Everywhere around us, there are structures and systems that are vital to our daily lives. Imagine living without proper roadways, bridges, buildings, and water systems. Civil engineers play a role in all of these. In this guide, not will we only cover civil engineer salary information, but we also explore the factors which play a major role in determining this salary. But first, let’s get a better understanding of what a civil engineer does on a daily basis.
What Is a Civil Engineer?
Civil engineers conceive, design, build, operate, supervise, maintain, and construct infrastructure projects for the private and public sector. These projects can include buildings, roads, tunnels, dams, airports, bridges, and water supply systems. The majority of civil engineers specialize in planning, design, construction, education, and research.
Primary Duties of a Civil Engineer
Work Environment and Schedule
Civil engineers can work in a variety of locations and settings. Construction engineers tend to spend most of their time outdoors at construction sites solving on-site problems and monitoring operations. While designing, however, civil engineers will spend most of their time in their office. Some civil engineering jobs will require frequent relocation to various projects across the globe. Those who function in managerial roles spend most of their time in vehicles driving from site to site.
Three Important Qualities for Civil Engineers
Civil engineers must have high skills in mathematics. They often use the principles and functions of trigonometry and calculus in the design, analysis, and troubleshooting phases of their projects.
Civil engineers must also have leadership skills. They ultimately take the responsibility for the projects that they are researching or managing. Therefore, civil engineers must be able to lead all of those who are involved in the implementation of the project.
Finally, they must have problem-solving skills. There are many variables involved in multifaceted projects that civil engineers work on. With so many variables, there are bound to be problems. Civil engineers must solve these problems quickly. Every minute wasted at the job-site costs the company money.
How Do I Become a Civil Engineer?
At the bare minimum, you must have a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering or in Civil Engineering Technology in order to become a civil engineer. These programs focus on subjects such as math, statistics, engineering mechanics, and fluid dynamics. The exact curriculum will depend on your desired specialty within the field.
The curriculum for all potential civil engineers includes classroom education, lab studies, and fieldwork. The program must be accredited by ABET in order to be able to obtain a professional engineer license. Further education in civil engineering is possible for those who desire managerial roles within the industry.
Is There a Need for Civil Engineers?
The demand for civil engineers is expected to grow 11% over the next 10 years. This faster than average job growth is mainly due to the growing obsolescence of the current infrastructure in the United States. Civil engineers will be needed to manage projects which involve repairing, rebuilding, and upgrading structures such as roads, bridges, dams, levees, buildings, airports, and other structures.
Population Growth Increases Demand
A rapid growth of population in a region means that new water systems will be needed to meet the growing demand. Besides new water systems, aging and existing water systems will need to be regularly maintained to reduce or even eliminate the possibility of leaks. In order to maintain the cleanliness of the water supply, new waste treatment plants will be needed for this task.
Civil engineers will have a key role in most if not all of these undertakings. As most regions are “going green,” new energy-renewable projects will be approved. Civil engineers will be vital in overseeing the construction of renewable structures such as solar arrays and wind farms.
Civil Engineer Salary and Job Opportunity Factors
The average civil engineer salary in the United States is $74,000. A civil engineer salary can start at $38,000 and be as high as $113,000. These figures can vary for reasons such as: amount of experience, level of education, and the size of the company and its location. The main factor of these, however, is the amount of experience a civil engineer has gained.
Civil engineer salaries tend to be higher for those who have more experience. Recent college graduates who are just breaking into the industry simply do not make as much. This is because most civil engineer salary jobs take into account the amount of time and money a civil engineer has spent on further education and training opportunities.
Experience level also plays into another factor that is often not thought of. This factor is reputation. A civil engineer who was responsible for the design of a major project that was successful will be in high demand for projects further down the line. Reputation plays a huge role in civil engineer salary.
Education and Certification
Education and certifications also play roles in determining the job opportunities and salaries for civil engineers. The small percentage of civil engineers who go on to get their master’s degree will receive a higher salary and more responsibility than those without one. Further training and certifications can prepare civil engineers for management positions which leads to a higher salary.
Civil engineering, a rapidly growing career field, is responsible for structures that are vital to society’s well-being. Civil engineer salary is based upon a variety of factors. The three main factors in determining this salary are experience, reputation, and level of education. If a civil engineer possesses all of these qualities, they can easily make over $100,000 annually.