Civil engineers design and supervise large construction projects, including roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and systems for water supply and sewage treatment.
Typical Duties of a Civil Engineer:
- Analyze survey reports, maps, and other data to plan projects
- Consider construction costs, government regulations, potential environmental hazards, and other factors in planning stages
- Test soils 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
- Oversee, or participate in, surveying to establish reference points, grades, and elevations to guide construction
- Present findings to the public on topics such as bid proposals, environmental impact statements, or property descriptions
Many civil engineers hold supervisory or administrative positions ranging from supervisor of a construction site to city engineer. Others work in design, construction, research, and teaching. They work with others on projects and may be assisted by civil engineering technicians and technologists.
The federal government employs about 12,100 civil engineers to perform many of the same duties performed in private industry, except that federally employed civil engineers may also inspect projects to be sure they comply with regulations.
The median annual wage of civil engineers was $77,560 in May 2010. The top 10 percent earned more than $119,320, and the lowest 10 percent earned less than $50,560.
Median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of civil engineers in May 2010 were as follows:
|Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services||$76,620|
|Nonresidential Building Construction||$76,120|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.