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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
Top Careers Before Professional Engineer
Top Careers After Professional Engineer
Hispanic or Latino12.9%
Black or African American1.1%
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University of Florida9.1%
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute8.2%
University of Central Florida7.3%
Pennsylvania State University7.3%
University of Utah5.5%
University of Tennessee - Knoxville4.5%
University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez4.5%
Michigan State University4.5%
University of Oklahoma4.5%
Louisiana State University and A&M College3.6%
University of South Florida3.6%
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology3.6%
Mississippi State University3.6%
Georgia Institute of Technology -3.6%
Iowa State University3.6%
University of Pittsburgh -3.6%
Texas A&M University3.6%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Professional RAN Engineer||at&T Mobility Services LLC||Bedminster, NJ||Oct 03, 2015||$116,158|
|Characterization Engineering Professional||IBM Corporation||Hopewell Junction, NY||Jan 14, 2013||$114,000|
|Professional-RAN Engineer||at&T Mobility Services, LLC||Morristown, NJ||Oct 01, 2014||$112,793|
|Professional-Ran Engineer||at&T Mobility Services LLC||Bedminster, NJ||Oct 31, 2014||$112,793|
|Professional-Ran Engineer||at&T Mobility Services LLC||Bedminster, NJ||Jul 28, 2014||$110,993|
|Professional RAN Engineer||at&T Mobility Services LLC||San Francisco, CA||Dec 23, 2016||$109,752|
|Professional RAN Engineer||at&T Mobility Services LLC||San Ramon, CA||Apr 19, 2016||$109,752|
|Professional-Ran Engineer||at&T Mobility Services LLC||Morristown, NJ||Aug 15, 2013||$108,785|
|Professional RAN Engineer||at&T Mobility Services LLC||Cerritos, CA||Apr 19, 2013||$106,350|
|Professional-Ran Engineer||at&T Services, Inc.||Rocky Hill, CT||Sep 21, 2015||$103,064|
|Professional RAN Engineer||at&T Mobility Services LLC||San Diego, CA||May 08, 2015||$102,314|
|Professional RAN Engineer||at&T Mobility Services LLC||Southfield, MI||Oct 30, 2016||$100,910|
|Professional-RAN Engineer||at&T Mobility Services LLC||San Ramon, CA||Jun 01, 2013||$100,907|
|Professional-Ran Engineer||at&T Mobility Services LLC||Schaumburg, IL||Oct 01, 2014||$100,143|
|Professional-Ran Engineer||at&T Mobility Services LLC||Raleigh, NC||Sep 13, 2013||$95,516|
|Professional-RAN Engineer||at&T Mobility Services LLC||San Ramon, CA||Sep 10, 2013||$95,020|
|Professional-RAN Engineer||at&T Mobility Services LLC||Pleasanton, CA||Mar 14, 2013||$92,027|
|Professional-RAN Engineer||at&T Mobility Services LLC||Oklahoma City, OK||Jul 29, 2013||$92,000|
|Professional RAN Engineer||at&T Mobility Services LLC||Milwaukee, WI||Feb 25, 2013||$91,147|
|SR. Technical Professional-Engineering Safety||KBR, Inc.||Birmingham, AL||Oct 01, 2013||$87,360|
|Professional RAN Engineer||at&T Mobility Services LLC||Schaumburg, IL||Jan 22, 2013||$87,175|
|Professional RAN Engineer||at&T, Inc., and All of Its Subsidiaries and Affiliates||Baton Rouge, LA||Jun 19, 2015||$78,890|
|Professional RAN Engineer||at&T Mobility Services LLC||Atlanta, GA||Jan 20, 2015||$78,849|
|Technical Professional-Engineering/Petrophysical Applications, SR.||Halliburton Energy Services, Inc.||Houston, TX||Mar 03, 2015||$78,382|
|Engineering Professional||Federal Home Loan Mortgage Co.||Reston, VA||Jul 08, 2013||$77,500 -
|Engineering Professional||Federal Home Loan Mortgage Co.||Reston, VA||Jan 06, 2014||$77,000 -
|Staff Professional, Engineer II||Fugro Consultants, Inc.||Houston, TX||Sep 03, 2016||$76,794|
|Staff Professional, Engineer II||Fugro Consultants, Inc.||Houston, TX||Mar 09, 2016||$76,794|
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