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Civil Engineer

Civil Engineer


Build public structures such as waterways and roads.

Salary Range

$66,260 - $109,930

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

What does a Civil Engineer do?

Civil engineers focus their in-depth science and math skills on projects that benefit or serve the public. Civil engineers design and build waterways, transportation hubs, and public buildings.

For waterways such as dams and city sewer systems, you evaluate the needs of the community. How many homes or business will draw on this resource? Which types of pipe will allow the proper flow? Will a dam affect the fish in the stream? The answers to these questions allow you to design a plan that encompasses the concerns of government and the people, while effectively solving the problem at hand.

You use a similar technique when designing transportation projects such as train depots, bus stations, roads, airports, or bridges. And in all of these cases, you spend a good portion of your time on the job site, ensuring the project progresses according to plan and answering questions as they arise.

Designing public use buildings is another area of your expertise. Such buildings include courthouses, libraries, schools, or offices. For these projects, you carefully evaluate land use laws, building codes, costs, traffic flow, and the affects of severe weather.

Within all of these areas, you consider the environmental impact your project will have on the area. Is the building site on a protected wetland? Did the previous owners bury drums of oil? While you use your vast scientific knowledge of load capacities and material capabilities, you also use your common sense, work ethic, and desire to create designs which best serve the community.

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