What does a Civil Engineer do?

Civil engineers oversee the safety, design, logistics, and construction or repair of infrastructure projects and systems in both the public and private sectors including roads, bridges, and water supply systems. They apply scientific solutions and knowledge to improve communities and provide utilities that meet basic human needs.

Civil engineers perform soil tests to ensure foundations will be strong and analyze the results of tests for materials, including concrete, wood, and asphalt, and prepare cost estimates for the materials and equipment and labor feasibility, and survey reports and maps to provide risk analysis to plan for the phases and steps of the project as well as all costs, regulations, and possible environmental hazards. They compile, fill out, and submit permits and applications to local, state, and federal agencies and ensure their projects comply with local rules, laws, and regulations. They are responsible for the relevant education of clients and communities involved with the project, and present their findings to the public.

What responsibilities are common for Civil Engineer jobs?
  • Follow safety rules, guidelines and standards for all projects.
  • May plan, assign and supervise the work of others.
  • Review of reports and plans prepared within the office.
  • Coordinate and manage any field survey tasks and personnel.
  • Liaise with clients and agencies, subcontractors, and design teams on projects.
  • Plan, organize, and carry out pavement evaluations and investigations.
  • Engage with clients to define and achieve a successful outcome.
  • Coordinate with local and nationwide teams for project delivery.
  • Analyze survey reports, maps, and other data to plan projects.
  • Participate in team meetings, all staff meetings, and other non-billable planning sessions.
  • Work with engineering team on the production of design drawings.
  • Evaluate, select, and apply standard engineering techniques and procedures.
  • Provide cost estimates and budget projections for technical proposals.
  • Write and review/approve reports and specifications and make presentations.
  • Assist with/review scope, budget, and schedule of new project tasks.
  • Develop and apply advanced engineering solutions to complex problems.
  • Perform independent research and analysis for significant and complex engineering projects.
  • Conduct field studies and surveys to collect technical data.
  • Contribute to company standard detail and specification development and updates.
  • Prepare design reports and construction plans using local and state standards.
  • Willingness to travel to construction site locations is expected.
What are the typical qualifications for Civil Engineer jobs?
  • Bachelor's or Graduate's Degree in civil engineering, construction engineering technology, or electrical engineering or equivalent experience.
  • Experience with AutoCAD and CAD Software.
  • Prior experience in a consulting position.
  • A leader and problem solver with a demonstrated collaborative work ethic.
  • Experience with calculus and statistics.
  • Demonstrated skill in project design.
  • Fluency in surveying and site design.
  • Fluency in sediment control, erosion control, sanitary sewer management, and digging.
  • Strict attention to detail.
  • Can produce cost estimates.
EducationBachelor's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.4 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
3.7 ★
Avg. Experience2-4 years

Civil Engineer Salaries near Canada

Average Base Pay

$82,099 /yr
Not including cash compensation
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Glassdoor Estimated Salary

Civil Engineer Career Path

Learn how to become a Civil Engineer, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Civil Engineer
Senior Civil Engineer
Civil Engineer

Years of Experience Distribution

0 - 1
2 - 4
5 - 7
Not including years spent in education and/or training

Civil Engineer Insights

Read what Civil Engineer professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
John Sisk & SonJohn Sisk & Son
Quantity Surveyor
Aug 6, 2021

“This is a great place to develop your skills and get good exposure for your career.”

Amec Foster WheelerAmec Foster Wheeler
Assistant Site Engineer
Feb 18, 2023

“Friendly environment and one of the best manager with loads to learn and experience positively.”

Civil Analyst
Jun 21, 2022

“Horn has some of the best benefits and overall compensation package I've seen before.”

RG Miller EngineersRG Miller Engineers
Civil Engineer
Jan 12, 2022

“They don't micromanage you and each department great teamwork when it comes to execution of projects.”

Shapoorji PallonjiShapoorji Pallonji
Quantity Surveyor
Jan 6, 2023

“1. Provide opportunities to GETs and PGMTs 2. Good to start career and gain experience.”

Jun 8, 2023

“Communication is not always the best and the information system is not really fit for purpose.”

LA County Department of Public WorksLA County Department of Public Works
Civil Engineering Student
Nov 10, 2023

“VERY flexible work hours and I was able to do tag along on multiple field visits.”

MIBP Consulting EngineersMIBP Consulting Engineers
Graduate Civil Engineer
Jun 30, 2023

“The pay is below market rate and there is no guarantee of a promotion or increase.”

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Civil Engineer Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of civil engineers

The typical day of a civil engineer involves designing and implementing infrastructure like roads and bridges in both the public and private sectors. They're responsible for overseeing the planning, site selection, design, safety, and building of roads, bridges, ports, and more.

Yes, civil engineering can be a varied and interesting career. For example, professionals might visit an active construction site in the morning and a meeting room at the office in the afternoon. Another advantage of working as a civil engineer is that the career offers many specialties, including environmental engineering, structural engineering, and roadway engineering.

The average pay for a civil engineer in Canada is $82,099 a year, with top earners in the field achieving $106,295 a year. Look for lead and senior positions when you're ready to move up the ladder and want a salary bump.

As with any job, there are some challenging sides to being a civil engineer. For example, professionals will sometimes need to work overtime as projects near completion, which can affect work-life balance and stress levels. After becoming a civil engineer, moving up in the field frequently requires additional qualification beyond a degree.

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Civil Engineer jobs