What is the Job of a Civil Engineer? Top Jobs and Careers

By | October 26, 2023
Job of a Civil Engineer
Civil engineers help build and maintain critical infrastructure.

What is the Job of a Civil Engineer? Top Jobs and Careers

If you are looking to get into the civil engineering career, this post will help you understand the duties and responsibilities to expect to perform, as well as the industries where you can find the best paying civil engineering jobs that you can apply to.

You will also learn about the skills, qualities, and training you need to succeed in this career, as well as the salary to expect to earn working as a civil engineer.

Please, read on:

What is the Job of a Civil Engineer?

Civil engineers perform various jobs in both the public and the private sector. They are responsible for designing, constructing, supervising, operating, and maintaining various construction projects, including buildings, roads, airports, dams, tunnels, sewage treatment, water supply, and flood defense systems, railways and bridges.

Civil engineers work to ensure infrastructure is running effectively, and is well maintained and adapted to meet the effect of population growth and climatic change, as well as possible natural disaster.

They are also expected to find solutions to complex problems and execute them, such as looking for how to deliver infrastructural needs with limited funds.

In the industry, the role of a civil engineer may either be as a consultant or as a contractor.

As a consultant, the engineer mainly works from an office where he/she is primarily responsible for designing projects and working with clients.

As a contractor, the engineer is mainly found on construction sites where they supervise projects and ensure the physical structure is realized just as it is designed.

Civil Engineer Job Description, Duties, Tasks, and Responsibilities

Here are major tasks, duties, and responsibilities that commonly make up the job description of civil engineers  working on construction and renovation projects:

  • Produce all design related documents, including drawings and specifications
  • Carry out calculations, analysis, simulation, and modelling of structural/civil and mechanical systems, materials, or components
  • Provide support to all projects needing design and analysis of civil engineering applications, including soils and asphalt/concrete
  • Assist in developing alternatives analysis, drawing, equipment sizing/selection, and design requirements
  • Supervise surveying operations to determine elevations , grades, volumes, and reference points to guide remediation or construction projects
  • Apply design software in planning, designing, and/or bidding transportation, MEP, hydraulic systems, and/or structures
  • Responsible for repairing, maintaining, and replacing private and public infrastructure
  • Perform analysis of relevant data, including maps and survey reports for effectively planning of projects
  • Examine architectural plans to be sure they conform with established design, safety, and feasibility, and that they follow government and municipal regulations such as building codes
  • Gather and send permit applications to the relevant agencies of government (local, state, and federal) for verification of project compliance with established regulations
  • Participate in the creation of project proposals, providing technical details, specifications, and cost estimate and sourcing of materials.

Top Civil Engineering Jobs and Salaries

Civil engineers are constantly needed to help maintain decaying infrastructure and build new ones to meet population growth and public needs.

If you are a qualified civil engineer, there are various jobs available that you can apply to. Here are the top paying industries for civil engineering jobs that you can check out:

From records from the bureau of labor statistics (bls), the best (in terms of pay) civil engineering jobs comes from the federal government with the exclusion of the postal service.

According to the 2016 report of the bureau, civil engineers working for the federal government earned an annual salary of $92,320.

The next top industry was the local government with exclusion of hospitals and educational services. Civil engineers salary was $88,380.

Companies in the engineering services industry provided the next best jobs to civil engineers with an annual salary of $82,710.

State government with the exclusion of hospitals and education was the next best paying employer of civil engineers with a salary of $80,200.

Lastly, civil engineering jobs from nonresidential building construction industry paid $77,170 annual salary.

Skills and Qualities for Civil Engineering Jobs

To succeed in the challenging civil engineering career, you will need to have the following skills and qualities:

  • Possess innovative and logical mindset
  • Creative and versatile individual
  • Possess problem solving skills
  • Ability to understand the bigger picture of a project and work effectively in a team of different professionals
  • Knowledge of local , state, and federal regulations, and ability to apply them
  • Ability and willingness to travel frequently.

How to Become a Civil Engineer: Training and Career Guide

If you are interested in becoming a civil engineer, your quest starts from enjoying math and science in high school and getting good grades in physics, math, chemistry, biology, and computer science.

After your High School Diploma or its equivalent such as GCSE, you may go for A-levels with physics and math as core subjects, or apply to a college’s civil engineering degree program.

Make sure the college you are applying to is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

The civil engineering bachelor’s degree program normally takes four years to complete, requiring you to take courses such as surveying, chemistry, physics, ethics, statistics, design, mathematics, and mechanics.

These courses will enable you to specialize in any of the civil engineering career options of your choice after graduation from college.

Civil engineering consists of various areas of specialization, including structural, environmental, municipal, geotechnical, and transport.

A fresh graduate may decide to start a career in any of these fields and be sure of having an exciting and rewarding experience.

After completing your bachelor’s degree program, you can then work in any area of your career choice to obtain a Professional Engineer (PE) license.

Getting this license entails two steps:

  • Taking the Fundamentals of Engineering exam after graduating from college
  • And taking the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam after four years of experience working as a civil engineer.

Successfully passing these exams will enable you to practice as a licensed PE, which enhances your professional status in the industry.


Civil engineers shape our societies by the job they do: building, maintaining, and sustaining our infrastructure.

If you are thinking of becoming a civil engineer, this post will help answer the question, “what is the job of a civil engineer” that a lot of young people usually ask, and help you to make informed decision about the career.