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Become An Engineer/Estimator

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Working As An Engineer/Estimator

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • $71,769

    Average Salary

What Does An Engineer/Estimator 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 An Engineer/Estimator

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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Engineer/Estimator jobs

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Engineer/Estimator Career Paths

Engineer/Estimator
Senior Project Manager Construction Consultant Construction Manager
Capital Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Cost Engineer Senior Estimator Estimator Project Manager
Commercial Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Estimator Project Manager
Construction Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Estimator Estimator Project Manager
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Engineer Operations Manager Senior Project Manager
Director Of Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Estimator Project Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager President Of Operations Construction Manager
Estimating Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Assistant Project Manager Estimator
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Construction Manager Maintenance Technician Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Construction Manager Driver Field Supervisor
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Manager Maintenance Technician Lead Mechanic
Mechanical Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Field Engineer Project Engineer Engineering Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Engineering Manager Estimator Project Superintendent
Owner/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Consultant Senior Consultant
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Assistant Project Manager Property Manager General Contractor
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Engineer Engineering Manager Operations Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Field Engineer Project Manager Construction Manager
Senior Construction Manager
14 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager
Senior Project Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Estimator Project Manager Operations Manager Site Manager
Site/Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Estimator Project Manager Construction Manager
Vice President Of Construction
10 Yearsyrs
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Engineer/Estimator Demographics

Gender

Male

83.7%

Female

12.8%

Unknown

3.5%
Ethnicity

White

74.0%

Hispanic or Latino

11.7%

Asian

9.6%

Unknown

3.9%

Black or African American

0.8%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

45.3%

German

6.3%

Mandarin

4.7%

French

4.7%

Chinese

4.7%

Arabic

4.7%

Russian

3.1%

Italian

3.1%

Portuguese

3.1%

Japanese

3.1%

Cantonese

3.1%

Romanian

1.6%

Korean

1.6%

Hungarian

1.6%

Thai

1.6%

Filipino

1.6%

Hebrew

1.6%

Greek

1.6%

Carrier

1.6%

Hawaiian

1.6%
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Engineer/Estimator Education

Schools

Auburn University

8.8%

Kansas State University

6.2%

University of Florida

6.2%

Oregon State University

6.2%

Iowa State University

6.2%

University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez

5.3%

Pennsylvania State University

5.3%

University of Notre Dame

5.3%

Saint Louis University-

4.4%

Ferris State University

4.4%

Texas A&M University

4.4%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

4.4%

University of California - Davis

4.4%

University of Phoenix

4.4%

Purdue University

4.4%

Drexel University

4.4%

Northeastern University

4.4%

Wayne State University

3.5%

Michigan State University

3.5%

Macomb Community College

3.5%
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Majors

Civil Engineering

25.0%

Mechanical Engineering

14.4%

Construction Management

11.0%

Business

9.9%

Electrical Engineering

6.4%

Drafting And Design

3.6%

Engineering

3.6%

Construction Engineering Technologies

2.5%

Management

2.3%

Project Management

2.3%

Construction Engineering

2.3%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.3%

Property Management

2.1%

Industrial Technology

2.0%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.8%

Architecture

1.8%

Finance

1.8%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.8%

Industrial Engineering

1.6%

Civil Engineering Technologies

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

53.5%

Masters

17.4%

Other

15.7%

Associate

7.5%

Certificate

3.8%

Doctorate

1.1%

Diploma

0.9%

License

0.1%
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Real Engineer/Estimator Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Estimation Engineer (In-House Job Title: Lead Estimator) Chiyoda International Corporation Houston, TX Nov 16, 2015 $241,500
Estimating Engineer Turner Construction Company New York, NY May 01, 2015 $137,848
Estimator Engineer Honeywell International Inc. San Bruno, CA Dec 15, 2016 $110,000
Estimating Engineer Skanska USA Building, Inc. Tampa, FL Dec 13, 2014 $95,746
Estimating Engineer Plant/Allison Corporation San Francisco, CA Oct 30, 2014 $95,000
Engineering R&D Estimator Altair Productdesign, Inc. Troy, MI Jun 05, 2016 $91,811
Estimating Engineer The Turner Corporation Philadelphia, PA May 17, 2012 $88,642
Estimating Engineer Turner Construction Company Somerset, NJ Mar 30, 2013 $86,896
Estimating Engineer Permasteelisa North America Corp. New York, NY Dec 20, 2012 $85,000
Estimating Engineer Permasteelisa North America Corp. Windsor, CT Aug 15, 2015 $85,000
Estimating Engineer Permasteelisa North America Corp. Windsor, CT May 25, 2011 $85,000
Estimating Engineer Permasteelisa North America Corp. Windsor, CT Apr 10, 2011 $85,000
Estimating Engineer Permasteelisa North America Corporation Windsor, CT Oct 08, 2009 $85,000
Estimating Engineer Permasteelisa North America Corporation New York, NY Apr 01, 2010 $85,000
Estimating Engineer Turner Construction Company New York, NY Sep 28, 2011 $81,000
Estimating Engineer PMA Consultants LLC New York, NY Mar 21, 2016 $77,126
Estimating Engineer PMA Consultants LLC New York, NY Sep 17, 2015 $77,126
Estimating Engineer Turner Construction Company Somerset, NJ Mar 30, 2010 $76,800
Engineer/Estimator Honeywell International Inc. Morristown, NJ Sep 23, 2015 $75,000
Engineering R&D Estimator Altair Productdesign, Inc. Auburn Hills, MI Sep 01, 2015 $74,694
Estimating Engineer (Senior Engineer) PMA Consultants, LLC New York, NY Oct 01, 2014 $74,360
Estimating Engineer Turner Construction Company New York, NY Sep 22, 2010 $73,968
Seismic Engineering Estimator Gripple, Inc. Aurora, IL Sep 15, 2015 $69,534 -
$80,000
Estimator Engineer R&L Brosamer, Inc. Walnut Creek, CA Oct 01, 2012 $69,000
Estimator Engineer Honeywell International Inc. La Palma, CA Oct 01, 2012 $67,701
Estimation Engineer Energy International Corporation Canton, MI Sep 30, 2015 $66,248
Estimating Engineer Skanska Building USA Dania Beach, FL Jun 13, 2008 $65,686
Estimating Engineer Gulf Interstate Engineering Company Houston, TX Jan 09, 2016 $65,219
Estimating Engineer Ohmstede Ltd. Beaumont, TX Sep 02, 2015 $65,000
Estimating Engineer Gulf Interstate Engineering Company Houston, TX Sep 05, 2015 $65,000

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Top Skills for An Engineer/Estimator

ContractAdministrationQuantityTake-OffsCADCostEstimatesSafetyScopeRFIConstructionProjectsProjectManagementHvacFacilityShopDrawingsJobSiteProjectSchedulesCostAnalysisSubmittalDocumentControlRFQRFPBOM

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Top Engineer/Estimator Skills

  1. Contract Administration
  2. Quantity Take-Offs
  3. CAD
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Coordinated design, bids and contract administration on infrastructure projects totaling $4.0 million for Hickory Highlands commercial and residential developments.
  • Performed quantity take-offs of materials and equipment.
  • Use AutoCAD, Microsoft Office, Excel to generate drawings and cut-lists.
  • Prepare cost estimates for Residential and Commercial Building Projects, using construction plans to analyze project budgets and spending.
  • Monitored and notified general contractor of construction delays, safety violations, and work inconsistent with design specifications.

Top Engineer/Estimator Employers

Engineer/Estimator Videos

A Career in Civil Engineering (JTJS22008)

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