General construction engineers are educated and trained professionals with a bachelor's degree in construction engineering. They work as civil engineers or construction managers and are currently experiencing job growth.
Students looking for a degree in construction engineering should consider programs that have earned approval from ABET, Inc. Graduating from an accredited program may be required or preferred by licensing boards and employers. As of February, 2016 ABET, Inc. accredited 43 construction engineering programs in the U.S. (www.abet.org).
The BLS indicates that most entry-level engineering jobs require a bachelor's degree. During the first two years of a program, students complete math and science prerequisites, including calculus and physics. They also fulfill general education requirements and foundational engineering courses. The final two years are devoted to construction engineering coursework, which include topics in construction and engineering methods. Construction-based courses include topics in materials and procedures, such as cost-estimating. Engineering topics consist of coursework in mechanical probability, fluid mechanics and structural analysis. Students also receive hands-on training through labs and team projects.
|Career||Civil Engineer||Construction Manager|
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree||Bachelor's degree|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)||6%*||10%*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$86,640*||$93,370*|
*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Career Options with a Construction Engineering Degree
Students with a degree in construction engineering have plenty of options before them. The natural choice is to become a construction engineer, but this degree allows students to explore plenty of other careers as well. Most jobs are in the engineering and urban planning fields, such as the ones detailed below.
Construction engineers design a wide variety of structures, including buildings and transportation systems. These individuals combine their knowledge of engineering and construction practices to ensure that a facility functions properly. Construction engineers consider factors like the building materials and a structure's relationship with the surrounding environment. They may also help design project layouts and schematics through design programs.
In September 2019, PayScale.com reported that construction project engineers earned between $48,000-$86,000 annually, including bonuses and profit sharing. Pay may vary with experience and professional certifications. PayScale.com indicated that those with experience in engineering design often receive higher pay.
The American Society of Civil Engineers defines civil engineering as concerned with the design and maintenance of infrastructure and public works, such as bridges, roads and energy systems (www.asce.org). Many civil engineers specialize in areas like transportation and water resources. Some civil engineers perform research and inspections of existing structures to determine which procedures will be best to maintain a structure's functionality.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for civil engineers were expected to increase as fast as the average from 2018-2028 due to the need to design and repair infrastructure systems (www.bls.gov). Since many civil engineers work for governmental organizations, employment may be tied to economic factors. As of May 2018, the BLS reported that the mean salary for a civil engineer was $93,720.
Individuals with construction industry experience may become construction managers. The BLS indicates that these professionals direct construction projects, while maintaining a schedule and keeping the project under budget. During a project, these individuals oversee other professionals and tradesmen, such as electricians, carpenters, engineers and architects. The BLS states that construction managers may be employed by a firm or work for the owner of the property where the project is taking place.
The BLS indicates that employment for construction managers was expected to increase faster than average from 2018-2028, also due to the need to make improvements to existing infrastructure. Employment outlooks vary by the type of construction. Individuals who are knowledgeable in the latest technology and have experience in cost-estimating or organizing a budget may have better opportunities. In May 2018, the BLS reported that the mean salary for a construction manager was $103,110.
General construction engineering professionals usually work as construction managers and civil engineers. Both areas of employment are seeing job growth and offer generous compensation.