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Difference Between Site Engineer & Project Engineer

Site engineers and project engineers often work together on a job doing many different things. Both careers are vital to major projects with equally important responsibilities. This article compares and contrasts these two careers and adds some interesting financial information as well.

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Comparing Site Engineers to Project Engineers

Site engineers and project engineers have very different responsibilities working on any kind of construction project. Site engineers are the technical experts in charge of specific engineering aspects of the project. Project engineers oversee the general running of the project. They take the resource orders, liaise with clients, and coordinate with designers and other engineers. Below is a comparison about these two construction careers and a little financial information as well.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary* (2017) Job Growth** (2014-2024)
Site Engineers Master's preferred $73,591 8% (for all civil engineers)
Project Engineers Bachelor's degree $66,763 2-4%

Sources: *PayScale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Site Engineers vs. Project Engineers

Both of these engineering positions theoretically may work on the same project. These experts are educated in the construction trade as well as the management of projects and teams. Site engineers work with a designer's plans, engineer's specifications and city codes to do their jobs. Project engineers, on the other hand, work very closely with management and planners in an advisory capacity to create blueprints that meet a client's goals and city and state codes.

Site Engineers

For the most part, site engineers may have an office somewhere, but in most cases they will be found at the work site making sure specific jobs get done properly and according to code. These engineers make sure a building's wiring is done correctly, the plumbing will not leak, or the walls will not collapse. They are also prepared to justify changes to orders, redrawing alternate plans and resolving technical issues quickly and within the budget.

Job responsibilities of a site engineer include:

  • Acting as the top technical advisor on job site
  • Surveying, preparing and leveling the area for work
  • Facilitating planning data between managers, engineers and designers
  • Mentoring of trainees including junior engineers

Project Engineer

Project engineers will do all the paperwork, process the orders, and deal with the day-to-day running of the site. They touch base with all supervisors to stay atop problems before they escalate. These engineers prepare timelines for supervisors to follow. Project engineers will oversee and coordinate with site engineers on the technical aspects of the project. These professionals are responsible for status and budget reports as well as personnel assignments.

Job responsibilities of a project engineer include:

  • Reviewing of all plans and proposals before meeting management
  • Reviewing bids for new projects
  • Examining and inspecting of all drafts and blueprints
  • Preparing of cost estimates for materials, equipment and labor

Related Careers

Architects, like site engineers, are construction experts in their knowledge of building codes, plans and custom designing of homes, buildings and factories. Construction management is a related field for project engineering when it comes to the background education and the supervisory relationship between management and employees.

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