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Become A Transportation Engineer

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Working As A Transportation Engineer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $85,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Transportation Engineer 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 Transportation Engineer

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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Transportation Engineer Career Paths

Transportation Engineer
Project Manager General Manager Owner/Operator
Construction Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Owner/Operator Construction Manager
Senior Construction Manager
14 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Purchasing Manager Operations Manager
Operations Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Senior Engineer Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Engineering Manager Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Senior Software Engineer Lead Technician
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Senior Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Transportation Planner Operations Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Manager, Project Management
9 Yearsyrs
Transportation Planner Logistics Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Engineering Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Transportation Planner Transportation Supervisor Maintenance Supervisor
Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Structures Engineer Mechanical Engineer Senior Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Structures Engineer Project Engineering Manager Construction Manager
Capital Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Structures Engineer Mechanical Engineer Project Lead Engineer
Lead Engineer And Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Construction Manager Owner Construction Superintendent
Land Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Consultant Senior Consultant Senior Database Administrator
Manager Data Services
8 Yearsyrs
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Transportation Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

69.2%

Female

19.0%

Unknown

11.8%
Ethnicity

White

53.9%

Hispanic or Latino

14.4%

Asian

13.9%

Black or African American

11.0%

Unknown

6.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

31.1%

Carrier

16.4%

Turkish

4.9%

German

4.9%

French

4.9%

Mandarin

4.9%

Arabic

4.9%

Chinese

3.3%

Japanese

3.3%

Urdu

3.3%

Hindi

3.3%

Swedish

1.6%

Portuguese

1.6%

Kurdish

1.6%

Dakota

1.6%

Korean

1.6%

Persian

1.6%

Thai

1.6%

Italian

1.6%

Czech

1.6%
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Transportation Engineer Education

Schools

University of Maryland - College Park

7.1%

North Carolina State University

7.1%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

6.2%

Morgan State University

5.7%

Brigham Young University

5.2%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

5.2%

Pennsylvania State University

5.2%

Texas A&M University

5.2%

Old Dominion University

5.2%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

5.2%

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

4.8%

George Mason University

4.8%

Florida International University

4.8%

University of Connecticut

4.3%

University of Washington

4.3%

University of Phoenix

4.3%

University of South Florida

3.8%

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

3.8%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.8%

Purdue University

3.8%
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Majors

Civil Engineering

53.6%

Business

10.9%

Electrical Engineering

9.0%

Engineering

2.8%

Computer Networking

2.5%

Computer Science

2.1%

Project Management

2.1%

Mechanical Engineering

1.9%

General Studies

1.7%

Management

1.7%

Civil Engineering Technologies

1.7%

Computer Information Systems

1.6%

Construction Management

1.6%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.4%

Telecommunications Management

1.2%

Supply Chain Management

1.0%

Urban Planning

0.8%

Industrial Engineering

0.8%

Criminal Justice

0.8%

Law

0.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.5%

Masters

26.2%

Other

14.7%

Associate

5.7%

Doctorate

4.5%

Certificate

2.5%

Diploma

0.9%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$85,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$60,000
Min 10%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$120,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Google
Highest Paying City
San Jose, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
4.0 years
How much does a Transportation Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Transportation Engineer in the United States is $85,189 per year or $41 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $60,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $120,000.

Real Transportation Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Transportation Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Feb 09, 2016 $138,195
Network Transport Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Dec 22, 2016 $137,550
Transportation Engineer (Civil), Range D Analyzer International Inc. Thousand Oaks, CA May 22, 2015 $133,765
Transportation Engineer (Civil), Range D Analyzer International Inc. Thousand Oaks, CA Sep 26, 2015 $133,765
Senior Transportation Engineer AMC Consulting Engineers, Inc. San Francisco, CA May 15, 2015 $125,050
Supervising Engineer, Transportation Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc. Orange, CA Jun 09, 2016 $125,008
Transportation Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 16, 2016 $123,600
Senior Transport Engineer Dockwise Engineering Services, LLC Houston, TX Jan 12, 2015 $120,000
Supervising Engineer, Transportation Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc. Orange, CA Jun 09, 2016 $115,003
Supervising Engineer, Transportation Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc. Orange, CA May 09, 2016 $115,003
Lead Transportation Engineer Scoop Technologies, Inc. San Francisco, CA Apr 09, 2016 $115,000
Transportation Engineer Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc. Tampa, FL Sep 01, 2015 $113,303
Transportation Engineer/Project Manager HDR Engineering, Inc. Las Vegas, NV Jul 06, 2015 $112,000
Senior Transportation Engineer Rs&H, Inc. Alexandria, VA May 19, 2016 $110,011
Surface and Transportation Engineer Burgess & Niple, Inc. Columbus, OH Jan 14, 2015 $87,000 -
$100,000
Transportation Engineer Rajappan & Meyer Consulting Engineers, Inc. San Jose, CA Jun 30, 2015 $86,237
Transportation Engineer/Travel Forecaster Connetics Transportation Group Inc. Lake Mary, FL Jan 03, 2016 $85,567 -
$87,654
Transportation Engineer (Civil) California Department of Transportation Oakland, CA Jan 14, 2016 $85,500 -
$106,980
Transportation Engineer The Transpo Group, Inc. Kirkland, WA Oct 01, 2015 $85,000 -
$95,000
Transportation Engineer Transpo Group USA Incorporated Kirkland, WA Oct 01, 2015 $85,000 -
$95,000
Senior Transportation Engineer Transcore Its, LLC Norcross, GA Mar 30, 2015 $84,472
Transportation Fulfillment Engineer. Newgistics, Inc. Austin, TX Jan 25, 2016 $84,000
Transportation Engineer Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. Raleigh, NC Nov 24, 2016 $72,883
Engineer I, Transportation Aecom Technical Services, Inc. Miami, FL Feb 26, 2016 $72,592
Transportation Engineer Metropia, Inc. Tucson, AZ Jun 28, 2016 $72,363
Transportation Engineer Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc. Tampa, FL Dec 10, 2015 $72,315
Transportation Engineer Atlantic Ro-Ro Carriers of Texas, Inc. Houston, TX Sep 07, 2015 $72,231
Transportation and Modeling Engineer Citilabs, Inc. Tallahassee, FL Oct 01, 2015 $72,000
Transportation Engineer C&M Associates, Inc. Dallas, TX Aug 30, 2015 $71,500
Transportation Engineer Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Washington, DC May 01, 2015 $70,679

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Top Skills for A Transportation Engineer

  1. Roadway Design
  2. Drainage Design
  3. Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed quantity calculations for roadway design.
  • Designed and provided technical assistance in drainage design, resolution of drainage complaints, hydraulics evaluations and other hydrology matters.
  • Create system support documentation including instructional procedures, provisioning guidelines, test plans, problem documentation and functional process flows.
  • Conducted manual traffic counts and performed capacity analysis and level of services for existing, no build and build scenarios.
  • Designed construction plans, cross sections and traffic control plans on several bridge replacement projects for PennDOT.

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Top 10 Best States for Transportation Engineers

  1. Alaska
  2. California
  3. Nevada
  4. Louisiana
  5. Washington
  6. Connecticut
  7. New York
  8. New Jersey
  9. District of Columbia
  10. Illinois
  • (49 jobs)
  • (2,692 jobs)
  • (130 jobs)
  • (137 jobs)
  • (640 jobs)
  • (263 jobs)
  • (809 jobs)
  • (383 jobs)
  • (218 jobs)
  • (598 jobs)

Top Transportation Engineer Employers

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Transportation Engineering Workshop by Civil Simplified

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