20 Jobs You Can Get With a Civil Engineering Degree

Updated March 10, 2023

In this article, we list 20 jobs in civil engineering, the primary duties for each role and the average national salary.

What is a civil engineer?

Civil engineers are essential to the construction of a city, county or state's system of roads, tunnels, bridges and buildings. Civil engineers may work in the private sector to oversee construction or repairs or in the public domain where they ensure safety standards and abide by local and federal government regulations. These professionals may choose to work in a broad scope like management, or they may refine their focus in jobs like geotechnical or design engineers.

Related: 6 Universal Roles for Resume Writing

20 high-paying civil engineering jobs

Here are top jobs you can get with a civil engineering degree. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on each salary link below:

1. Surveyor

National average salary: $16.74 per hour

Primary duties: Surveyors measure and note property boundaries and locations to determine building site specifications. The surveyor researches records or land titles to verify the accuracy of the data and present their findings to designated authorities. Surveyors prepare maps or plots to establish water or land boundaries in regards to deeds, leases and other legal documents.

2. CAD technician

National average salary: $20.06 per hour

Primary duties: These professionals use computer-aided design software to plan projects. Technicians may review drawings or design work and perform the required research to meet building code specifications. Technicians may work with 2-D (surface modeling) or 3-D plans (solid modeling) technology. CAD technicians may have experience or education in drafting and architecture.

3. Building engineer

National average salary: $26.93 per hour

Primary duties: These professionals provide maintenance and repair services for apartment buildings, workplaces or health care facilities. Building engineers may also oversee privately owned hotels or manufacturing facilities. These engineers have extensive knowledge of heating and cooling equipment to perform checks and repairs. Building engineers must comply with local fire and building codes to ensure structures meet federal health and disability codes.

4. Water hygiene engineer

National average salary: $58,435 per year

Primary duties: Water hygiene engineers may work in water or wastewater treatment plants to oversee system operations and proper treatment protocols. Engineers perform equipment inspections and monitor the proper operation of meters and gauges. Water hygiene engineers evaluate information to identify the appropriate actions to take, file reports of their findings and make recommendations.

5. Urban planner

National average salary: $62,638 per year

Primary duties: Urban planners work with public officials, developers and the community to plan the development and use of land. Planners gather data and analyze market research and economics to make determinations for site plans or projects. Urban planners are current on zoning and building codes and identify if changes need to be made to comply with regulations. Planners may present projects or proposals to communities, planning officials or committees.

6. Fire engineer

National average salary: $66,944 per year

Primary duties: The fire engineer is responsible for implementing fire safety and protection practices. Engineers meet with authorities and clients to meet fire safety guidelines and to monitor code requirements and data research for the proper installation and location of fire suppression and safety systems. Engineers may perform inspections of equipment for fault or damage.

7. Transport planner

National average salary: $68,200 per year

Primary duties: Transport planners may work in the public or private sector to develop transportation strategies to address the needs of transport users, including cyclists and pedestrians. Planners must consider environmental, efficiency and safety issues in their development strategies. Transport planners analyze and interpret data and prepare reports related to traffic flows or congestion.

8. Field service engineer

National average salary: $69,847 per year

Primary duties: Sometimes called engineering technicians, field service engineers are primarily responsible for the maintenance of equipment, scheduling of repairs, and the installation of electrical and engineering products. Field service engineers work directly with clients who may rent, lease or own engineering products or equipment. These engineers rely on logic and knowledge to identify and solve problems.

9. Construction manager

National average salary: $77,129 per year

Primary duties: Construction managers prepare cost estimates, devise budgets and create work timetables. Managers are often on the job site working with subcontractors, architects and fellow engineers for collaboration on projects. Construction managers comply with state and federal legal requirements and building and safety codes. Managers may oversee several project types, such as road and bridge construction, and public, residential, commercial and industrial structures.

10. Environmental engineer

National average salary: $79,060 per year

Primary duties: Environmental engineers use key areas like engineering, soil science and biology to develop environmental solutions. Engineers prepare and review investigative reports and design projects to solve problems or implement programs like recycling, waste disposal, and water and air pollution control. Engineers analyze scientific data to make recommendations or provide information for legal actions.

11. Construction estimator

National average salary: $79,579 per year

Primary duties: Construction estimators must identify factors that affect the cost of a project, such as production time, materials and labor. Estimators read blueprints and collaborate with architects and clients to arrive at accurate cost estimates. Construction estimators oversee the project to adjust estimates and totals while recommending ways to reduce costs. They maintain accurate records of estimated and actual project costs.

12. Design engineer

National average salary: $80,069 per year

Primary duties: Design engineers collaborate with research and development teams to create design parameters and meet requirements. These engineers typically use CAD (computer-aided design) or CAE (computer-aided engineering) software to create models and plans. Design engineers may alter existing plans or formulate prototypes to ensure projects meet the required specifications and guidelines.

13. Geotechnical engineer

National average salary: $81,767 per year

Primary duties: Geotechnical engineers analyze soil and rock conditions to determine the stability and sustainability of a proposed building or mining site. These engineers assess the risks of a particular site in relation to erosion, landslides, earthquakes or other geological disturbances. Geotechnical engineers make recommendations to uphold the safety and integrity of a site.

14. Water resources engineer

National average salary: $81,994 per year

Primary duties: Water resources engineers design new systems and equipment for the management of human water resources. These systems might include water treatment facilities, underground wells and natural springs. These engineers work to provide citizens with clean, uncontaminated water for drinking, living and recreational purposes. A water resource engineer considers costs, government regulations and other factors when implementing or redesigning systems.

15. Structural engineer

National average salary: $83,745 per year

Primary duties: Structural engineers typically act as consultants to architects and construction managers to plan layouts for buildings, bridges, tunnels and other infrastructure. These engineers calculate loads in response to environmental forces, such as snow and wind, and they understand different system materials like steel, concrete, masonry or wood. Structural engineers make recommendations for the ideal material, structure design and support.

16. Consulting engineer

National average salary: $86,284 per year

Primary duties: Consulting engineers are called upon when buildings or structures require improved performance. Consulting engineers assist with the entire design framework, such as analysis, construction details and future structural support. Consulting engineers may advise on design weaknesses or limitations while considering maintenance and operation expenses. These professionals provide insights to various construction teams to create innovative and effective design strategies.

17. Nuclear engineer

National average salary: $90,390 per year

Primary duties: Nuclear engineers design or develop nuclear equipment, such as reactor cores and radiation shielding. These professionals direct the operation and maintenance of nuclear power plants so they comply with safety standards and laws. Nuclear engineers may write instructions for plant operations and the proper disposal of nuclear waste. Engineers analyze nuclear accidents to make recommendations for future safety and prevention strategies.

18. Planning engineer

National average salary: $92,105 per year

Primary duties: Planning engineers create project plans and decide on the proper engineering techniques to ensure the project meets qualifications. Planners set target dates and monitor progress through analysis and reporting. Planning engineers coordinate with other team members to direct workloads and manage expectations. Planners use past and present data to develop strategies for future projects.

19. Engineering project manager

National average salary: $95,066 per year

Primary duties: Engineering project managers oversee all members of an engineering project, including design and planning engineers, construction contractors and subcontractors and architects and bureaucrats. The project manager delegates responsibilities and monitors deadlines and budget constraints. Engineering project managers prepare reports and documentation that support the development of project strategies to meet commitments and abide by state and federal regulations.

20. City engineer

National average salary: $96,164 per year

Primary duties: City engineers are employed by city governments to build new structures or repair or replace aging infrastructure. City engineers design roads, bridges and other city infrastructure while adhering to timetables and budget requirements. City engineers consider environmental, health and safety and federal regulations in their design. These engineers may consult with city government officials and the public to fulfill population needs while meeting quality standards.

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