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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
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.
Average Length of Employment
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Hispanic or Latino15.4%
Black or African American0.7%
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Boston Architectural College9.0%
Lawrence Technological University6.7%
Arizona State University6.0%
New Jersey Institute of Technology6.0%
University of Illinois at Chicago5.2%
University of California - Los Angeles5.2%
University of Houston5.2%
Wentworth Institute of Technology5.2%
University of Washington4.5%
University of Arizona4.5%
Ohio State University4.5%
Savannah College of Art and Design3.7%
California State Polytechnic University - Pomona3.7%
New York University3.7%
University of California - Berkeley3.7%
University of Southern California3.7%
University of Pennsylvania3.7%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Job Captain (Architecture)||Fairfax & Sammons Architects, PC||New York, NY||Sep 19, 2011||$104,000|
|Job Captain||Fairfax & Sammons Architects, PC||New York, NY||Apr 24, 2010||$104,000|
|Job Captain (JR. Architect/Jr. Project Manager)||Robinson Mills & Williams||Sacramento, CA||Jan 15, 2014||$90,000|
|Job Captain||McCall Design Group||San Francisco, CA||Jan 03, 2010||$82,270|
|Project Designer/Job Captain||Studio O+A, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Jul 06, 2015||$82,000|
|Project Designer/Job Captain||Studio O+A, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Jul 13, 2015||$82,000|
|Job Captain||Lessard Group, Inc.||Vienna, VA||Nov 10, 2009||$80,000|
|Job Captain||MVE + Partners, Inc.||Irvine, CA||Sep 24, 2016||$77,040|
|Job Captain||M. Arthur Gensler, Jr. & Associates, Inc.||New York, NY||Feb 10, 2013||$77,000 -
|Job Captain||M. Arthur Gensler, Jr. & Associates, Inc.||New York, NY||Oct 02, 2013||$77,000 -
|Job Captain||M. Arthur Gensler, Jr. & Associates, Inc.||New York, NY||Oct 01, 2010||$76,280|
|Job Captain||Fxfowle Architects LLP||New York, NY||Nov 28, 2016||$75,000|
|Job Captain||HKS, Inc.||Los Angeles, CA||Aug 29, 2016||$74,000|
|Job Captain||M. Arthur Gensler, Jr. &Amp; Associates, Inc.||New York, NY||Jan 31, 2012||$69,368 -
|Job Captain||Massa Multimedia Architecture PC||Neptune, NJ||Nov 01, 2016||$68,000|
|Job Captain||Curtain Wall Design & Consulting, Inc.||Dallas, TX||Oct 01, 2012||$66,000|
|Job Captain||Massa Multimedia Architecture PC||Neptune, NJ||Mar 10, 2016||$65,000|
|Job Captain||M. Arthur Gensler, Jr. & Associates, Inc.||New York, NY||Jan 02, 2010||$64,800|
|Job Captain||Holscher Architecture Inc.||Belvedere, CA||Oct 01, 2013||$64,697|
|Job Captain||HKS, Inc.||Los Angeles, CA||Apr 19, 2013||$64,000|
|Job Captain||The Preston Partnership, LLC||Vienna, VA||Sep 01, 2014||$57,886 -
|Job Captain||M. Arthur Gensler, Jr. &Amp; Associates, Inc.||Santa Monica, CA||Aug 29, 2011||$57,678 -
|Job Captain (Architecture)||SVA Architects, Incorporated||Santa Ana, CA||Jun 01, 2015||$57,000|
|Job Captain||HMC Group DBA HMC Architects||Pasadena, CA||Oct 09, 2007||$56,968|
|Job Captain||Holscher Architecture Inc.||Belvedere, CA||Sep 15, 2010||$56,850 -
|Job Captain||Holscher Architecture||Belvedere, CA||Aug 15, 2010||$56,850 -
|Job Captain||The Preston Partnership, LLC.||Bethesda, MD||Sep 01, 2011||$56,000|
|Job Captain||The Preston Partnership, LLC.||Vienna, VA||Nov 05, 2012||$56,000|
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