Tap to Read ➤

Civil Engineer Job Description

Vipul Lovekar
The magnificent Golden Gate, the splendid Empire State Building, and the colossal Library of Congress, are feathers which glorify the American fervor and wonders of architecture and brilliant engineering. You can give United States another wonder to marvel if you have the passion to be a civil engineer, one of the oldest and most important disciplines of engineering.
"A good scientist is a person with original ideas. A good engineer is a person who makes a design that works with as few original ideas as possible."
- Freeman Dyson

Skill Set

As a qualified civil engineer, you are responsible for supervising and designing or modifying construction projects. These projects can be small-scale, like making renovations or large-scale, like building bridges. You are required to work from scratch and create a structure that is beautiful, convenient and supports the environment. You must possess certain skills to excel in this profession.
  • Excellent in logical interpretations and complex mathematical calculations
  • Expert in computer-aided design packages
  • Clear in thinking and good at communicating
  • Team-worker
  • Confident decision maker
  • Able to manage, delegate, negotiate and supervise projects

Work Profile

Working as a civil engineer, you may have to travel extensively from site to office, and at times to overseas location for certain projects. You may have to work for 35 - 40 hours a week, irrespective of the weather conditions. Your job as a civil engineer is encompassing and includes the following.
  • Construction-Site Investigation: Studying of survey reports, topographical, aerial and geographical maps, testing of soil and construction material.
  • Feasibility Study: Estimating the cost of a project which includes material, labor and more. Studying of various government regulations and possibility of any hazardous situation.
  • Design Development: Using software to design blueprints within the specified governmental guidelines.
  • Risk Management: Assessing risk factors regarding labor and material, and providing for safety measures and equipment.
  • Labor and Material Management: Ensuring and scheduling availability of skilled and efficient labor, and resolving any labor issue. Filing tenders, creating bids for material and equipment procurement.
  • Decision-making/Problem-solving: Foreseeing any difficulty in design or material and labor management, and providing solutions.
  • Deadlines: Planning, considering the budget and timeline to finish the project.
  • Communication: Presenting the progress of the project or any findings to authorities or public.
  • Monitor: Managing and controlling the smooth functioning of every aspect of the project.

Writing a Resume

While writing any resume, you want the probable employer to know all about your expertise. The resume's headline should be very appealing, so that it instantly catches the eye of the employer. Your objective in the resume should always highlight your present and future ambitions. A well-composed resume is a very important aspect in the process of job-hunt.


To work as a civil engineer in any of the states in the US, you must have a license from the appropriate state authority. The usual process for registration and obtaining license is a 4-stage process.
  1. Obtain a four-year Graduate Degree in Civil Engineering from ABET (American Board for Engineering and Technology) accredited university.
  2. Become an Engineer-in-Training, a.k.a., Engineering Intern (EI), after completing a standard written examination Fundamentals of Engineering (FE).
3. Work for four-years to accumulate experience.
4. Clear written examination on Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE).

National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES)administers FE and PE examinations through respective state engineering boards in all the 50 states and District of Columbia.


The job of a civil engineer is a very complex one. Therefore, you can get a specialization in various areas, like:
  • Transportation Engineer: Planning and designing travel infrastructure such as roads, railways, airports or harbors.
  • Geo-technical Engineer: Ensuring strong foundations for big constructions, planning tunnels and retaining walls.
  • Structural Engineer: Designing projects like dams and bridges, and ensuring their durability.

Employment Prospects

As a qualified and licensed civil engineer, you can work for the federal, local or state government. There are huge prospects in Water, Electricity and Gas companies as well as in Railways. Once you get the proper license, you can also work as a consultant for various employers on full-time or contractual basis. 
By acquiring a Masters and a Doctorate in Civil Engineering, you can easily get placed in top engineering institutes for teaching the discipline.
The field of civil engineering is a vast one. There are innumerable avenues with excellent prospects and remuneration. Various employers provide satisfactory salary with benefits. As the United States is looking towards an overall and sustainable growth, its infrastructure needs to be updated continuously. 
Working for a government body, you can receive an annual salary of $77,000 to $80,000 (approximately). Also, as per the United States Department of Labor, the demand for qualified civil engineers will increase by 19% in 2020 as compared to 2010.


Civil engineering is one of the few core branches of engineering. It is, in fact, one of the oldest branches of engineering and still very much an indispensable discipline. This job often demands him/her to work beyond the call of duty. But yet, this is one of the best career options where you can get the real sense of creation.

The history of civil engineering is as old as some of the first large constructions like the Pyramids, the Parthenon, the Great Wall of China and many more. Until modern times, architecture and civil engineering were used as similar terms in different parts of the world. However, the word 'Civil Engineering' was coined in the 18th century.
Norwich University, founded in 1819 in Vermont (USA), is the first private college to start a curriculum in civil engineering, but the first degree in the discipline was awarded by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1835.
To be successful and establish yourself as a competent civil engineer, it is advisable to keep updating your knowledge and proficiency regarding new software and also legal regulations. An inclusive know-how will give you an edge over others. Wish you all the best!
Nothing can be of great worth or holy which is the work of builders and mechanics.
Zeno, Stoic Philosopher