What Do Civil Engineers Do?
A civil engineer plans, designs and oversees construction and maintenance of buildings and other facilities. These facilities might include roads, railroads, airports, channels, dams, bridges, irrigation projects, power plants, harbors, pipelines and water and sewage systems.This type of position is expected to have a 20% growth annually across the United States. That will translate into approximately 12,010 new jobs annually.
Civil Engineers Skills and Abilities
As a civil engineer, you would be expected to know about engineering, building, mathematics, design and the English language. You would be expected to be able to think logically, read technical documents, solve complex problems and analyze operations in order to make a working design. You have to be able to reason, communicate and recognize patterns. As a civil engineer, you have to be aware of safety codes and ready to enforce them.
Civil Engineers Duties
With these skills and abilities, you are expected to:
- Inspect project sites, monitor progress and make sure that they conform to safety and sanitation standards.
- Manage and direct anything from the construction to the maintenance of activities at project sites.
- Calculate load and grade requirements, material stress factors and water flow rates in order to define design specifications.
- Test soils and materials to make sure that they are adequate for construction.
- Estimate materials, equipment and labor needed and cost for projects.
- Provide technical advice to workers.
- Analyze information and assess outcomes to pick the best solution and solve problems.
- Analyze blueprints, aerial photography, survey reports and other geological and topographical data.
- Create energy efficient and environmentally sound structures.
- Point out environmental risks and make risk management strategies.
- Develop and implement solutions to help clean up industrial accidents.
This is just a smattering of what you might have to do as a civil engineer. The position is diverse and the possibilities are almost endless.
Civil Engineers Tools and Technology
To help you do these duties, you have to know how to use important tools and technology, such as:
- Electronic Distance Measuring Devices
- Laser Levels
- Drafting and Rolling Scales
- Global Positioning Software (GPS)
- Hydraulic Analysis or Other Analytical or Scientific Software
- Autodesk Land Desktop or Other Computer Aided Design (CAD) Software
- Database User Interface and Query Software
- Cartography or Other Map Creation Software
- Microsoft Project or Other Project Management Software
These tools ensure that you can be the most efficient civil engineer.
Education and Training for Civil Engineers
In order to be a civil engineer, you have to obtain at least a Bachelor’s degree. A Master’s degree can also be useful, but few professionals get a higher degree without prior experience. You may need to take courses like:
- Civil Engineering
- Construction Engineering
- Structural Engineering
- Water and Resources Engineering
- Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
- Transportation and Highway Engineering
These types of courses help give you the skills and abilities you need to be a civil engineer.
Civil Engineers Salary
Civil engineering is a lucrative field. The average civil engineer in the United States makes about $82,100. The civil engineers in the lower 10% make about $52,600 while the civil engineers in the upper 10% make about $128,100. Your salary will depend most on the institution you work for, the experience you have and where you live.
Civil Engineers Jobs by Geography
There are many civil engineers across the United States, but Texas, California and Florida have the most per capita. It is expected that Guam, Utah and North Dakota will see the biggest increase in this profession in the next few years. The average civil engineer in Alaska, California and New Jersey make more than the average engineer in the United States. When you start thinking about becoming a civil engineer, you have to consider where you want to live, what sort of institution you want to work for and where you want to go to college.