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Civil Engineer

Career Overview

Civil engineers are the designers of major public works projects such as roads, overpasses, tunnels, airports, dams, bridges and water systems. They also design buildings and other commercial structures. Once the design is completed, a civil engineer will often play a supervisorial role in the construction work. Many civil engineers have turned to the construction management profession in recent years.

Structural design requires significant math skills, regulatory issues require knowledge of code specifications and limitations, the size of the project may involve geological and hydrological issues as well. Civil engineers must address every potential roadblock for the proposed project and work out the problems involved.


A bachelor's degree in civil engineering should be sufficient for an entry level job. Many civil engineers who work their way into positions of increasing responsibility decide to obtain a master's degree at some point to supplement their credentials. Entering into a civil engineering undergraduate program requires four years of math and three of science: chemistry, physics and biology.


There were about 256,000 civil engineers working in the U.S. in 2006, according to the Department of Labor.

Job Outlook

Civil engineering job opportunities are expected to increase by 18% over the decade 2006 - 2016, faster than almost every other engineering field. The need for reconstruction of much of the nation's infrastructure will help drive this increase.


Lowest 10% $48,140

Median Salary $74,600

Highest 10% $115,630

Source: U.S. Deparment of Labor

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