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Become A Project Designer

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Working As A Project Designer

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • $65,095

    Average Salary

What Does A Project Designer 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 Project Designer

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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Project Designer Jobs

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Project Designer Career Paths

Project Designer
Construction Manager Construction Administrator Project Architect
Assistant Construction Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Project Manager/Design Manager Project Manager Construction Manager
Capital Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Project Controls Engineer
Controls Project Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Lead Designer Design Engineer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Director Of Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Construction Manager Production Supervisor Senior Manufacturing Engineer
Engineering Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Operations Manager Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager/Design Manager Architect Interior Designer
Interior Designer/Project Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Interior Designer Project Coordinator Project Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Estimator Project Manager
Owner/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Design Project Mechanical Engineer Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Architect Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Project Executive
9 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Design Manager
Project Manager/Design Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Interior Designer Office Manager Property Manager
Real Estate Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Design Project Engineer Construction Manager
Regional Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager
Senior Construction Manager
14 Yearsyrs
Project Architect Project Manager/Design Manager
Senior Designer/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Project Designer?

Project Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

62.7%

Female

30.7%

Unknown

6.5%
Ethnicity

White

53.4%

Asian

16.9%

Hispanic or Latino

15.9%

Black or African American

9.3%

Unknown

4.4%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

37.9%

Chinese

10.5%

Mandarin

10.0%

French

9.5%

Korean

4.2%

Italian

4.2%

Portuguese

3.2%

German

3.2%

Cantonese

2.6%

Arabic

2.6%

Hindi

2.1%

Japanese

2.1%

Filipino

1.6%

Urdu

1.6%

Hebrew

1.1%

Carrier

1.1%

Tagalog

1.1%

Telugu

0.5%

Vietnamese

0.5%

Dutch

0.5%
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Project Designer Education

Schools

University of Florida

8.1%

Iowa State University

6.5%

Ohio State University

6.0%

Cornell University

6.0%

Arizona State University

5.6%

University of Houston

5.6%

Purdue University

5.6%

Syracuse University

5.2%

University of Texas at Arlington

5.2%

Pennsylvania State University

5.2%

Savannah College of Art and Design

4.8%

Lawrence Technological University

4.4%

University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez

4.0%

University of Pennsylvania

4.0%

Carnegie Mellon University

4.0%

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

4.0%

Drexel University

4.0%

University of California - Los Angeles

4.0%

San Jose State University

3.6%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

3.6%
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Majors

Architecture

18.3%

Mechanical Engineering

15.0%

Interior Design

10.8%

Drafting And Design

7.6%

Electrical Engineering

7.1%

Graphic Design

5.8%

Civil Engineering

5.2%

Business

5.0%

Environmental Design

3.3%

Engineering

2.4%

Landscape Architecture

2.4%

Fine Arts

2.3%

Chemical Engineering

2.3%

Construction Management

2.0%

Biomedical Engineering

2.0%

Computer Engineering

2.0%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.8%

Computer Science

1.7%

Project Management

1.6%

Interior Architecture

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

47.6%

Masters

23.7%

Other

15.5%

Associate

8.2%

Certificate

3.0%

Doctorate

1.0%

Diploma

0.9%

License

0.1%
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Real Project Designer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Service Designer, Project Management Autodesk, Inc. San Rafael, CA Aug 31, 2016 $146,837
Project Designer Celtra, Inc. New York, NY Dec 21, 2016 $110,000
Project Development Electronic Technological Designer Textronic Inc. Miami, FL Oct 22, 2015 $97,000
Project Designer Celtra, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 11, 2015 $95,000
Project Designer Goldstein Hill & West Architects, LLP New York, NY Mar 16, 2016 $94,000
Project Designer The Assembly Design Studio, Inc. San Francisco, CA Nov 07, 2016 $90,000
Project Designer Perkins + Will, Inc. Boston, MA Sep 10, 2015 $90,000
Project Designer Nicolehollis Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 15, 2015 $85,000
Architectural Project Designer Cava Construction and Development Inc. New York, NY Jan 22, 2015 $85,000
Project Designer Kbrny Inc. New York, NY Nov 22, 2016 $84,698
Special Projects Designer Stripe, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 24, 2015 $84,261
Intermediate Architect/Designer-Project/Sustainable Design NBBJ LLC Columbus, OH Mar 19, 2015 $68,000
Project Designer Alexandra Champalimaud & Associate Inc. New York, NY Jan 23, 2015 $68,000
Project Designer Archilier Inc. New York, NY Sep 18, 2015 $67,746
Project Designer KFA, LLP Santa Monica, CA Oct 25, 2016 $66,000
Project Designer Laguarda Low Architects New York, NY Dec 04, 2016 $65,790
Project Designer Odell Associates Inc. Charlotte, NC Aug 24, 2015 $65,208
Project Designer Shenton Architects LLP New York, NY Sep 09, 2015 $65,000
Project Designer Coen + Partners Inc. Minneapolis, MN Nov 04, 2016 $65,000
Project Designer The Gilmore Group, LLC New York, NY Jun 11, 2015 $54,101
Architectural Project Designer Ellumus LLC Bellevue, WA Sep 07, 2015 $54,000
Architectural Project Designer Ellumus LLC Bellevue, WA Sep 01, 2015 $54,000
Project Designer Leeser Architecture, PLLC New York, NY Aug 31, 2016 $54,000
Architectural Project Designer Ellumus LLC Bellevue, WA Jul 09, 2015 $54,000
Project Designer MacIntosh Engineering, Inc. Wayne, PA Jul 25, 2016 $53,500
Project Designer Gibson-Thomas Engineering Co., Inc. Camp Hill, PA Jul 09, 2016 $53,498

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Top Skills for A Project Designer

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  1. New Construction
  2. CAD
  3. Layout
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Designed and managed high-end residential new construction and rehabilitation projects of varied scopes for a mid-size architectural firm.
  • Created/Revised fabrication drawings/assemblies utilizing UniGraphics 3D CAD software.
  • Performed design upgrades and graphical layout improvements to a Computer Science education-related website.
  • Reviewed architectural drawings for compliance to the current U.C.C., BOCA and IBC or IRC, plus ADA code requirements.
  • Project Management / Design Oversaw planning, architectural design, and construction document preparation along with project management operations.

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Top Project Designer Employers

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