Summary Report for:
17-2051.00 - Civil Engineers
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: Bridge/Structure Inspection Team Leader, City Engineer, Civil Engineer, Civil Engineering Manager, County Engineer, Design Engineer, Project Engineer, Railroad Design Consultant, Structural Engineer, Traffic Engineer
Also see: Transportation Engineers
Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- 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.
- Provide technical advice to industrial or managerial personnel regarding design, construction, or program modifications or structural repairs.
- Test soils or materials to determine the adequacy and strength of foundations, concrete, asphalt, or steel.
- Manage and direct the construction, operations, or maintenance activities at project site.
- 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.
- Plan and design transportation or hydraulic systems or structures using computer assisted design or drawing tools.
- 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.
- Identify environmental risks and develop risk management strategies for civil engineering projects.
- Direct engineering activities ensuring compliance with environmental, safety, or other governmental regulations.
- Analyze survey reports, maps, drawings, blueprints, aerial photography, or other topographical or geologic data.
- Conduct studies of traffic patterns or environmental conditions to identify engineering problems and assess potential project impact.
- Design or engineer systems to efficiently dispose of chemical, biological, or other toxic wastes.
- Develop or implement engineering solutions to clean up industrial accidents or other contaminated sites.
- Analyze manufacturing processes or byproducts to identify engineering solutions to minimize the output of carbon or other pollutants.
- Analytical or scientific software — HEC-HMS; Minitab ; The MathWorks MATLAB ; Trimble Geomatics Office (see all 11 examples)
- Business intelligence and data analysis software — Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition
- Calendar and scheduling software — Scheduling software
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD ; Bentley MicroStation ; Dassault Systemes CATIA ; Mathsoft Mathcad (see all 20 examples)
- Data base user interface and query software — Data entry software ; Microsoft Access
- Development environment software — C ; Formula translation/translator FORTRAN; Microsoft Visual Basic ; Verilog (see all 5 examples)
- Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
- Electronic mail software — Email software; Microsoft Outlook
- Enterprise application integration software — Extensible markup language XML
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne ; SAP
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Fireworks; Bentley GeoPak Bridge; Graphics software; Trimble SketchUp Pro
- Industrial control software — Supervisory control and data acquisition SCADA software
- Internet browser software — Microsoft Internet Explorer; Web browser software
- Map creation software — Cartography software; ESRI ArcGIS software ; Geographic information system GIS software ; Intergraph MGE (see all 6 examples)
- Object or component oriented development software — Microsoft ActiveX
- Office suite software — Corel WordPerfect; Microsoft Office
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Project management software — Cost estimating software; Microsoft Project ; Oracle Primavera Enterprise Project Portfolio Management ; The Gordian Group PROGEN Online
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- Compasses — Dividers
- Desktop computers
- Digital cameras
- Distance meters — Electronic distance measuring devices; Rhodes arcs
- Electronic counters — Traffic counters
- Global positioning system GPS receiver — Global positioning system GPS receivers
- Level sensors or transmitters — Transit levels
- Levels — Laser levels; Precision levels
- Map measurers — Planimeters
- Measuring rods — Surveying rods
- Measuring wheels for distance — Surveying wheels
- Microfiche or microfilm viewers — Microfilm readers
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Photocopiers — Blueprint copiers
- Rulers — Steel rules
- Scales — Drafting scales; Rolling scales
- Speed sensors — Radar guns
- Tape measures — Measuring tapes
- Theodolites — Total stations
- Thickness measuring devices — Thickness gauges
- Triangles — Drafting triangles
- Two way radios
- 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.
- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- 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.
- 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.
- Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- 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.
- Economics and Accounting — Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Personnel and Human Resources — Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- 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.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- 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.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- 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.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Management of Material Resources — Obtaining and seeing to the appropriate use of equipment, facilities, and materials needed to do certain work.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- 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.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- 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).
- 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).
- 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 there is a problem.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- Speed of Closure — The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- 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.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Communicating with Persons Outside 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.
- 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.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Provide 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, 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.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- 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.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Staffing Organizational Units — Recruiting, interviewing, selecting, hiring, and promoting employees in an organization.
Detailed Work Activities
- Inspect facilities or sites to determine if they meet specifications or standards.
- Estimate technical or resource requirements for development or production projects.
- Recommend technical design or process changes to improve efficiency, quality, or performance.
- Design systems to reduce harmful emissions.
- Test characteristics of materials or structures.
- Direct construction activities.
- Estimate operational costs.
- Survey land or bodies of water to measure or determine features.
- Create graphical representations of civil structures.
- Develop technical methods or processes.
- Investigate the environmental impact of projects.
- Explain project details to the general public.
- Incorporate green features into the design of structures or facilities.
- Prepare proposal documents.
- Coordinate safety or regulatory compliance activities.
- Evaluate technical data to determine effect on designs or plans.
- Implement design or process improvements.
- Analyze operational data to evaluate operations, processes or products.
- Electronic Mail — 91% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 83% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 83% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 70% responded “Very important.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 61% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Contact With Others — 52% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 52% responded “Important results.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 61% responded “Very important.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 61% responded “Some freedom.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 52% responded “Every day.”
- Letters and Memos — 65% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 57% responded “Some freedom.”
- Consequence of Error — 39% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 52% responded “More than half the time.”
- Time Pressure — 43% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 35% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Level of Competition — 43% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 43% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 33% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 48% responded “High responsibility.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 41% responded “Very important.”
- Deal With External Customers — 35% responded “Very important.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 30% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 38% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 35% responded “Limited responsibility.”
|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 accountants, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
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.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- 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.
- 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.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2018)||$41.65 hourly, $86,640 annual|
|Employment (2016)||304,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2016-2026)||Faster than average (10% to 14%)|
|Projected job openings (2016-2026)||25,900|
|Top industries (2016)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018 wage data and 2016-2026 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2016-2026). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
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.
- American Concrete Institute
- American Congress of Surveying and Mapping
- American Council of Engineering Companies
- American Public Works Association
- American Society of Civil Engineers
- American Water Works Association
- ASTM International
- Earthquake Engineering Research Institute
- Institute of Transportation Engineers
- National Association of County Engineers
- National Society of Professional Engineers
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Civil engineers
- Society of American Military Engineers
- The American Society of Mechanical Engineers