Airport Engineer: Job Description and Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an airport engineer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and required licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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Airport engineers plan, design, construct, renovate and maintain airports. This career requires a bachelor's degree and work experience, and licensure is required. Voluntary certification is available, and engineers may be required to complete continuing education courses in certain states.

Essential Information

Airport engineers research, design and oversee the construction, renovation and maintenance of airports. Airport engineers generally hold a bachelor's degree in civil, mechanical or structural engineering. A minimum of education and experience is necessary to qualify for professional licensure, which is required. Voluntary certifications are also available.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Professional licensure
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 8% for civil engineers
Average Annual Salary (2015)* $87,940 for civil engineers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Airport engineers analyze survey reports, maps, blueprints and other data. They collect and test soil samples to determine the strength of soil used for a foundation, and they use mathematical models to compute various requirements, including load, stress factors and other structural requirements. Engineers review government standards and ensure that construction is compliant with building codes, city ordinances and other government regulations.

Airport engineers plan, design and map systems, structures and facilities. They must consider costs and quantities of material, equipment and labor to prepare and present a bid proposal. Airport engineers also direct construction and monitor progress.

Career Outlook and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of civil engineers was expected to increase by 8% from 2014-2024. The mean annual salary for civil engineers was $87,940 as of May 2015, stated the BLS.

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Education Requirements

Airport engineers must complete an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)-approved bachelor's degree program in civil, mechanical or structural engineering. A 4-year program includes both general education requirements and courses in steel structure analysis, geotechnical engineering and fluid mechanics. Students also might take CAD (computer-aided design) courses and use advanced designing principles to create, analyze and review models.

Licensure and Certification

Licensure is required in all states. Applicants need to have completed an ABET-accredited degree program and four years of documented work experience. College graduates are qualified to take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam upon graduating. The Principles and Practice of Engineering exam can be taken after attaining sufficient work experience. Some states require continuing education for engineers, which could include completing college-level coursework, attending educational seminars or publishing research papers.

Although not required, experienced engineers can opt to become certified through the American Society of Civil Engineers. Voluntary geotechnical certification requirements include at least eight years of continuous engineering practice and postgraduate study.

Airport engineers are involved in the planning, design and construction of airports, including mapping and designing, analyzing reports, and overseeing progress. They must have a bachelor's degree in engineering and four years of work experience before they can pursue professional licensure, which is required in all states, and they can opt for voluntary certification. All civil engineers can expect to see average job growth throughout the 2014-2024 decade.

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