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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 Water/Wastewater Engineer
Top Careers After Water/Wastewater Engineer
Hispanic or Latino5.3%
Black or African American1.3%
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Johns Hopkins University9.1%
University of Arizona9.1%
Michigan Technological University4.5%
Massachusetts Institute of Technology4.5%
University of Florida4.5%
Colorado Heights University4.5%
Spokane Community College4.5%
Southeast Missouri State University4.5%
Johnson County Community College4.5%
Otero Junior College4.5%
Ohio State University4.5%
Santa Fe Community College4.5%
Community College of the Air Force4.5%
University of Texas at Austin4.5%
University of Nevada - Las Vegas4.5%
Saint Cloud State University4.5%
Southeastern Illinois College4.5%
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville4.5%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Water and Wastewater Engineer||EBA Engineering, Inc.||Laurel, MD||Aug 25, 2016||$104,000|
|Senior Designer .01 Water/Wastewater Engineer)||Dewberry Engineers Inc.||New York, NY||Dec 31, 2015||$97,011|
|Senior Designer .01 Water/Wastewater Engineer)||Dewberry Consultants, LLC||New York, NY||Dec 31, 2015||$97,011|
|Water/Wastewater Engineer 4||Black & Veatch Corporation||Kansas City, MO||Mar 09, 2015||$95,451|
|Water/Wastewater Engineer||Carollo Engineers, Inc.||San Diego, CA||Oct 31, 2011||$90,847|
|Water/Wastewater Engineer||Carollo Engineers, P.C.||San Diego, CA||Nov 30, 2009||$89,100|
|Water/Wastewater Engineer||Carollo Engineers, P.C.||San Diego, CA||Nov 25, 2009||$89,100|
|SR. Water/Wastewater Engineer||URS Corporation||Morrisville, NC||Feb 08, 2015||$87,341|
|Water/Wastewater Engineer||HDR Engineering, Inc.||Portland, OR||Feb 19, 2015||$84,781|
|Industrial Water/Wastewater Engineer||URS Corporation||Baton Rouge, LA||Aug 31, 2014||$84,565|
|Water and Wastewater Engineer||EBA Engineering, Inc.||Laurel, MD||Nov 05, 2013||$84,240|
|Water/Wastewater Engineer||Aecom Technical Services, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Dec 17, 2012||$82,909 -
|Senior Water/Wastewater Engineer||URS Corporation||Morrisville, NC||Feb 08, 2012||$80,475|
|Water/Wastewater Engineer||Entech Engineering P.C||New York, NY||Nov 25, 2015||$78,400 -
|Water/Wastewater Engineer||Carollo Engineers, Inc.||Walnut Creek, CA||Sep 21, 2010||$77,970|
|Water/Wastewater Engineer||Carollo Engineers, Inc.||Fountain Valley, CA||Aug 28, 2010||$75,862|
|Water/Wastewater Engineer 4||Black & Veatch Corporation||Kansas City, MO||Sep 03, 2015||$74,085 -
|Water/Wastewater Designer||HDR Engineering, Inc.||Cleveland, OH||Dec 05, 2011||$73,840|
|Water/Wastewater Designer||HDR Engineering, Inc.||Omaha, NE||May 10, 2011||$73,840|
|Water/Wastewater Engineer||HDR Engineering, Inc.||Dallas, TX||Sep 15, 2010||$73,840|
|Engineer-Water/Wastewater||Aecom Technical Services, Inc.||Atlanta, GA||May 02, 2012||$65,354 -
|Water/Wastewater Engineer In Training (EIT)||HDR Engineering, Inc.||Bellevue, WA||Oct 09, 2013||$65,000|
|Water/Wastewater Engineer||Ema, Inc.||Gig Harbor, WA||Sep 22, 2016||$65,000|
|Water/Wastewater Engineer In Training (EIT)||HDR Engineering, Inc.||Bellevue, WA||Sep 10, 2013||$65,000|
|Engineer-Water/Wastewater (Staff Professional III||Aecom Technical Services, Inc.||Miami, FL||Dec 20, 2010||$64,854|
|Water/Wastewater Engineer||Carollo Engineers, Inc.||Fresno, CA||Sep 05, 2013||$62,923|
|Water/Wastewater Engineer||Westland Resources, Inc.||Tucson, AZ||Oct 01, 2009||$62,000|
|Water/Wastewater Engineer In Training (EIT)||HDR Engineering, Inc.||Lees Summit, MO||Nov 09, 2016||$62,000|
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