner personnel responsible of the maintenance of the facility.
  • Served as a liaison between the state and public for matters within project scope.
  • Operated all heavy construction equipment, maintenance of equipment and repair (operator level) military security procedures and operations.

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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