Civil engineers plan and supervise the construction of infrastructure projects such as airports, bridges, freeways, water supplies and sewage systems. As with most engineering positions, a bachelor’s degree in engineering is the minimum requirement, though more advanced jobs need a minimum graduate degree. States also require civil engineers to be licensed if they offer services directly to the public.
Civil engineers make a median annual income of £49,783, though wages can go as low as £32,253 or rise as high as £76,908. Initially, much of the job entails working in an office as projects are initiated, budgets are defined and construction drawings are created through the use of a computer. As their plans become reality, civil engineers spend more and more time at outdoor sites to personally oversee construction. This information is from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2009.
The PayScale Report shows that experience plays an important part in determining earnings for civil engineers. As of November 2010, new hires earn £27,063 to £34,943 annually, though pay quickly rises between £36,418 and £46,462 with five to nine years of experience. At 10 to 19 years, engineers earn £42,000 to £58,774. By 20 years or more, professionals top out at £48,088 to £71,114.
The employers offering the most job opportunities for civil engineers are architectural and engineering firms, with over 50 per cent of the 259,320 total jobs. Salaries are slightly better than average at £53,326. However, the best-paid positions are with oil and gas extraction, which pays £69,829, but which only offers 400 jobs. Location can also affect salary. Alaska has the best jobs, with a concentration of 4.5 engineers per 1,000 workers and with high salaries at £55,497. Higher still are the positions available at the District of Columbia at £60,963. Job concentration here, however, is only at 1.1.
The BLS projects civil engineering jobs to grow by 24 per cent, much faster than average for nearly all engineering positions except biomedical and agricultural. This translates to a faster-than-average increase in salaries. Growth will come from the construction projects that arise to meet the needs of a growing population. In addition, a rapidly ageing infrastructure will require repair and maintenance.