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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 Structural Design Engineer
Top Careers After Structural Design Engineer
Hispanic or Latino10.3%
Black or African American1.3%
Structural Design Engineer
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Wichita State University14.9%
University of Southern California7.5%
Washington State University6.8%
University of Houston5.6%
Wayne State University5.0%
University of Florida4.3%
Arizona State University4.3%
University of Washington4.3%
Georgia Institute of Technology -4.3%
University of Texas at Austin4.3%
University of Texas at Arlington3.7%
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign3.7%
Missouri University of Science and Technology3.7%
University of Colorado at Boulder3.7%
Pennsylvania State University3.7%
University of Pittsburgh -3.7%
University of Kansas3.7%
Tennessee Technological University3.7%
Structural Design Engineer
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Principal Structural Design Engineer||Air Resources Americas LLC||Houston, TX||Jul 22, 2013||$340,000 -
|Civil & Structural Design Engineer||NES Global, LLC||New Orleans, LA||Dec 29, 2014||$158,000|
|Junior Pdms Structural Design Engineer||NES Global, LLC||Houston, TX||Apr 29, 2013||$150,000|
|Structural & Payloads Design Engineer||Volt Management Corp||Long Beach, CA||Jan 08, 2015||$140,142|
|SR. Structural Design Engineer||Hi-TEK Professionals, Inc.||Wichita, KS||May 28, 2014||$136,000|
|Structural Design & Integration Engineer||Can-Am Consultants, Inc.||Wichita, KS||Oct 01, 2015||$133,422|
|SR. Structural Design Engineer||International Plant Services, LLC||La Porte, TX||Jan 22, 2015||$126,464|
|Structural & Payloads Design Engineer 3||Volt Management Corp||Long Beach, CA||Jan 08, 2015||$121,213|
|Structural & Payloads Design Engineer 3||Volt Management Corp||Long Beach, CA||Jan 08, 2015||$121,150|
|Structural Design Engineers||CTS Technical Services, Inc.||Savannah, GA||Aug 09, 2016||$119,101|
|Structural Design Engineers||CTS Technical Services, Inc.||Savannah, GA||Oct 20, 2016||$119,101|
|Technical Specialist I Structural Design Engineer||Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation||Savannah, GA||Sep 23, 2015||$118,955|
|Structural Design Engineer||The Boeing Company||Everett, WA||Feb 18, 2015||$118,747 -
|Structural & Payload Design Engineer||CTS Technical Services, Inc.||Ladson, SC||Apr 01, 2015||$105,644 -
|Intermediate Structural Design Engineer Composite||Fokker Aerostructures, Inc.||Mukilteo, WA||Feb 01, 2014||$105,000 -
|Structural Design Engineer (Payloads)||CTS Technical Services, Inc.||Everett, WA||Aug 01, 2014||$102,263|
|Structural Design Engineer||CTS Technical Services, Inc.||Tukwila, WA||Sep 11, 2014||$102,263|
|Structural/Design Engineer II||John Zink Company, LLC||Tulsa, OK||Aug 03, 2016||$99,466|
|Structural Design Engineer||The Boeing Company||Everett, WA||Nov 26, 2016||$97,698 -
|Structural & Payloads Design Engineer||Volt Management Corp||North Charleston, SC||Dec 13, 2013||$97,567|
|Structural Design Engineer||John Zink Company, LLC||Tulsa, OK||Nov 20, 2015||$75,000|
|Structural Design Engineer IV||Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Inc.||Seattle, WA||Aug 23, 2014||$74,700|
|Structural Design Engineer III||Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Inc.||Seattle, WA||Aug 23, 2014||$74,700|
|Structural Design Engineer III||Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Inc.||Seattle, WA||Apr 28, 2015||$74,672|
|Intermediate Structural Design Engineer||Fokker Aerostructures, Inc.||Mukilteo, WA||May 30, 2015||$74,570 -
|Structural Design Engineer||David Mar Structural Design Studio, Inc.||Berkeley, CA||Mar 16, 2015||$74,290|
|Structural Design Engineer||L&T Technology Services Limited||Suffolk, VA||Nov 21, 2016||$73,029 -
|Structural Steel Connection Design Engineer||Meyer, Borgman & Johnson, Inc.||Minneapolis, MN||Jan 11, 2016||$72,238|
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