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Summary

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Video transcript available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XIQSrYi0O0.
Quick Facts: Civil Engineers
2023 Median Pay $95,890 per year
$46.10 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2022 326,300
Job Outlook, 2022-32 5% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2022-32 16,200

What Civil Engineers Do

Civil engineers plan, design, and supervise the construction and maintenance of building and infrastructure projects.

Work Environment

Civil engineers work in a variety of locations and conditions, commonly splitting their time between an office setting and construction sites. Most civil engineers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week.

How to Become a Civil Engineer

Civil engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or a related field to enter the occupation. They typically need a state-issued license if they provide services directly to the public.

Pay

The median annual wage for civil engineers was $95,890 in May 2023.

Job Outlook

Employment of civil engineers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 21,200 openings for civil engineers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for civil engineers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of civil engineers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about civil engineers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Civil Engineers Do About this section

Civil engineers
Civil engineers design major transportation projects.

Civil engineers plan, design, and supervise the construction and maintenance of building and infrastructure projects. These projects may include facilities, bridges, roads, tunnels, and water and sewage systems.

Duties

Civil engineers typically do the following:

  • Analyze plans, survey reports, maps, and other data related to project design
  • Consider regulations, site selection, and other factors relevant to a project
  • Analyze the results of tests on soil and building materials to determine strength for foundations and other support
  • Prepare cost estimates for equipment, materials, and labor to determine a project’s economic feasibility
  • Use design software to plan transportation systems, hydraulic systems, and structures
  • Submit permit applications to local, state, and federal agencies, as needed, and confirm that projects comply with regulations
  • Perform or oversee surveying to establish building locations, site layouts, grades, and elevations to guide construction
  • Manage the construction or repair, maintenance, and replacement of buildings and infrastructure

Civil engineers work in all aspects of planning, designing, and constructing or repairing a building or infrastructure project to ensure that structures and systems are assembled correctly. Depending on the job, civil engineers may be involved in a project from start to finish or for certain stages of it.

Civil engineers’ responsibilities during the planning stage may include researching specific topics, such as building codes for a construction proposal or traffic patterns near an intended site. They also may conduct analyses, such as for estimating availability and costs of concrete and other building materials, to determine a project’s timeline and feasibility.

During design and preconstruction stages, civil engineers may focus on specific elements such as site layout, grading (shaping) the land, and identifying appropriate stormwater and sewage systems for the project. Engineers use computer-aided design (CAD) software to create detailed project plans and may make presentations related to the final design, such as about its environmental impact. They often review project documents and secure required permits before work may begin.

Civil engineers also oversee the building of structures or systems throughout a project’s construction, and they help with signoff and other postconstruction activities. They ensure that work complies with safety regulations and adheres to design specifications, helping to resolve problems that may arise. At the conclusion of a project, they may finalize billing, inspection, and other completion details.

Civil engineers may collaborate on projects with other workers, such as architects, construction managers, and urban planners. They may be assisted by civil engineering technicians.

Civil engineers often work as generalists on a variety of projects, gaining skills in different areas that are widely applicable. Some specialize in one of several areas. The following are examples of types of civil engineers:

Construction engineers manage construction projects, ensuring that they are scheduled and built according to plans and specifications. They typically are responsible for the design and safety of any temporary structures used during construction. They also may oversee a project’s budget and communications.

Geotechnical engineers ensure the safety and sturdiness of foundations for streets, buildings, and other structures and systems. They focus on how these manmade objects interact with the earth, including soil and rock. In this way, their work relates to that of environmental engineers.

Structural engineers design and assess major projects, such as buildings, bridges, and dams, to ensure their strength and durability.

Transportation engineers plan, design, and maintain streets and highways, airports, mass transit systems, harbors, and related systems.

Work Environment About this section

Civil engineers
Although civil engineers work in an office setting to produce plans, they also spend time onsite to oversee construction.

Civil engineers held about 326,300 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of civil engineers were as follows:

Engineering services 48%
State government, excluding education and hospitals 12
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 10
Nonresidential building construction 6
Federal government, excluding postal service 3

Civil engineers work in a variety of locations and conditions, including indoors in office settings and outdoors at construction sites. Some construction jobs require setting up a temporary office, such as in a trailer, to work onsite.

Work Schedules

Most civil engineers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. Engineers who direct projects sometimes work extra hours to ensure that designs meet requirements and that the projects are on track to meet deadlines.

How to Become a Civil Engineer About this section

Civil engineers
Civil engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or a related field.

Civil engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or a related field. Although licensure requirements vary by state, civil engineers usually must be licensed if they provide services directly to the public.

Education

Civil engineers typically need a bachelor's degree in civil engineering or a related field. Civil engineering programs include coursework in math, physics, engineering mechanics, and construction systems. Courses may include a mix of academic learning and laboratory work.

Employers usually prefer to hire graduates of civil engineering programs accredited by ABET. Some students attend schools that have cooperative-education programs (also known as co-ops); others participate in internships. Co-ops and internships provide students with an opportunity to gain practical experience while pursuing a degree.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level civil engineers. However, civil engineers typically must be licensed if they provide services directly to the public. Engineers who have a Professional Engineer (PE) license are called professional engineers (PEs).

A PE may 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 bachelor’s or higher degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program, a passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, several years of relevant work experience, and a passing score on the PE exam.

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. Some states require continuing education for engineers to keep their licenses.

Certifications, such as in coastal engineering or geotechnical engineering from the American Society of Civil Engineers, also are available. Optional certification may demonstrate a level of competence and experience that make candidates attractive to prospective employers.

Advancement

With experience, some PEs advance to supervisory or administrative positions. Their responsibilities may focus on a specific project, such as a construction site, or encompass broad oversight, such as in working as a city engineer, public works director, or city manager.

Graduate-level education, along with a PE license and experience, may be helpful for advancing into supervisory positions, such as engineering managers.

PEs who have certification that demonstrates expertise in a civil engineering specialty also may be able to advance into senior technical or managerial positions.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Civil engineers must be able to explain, both orally and in writing, the details of their projects. They may need to convey information to a variety of audiences, including nontechnical ones.

Decision-making skills. Civil engineers must be able to balance a variety of objectives, such as the feasibility of plans against cost and safety.

Interpersonal skills. Civil engineers often manage projects and the teams that work on them. They must be able to lead urban planners, surveyors, civil engineering technicians, and others.

Math skills. Civil engineers use calculus, trigonometry, and other mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting.

Organizational skills. Civil engineers often oversee several projects at the same time and must be able to allocate resources effectively.

Problem-solving skills. Civil engineers may encounter problems during each stage of their work. They must be able to evaluate issues that arise and troubleshoot to find solutions.

Pay About this section

Civil Engineers

Median annual wages, May 2023

Engineers

$102,660

Civil engineers

$95,890

Total, all occupations

$48,060

 

The median annual wage for civil engineers was $95,890 in May 2023. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $63,220, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $150,640.

In May 2023, the median annual wages for civil engineers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Federal government, excluding postal service $108,680
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 103,920
Engineering services 96,110
State government, excluding education and hospitals 93,390
Nonresidential building construction 78,890

Most civil engineers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. Engineers who direct projects sometimes work extra hours to ensure that designs meet requirements and that projects are on track to meet deadlines.

Job Outlook About this section

Civil Engineers

Percent change in employment, projected 2022-32

Engineers

7%

Civil engineers

5%

Total, all occupations

3%

 

Employment of civil engineers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 21,200 openings for civil engineers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

With continued investment in U.S. infrastructure, civil engineers will be needed to manage projects that meet society's need for upgrading bridges, roads, water systems, buildings, and other structures.

Civil engineers also will be needed to oversee renewable-energy projects, such as construction of wind farms and solar arrays, as these projects gain approval.

Public projects may depend on funding from state and local governments. Employment of civil engineers may fluctuate with the availability of project funds.

Employment projections data for civil engineers, 2022-32
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2022 Projected Employment, 2032 Change, 2022-32 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Civil engineers

17-2051 326,300 342,500 5 16,200 Get data

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.org. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of civil engineers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help on Entry-Level Education 2023 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay
Architects Architects

Architects plan and design houses, factories, office buildings, and other structures.

Bachelor's degree $93,310
Civil engineering technicians Civil Engineering Technologists and Technicians

Civil engineering technologists and technicians help civil engineers plan, design, and build infrastructure and development projects.

Associate's degree $60,700
Construction managers Construction Managers

Construction managers plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction projects from start to finish.

Bachelor's degree $104,900
Environmental engineers Environmental Engineers

Environmental engineers use engineering disciplines in developing solutions to problems of planetary health.

Bachelor's degree $100,090
Landscape architects Landscape Architects

Landscape architects design parks and other outdoor spaces.

Bachelor's degree $79,320
Mechanical engineers Mechanical Engineers

Mechanical engineers design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal sensors and devices.

Bachelor's degree $99,510
Surveyors Surveyors

Surveyors make precise measurements to determine property boundaries.

Bachelor's degree $68,540
Urban and regional planners Urban and Regional Planners

Urban and regional planners develop comprehensive plans and programs for use of land and physical facilities in cities, counties, metropolitan areas, and other jurisdictions.

Master's degree $81,800
Architectural and engineering managers Architectural and Engineering Managers

Architectural and engineering managers plan, direct, and coordinate activities in the fields of architecture and engineering.

Bachelor's degree $165,370
project management specialists Project Management Specialists

Project management specialists coordinate the budget, schedule, staffing, and other details of a project.

Bachelor's degree $98,580

Contacts for More Information About this section

For information about general engineering education and career resources, visit

American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)

Technology Student Association (TSA)

For more information about licensure, visit

National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES)

National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)

For information about accredited programs in civil engineering and civil engineering technology, visit

ABET

For more information about civil engineers, visit

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

Occupational Requirements Survey

For a profile highlighting selected BLS data on occupational requirements, see

Civil engineers (PDF)

CareerOneStop

For a career video on civil engineers, visit

Civil Engineers

O*NET

Civil Engineers

Transportation Engineers

Water/Wastewater Engineers

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Civil Engineers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/civil-engineers.htm (visited June 09, 2024).

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2024

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2023 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2023, the median annual wage for all workers was $48,060.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2022

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2022, which is the base year of the 2022-32 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2022-32

The projected percent change in employment from 2022 to 2032. The average growth rate for all occupations is 3 percent.

Employment Change, 2022-32

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2022-32

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2022 to 2032.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

2023 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2023, the median annual wage for all workers was $48,060.