Civil Engineers
17-2051.00

Perform engineering duties in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of building structures and facilities, such as roads, railroads, airports, bridges, harbors, channels, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, power plants, and water and sewage systems.

Sample of reported job titles: City Engineer, Civil Engineer, County Engineer, Design Engineer, Engineer, Geotechnical Engineer, Licensed Engineer, Project Engineer, Railroad Design Consultant, Structural Engineer

Also see: Transportation Engineers, Water/Wastewater Engineers

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Direct engineering activities, ensuring compliance with environmental, safety, or other governmental regulations.
  • Manage and direct the construction, operations, or maintenance activities at project site.
  • Inspect project sites to monitor progress and ensure conformance to design specifications and safety or sanitation standards.
  • Compute load and grade requirements, water flow rates, or material stress factors to determine design specifications.
  • Plan and design transportation or hydraulic systems or structures, using computer-assisted design or drawing tools.
  • Provide technical advice to industrial or managerial personnel regarding design, construction, program modifications, or structural repairs.
  • Analyze survey reports, maps, drawings, blueprints, aerial photography, or other topographical or geologic data.
  • Direct or participate in surveying to lay out installations or establish reference points, grades, or elevations to guide construction.
  • Estimate quantities and cost of materials, equipment, or labor to determine project feasibility.
  • Prepare or present public reports on topics such as bid proposals, deeds, environmental impact statements, or property and right-of-way descriptions.
  • Design energy-efficient or environmentally sound civil structures.
  • Test soils or materials to determine the adequacy and strength of foundations, concrete, asphalt, or steel.
  • Identify environmental risks and develop risk management strategies for civil engineering projects.
  • Conduct studies of traffic patterns or environmental conditions to identify engineering problems and assess potential project impact.
  • Analyze manufacturing processes or byproducts to identify engineering solutions to minimize the output of carbon or other pollutants.
  • Develop or implement engineering solutions to clean up industrial accidents or other contaminated sites.
  • Design or engineer systems to efficiently dispose of chemical, biological, or other toxic wastes.

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Technology Skills

  • Analytical or scientific software — Dassault Systemes Abaqus; HEC-HMS; Minitab; The MathWorks MATLAB Hot technology ; 7 more
  • Business intelligence and data analysis software — Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition
  • Calendar and scheduling software — Scheduling software
  • Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D In-Demand Hot technology ; Autodesk Revit In-Demand Hot technology ; Bentley MicroStation In-Demand Hot technology ; Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Hot technology ; 16 more
  • Data base user interface and query software — Microsoft Access Hot technology
  • Development environment software — C Hot technology ; Microsoft Visual Basic Hot technology ; National Instruments LabVIEW; Verilog; 1 more
  • Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat Hot technology
  • Electronic mail software — Email software; Microsoft Exchange; Microsoft Outlook In-Demand Hot technology
  • Enterprise application integration software — Extensible markup language XML Hot technology
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software — Microsoft Dynamics Hot technology ; Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne; SAP software Hot technology
  • File versioning software — Apache Subversion SVN Hot technology
  • Geographic information system — ESRI ArcGIS software Hot technology ; ESRI ArcInfo; ESRI ArcView; Geographic information system GIS software
  • Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Fireworks; Bentley GeoPak Bridge; SmugMug Flickr; Trimble SketchUp Pro Hot technology ; 1 more
  • Industrial control software — Supervisory control and data acquisition SCADA software
  • Internet browser software — Microsoft Internet Explorer; Web browser software
  • Map creation software — Cartography software; Intergraph MGE
  • Object or component oriented development software — Microsoft ActiveX
  • Office suite software — Corel WordPerfect Office Suite; Microsoft Office software In-Demand Hot technology
  • Operating system software — Shell script Hot technology
  • Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint In-Demand Hot technology
  • Project management software — Cost estimating software; Microsoft Project Hot technology ; Oracle Primavera Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Hot technology ; The Gordian Group PROGEN Online
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel In-Demand Hot technology
  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word In-Demand Hot technology
Hot technology
Hot Technologies are requirements most frequently included across all employer job postings.
In demand
In Demand skills are frequently included in employer job postings for this occupation.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
  • Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
  • Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
  • Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
  • Staffing Organizational Units — Recruiting, interviewing, selecting, hiring, and promoting employees in an organization.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed
Education
Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
Related Experience
A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
Job Zone Examples
Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include real estate brokers, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, conservation scientists, art directors, and cost estimators.
SVP Range
2-4 years of preparation (7.0 to < 8.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
State licenses
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
  • Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
  • Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
  • Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  • Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

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Knowledge

  • Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Building and Construction — Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub-atomic structures and processes.
  • Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Transportation — Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 86%
     
    responded: Bachelor’s degree required
  • 10%
     
    responded: Master’s degree requiredmore info
  • 5%
     
    responded: Post-baccalaureate certificate required

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.

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Interests

Interest code: RIC
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

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Work Values

  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
  • Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

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Work Styles

  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$42.33 hourly, $88,050 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2021)
318,300 employees
Projected growth (2021-2031)
Average (4% to 7%)
Projected job openings (2021-2031)
24,200
State trends
Top industries (2021)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2021-2031 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2021-2031). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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