Senior Civil Engineer Job Description

The primary role of a senior civil engineer is to oversee the design and building of construction projects. Senior civil engineers are heavily involved in the planning process of projects, such as those encompassing roads and large buildings. They create budgets, review safety issues, conduct land surveys, and manage teams of surveyors, engineering technicians, and construction workers. Senior civil engineers are also involved in the inspection of completed projects to ensure that all codes have been met, safety issues addressed, and that the job has met all specifications.

Senior civil engineers work mainly for construction companies, engineering firms, or government offices. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the projected employment growth rate for this profession is 11 percent over the 2016-2026 period. This growth rate is based on the country’s need for upgrades to various infrastructures that should be addressed over the next decade as well as an increase in energy-renewable projects and the construction and use of waste treatment plants.


Senior Civil Engineer Duties and Responsibilities

Senior civil engineers are responsible for completing several tasks on a daily basis to satisfy all job requirements. We have examined job listings and found the following to be among those duties most mentioned in connection to this occupation:

Design Construction Projects

Senior civil engineers’ main responsibility is to plan and design large construction projects, such as highways, office buildings, medical facilities, bridges, and tunnels. They assess potential construction sites, check existing structures for upgrades, and create drawings and schematics of projects using computer-aided design (CAD) software.

Create Project Budgets

Senior civil engineers complete cost estimations for all phases of a construction project and develop a complete budget. These budgetary projections are included in technical proposals that senior civil engineers write up before planning/designing a new project.

Manage Construction Crews and Engineers

Senior civil engineers oversee construction managers and workers, contractors, junior engineers, and technicians. They ensure that all contributors to a project are performing their duties and meeting the demands of each project.

Assess Completed Projects

Once a project is finished, senior civil engineers are responsible for evaluating the structure to ensure that it meets all federal and local codes and specifications. At this stage, senior civil engineers make sure that all safety and regulatory issues have been addressed and resolved.


Senior Civil Engineer Skills

The most important skills for senior civil engineers include analytical, problem-solving, and organizational skills. Proficiency in math, strong leadership and time-management skills, and the ability to communicate with various professionals such as construction managers, technicians, and vendors are equally important. Senior civil engineers should be detail-oriented team players with a strong understanding of budgets and estimates. Along with these skills, it is important for senior civil engineers to demonstrate the following abilities:

  • Creating schematics and plans for new construction or renovation projects
  • Developing budgets for construction projects
  • Reviewing code compliance and resolving safety issues
  • Evaluating completed projects to ensure they satisfy all guidelines and specifications


Senior Civil Engineer Tools of the Trade

Senior civil engineers rely on the knowledge of many tools in order to complete all assigned tasks. If you have a desire to become a senior civil engineer, you must have an understanding of the following:

  • Civil engineering software – from structural analysis to mathematical operations, various civil engineering softwares can assist senior civil engineers in planning and completing projects
  • CAD software – used to create plans and schematics for various types of projects
  • Project management concepts – a thorough understanding of project management aspects, such as budgeting, cost estimating and scheduling, is crucial for senior civil engineers


Senior Civil Engineer Education and Training

In most cases, a bachelor of science in civil engineering is a requirement to land a job as a senior civil engineer. Many employers also request that job candidates hold a professional civil engineer certification or license. One must complete an educational program accredited by ABET in order to secure this professional certification. An educational program in civil engineering often involves hands-on fieldwork experience to help aspiring senior civil engineers obtain the experience needed to begin working in this field.


Senior Civil Engineer Salary

As reported by the BLS, senior civil engineers earn a median annual salary of $83,540; those in the 10th percentile are paid a median annual salary of $53,470 and top earners make $132,880. The highest paid senior civil engineers are those that work for architectural or engineering firms. By state, senior civil engineers earning the highest mean annual wages in the U.S. are those employed in Alaska ($120,580), District of Columbia ($107,210), and California ($104,570).


Senior Civil Engineer Resources

Use the links below to explore becoming and working as a senior civil engineer. We have supplied information about books, professional associations, and more to help you decide if this career is for you:

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) – Since 1852, ASCE has been THE source of support and education for civil engineers. It offers training and continuing education courses, conferences, journals, and other resources to help civil engineers of all levels learn new techniques, network, and keep up with current trends.

Civil Engineering Magazine – The magazine of ASCE, this online publication offers articles about best practices, ethics, and recent development in this field.

Civil + Structural Engineer – Available in print and digital formats, this magazine provides insight into industry standards, software, recent structural projects, and more.

Civil Engineering Central Blog – From hiring advice to skills development, this blog contains articles that can be helpful to both beginning and senior civil engineers.

Foundation Design: Principles and Practices (3rd Edition) – In this book, aspiring senior civil engineers can read details about up-to-date design and structural analysis processes. Provides in-depth study of load and resistance, limits, state design, and more.

FE Civil Practice Problems – This book offers reviews on topics you would be tested on for the FE Civil exam and study information about structural analysis, surveying, structural design, computational tools, and fluid mechanics.


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