Civil Site Engineer Job Description

Civil site engineers design and build infrastructure like roads, buildings, dams, tunnels, and water and sewage systems. People in this career work both for the private sector and on government contracts. Civil site engineers spend about half their time working in office environments and the rest of their time on construction sites conducting surveys and supervising building projects. Civil site engineers are in a supervisory position and must manage others, often while receiving very little supervision themselves.


Civil Site Engineer Duties and Responsibilities

Civil site engineers work on various projects based on where they live in the country and the type of business they work for, but the core tasks and duties are the same everywhere. Based on job listings, the main duties of civil site engineers are:

Inspect Project Sites

A number of surveys and studies must be conducted on any proposed site before construction work can begin, even when the project is greatly needed for the public good. This includes conducting soil tests, completing environmental impact surveys, and performing visual inspections of potential construction sites.

Draw Up Engineering Plans

Civil site engineers must draw up extensive blueprints and plans of construction projects. This requires precise engineering calculations and comprehensive drawings of all water and electrical systems being constructed.

Write Project Bids

Engineering firms compete for projects of all sizes, big or small. Civil site engineers are responsible for writing detailed project bids and proposals that show all costs and timelines associated with completing the project.

Supervise Construction Crews

The civil site engineer is ultimately responsible for all construction projects and for making sure those projects are completed correctly. This requires civil site engineers to hire and supervise construction crews and visit construction sites often to make sure plans are proceeding on time and on budget.

Obtain All Permits and Permissions

Before construction work can begin on any site, all necessary permits must be obtained from city, country, or state governments. This requires filling out paperwork and having plans checked and approved by inspectors.


Civil Site Engineer Skills and Qualifications

Civil site engineers must possess degrees and certifications in engineering. In addition to education and experience in this field, firms hiring civil site engineers will look for candidates who demonstrate the following abilities:

  • Problem-solving skills – ultimately, civil site engineers must design and build construction projects that will serve the greater public good, which means that the ability to solve problems is essential
  • Organization skills – because numerous tests have to be conducted and permits must be obtained, in addition to other tasks, civil site engineers must be well-organized and able to multitask
  • Communication skills – writing proposals and supervising work crews takes good communication and the ability to actively listen and respond to others
  • Mathematics – civil site engineers work with precise calculations and scientific studies daily, which requires a strong grasp of mathematics
  • Leadership skills – civil site engineers must supervise and hire construction crews, and that requires good leadership abilities


Civil Site Engineer Tools of the Trade

In addition to the drafting equipment and paperwork that civil site engineers work with on a daily basis, people in this field also work with these tools:

  • 3D modeling and graphic imaging software (Autodesk, 3D Slash, Cinema 4D, Adobe, Corel, etc.)
  • Computer-aided design software (Microsoft Visio, Visual Architect, TurboCAD, etc.)
  • Office software (Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel)


Civil Site Engineer Education and Training

Civil site engineers need a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in order to pursue this profession. In addition to a degree, employers seek candidates who have a PE license. Obtaining a professional engineer’s license requires four years of study under a licensed engineer in addition to a four-year degree from an accredited college or university. After this four-year apprenticeship is complete, civil site engineers must pass two exams to receive a PE license from the state licensing board.


Civil Site Engineer Salary and Outlook

The median pay for civil site engineers is $83,540 per year, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2016, there were 303,500 jobs available in this field, with projected job growth of 11 percent expected through 2026. That rate is faster than the national average.

Civil site engineers also receive full health insurance and life insurance benefits. Most employers will also provide retirement plans and paid vacation leave as part of this job.


Civil Site Engineer Helpful Resources

Learn all the tricks of the trade and get all the latest information on being a civil site engineer with these resources:

International Association of Civil Engineering Students – Those who are still pursuing their civil engineering education can make use of the resources at this website, which is dedicated to providing information for engineering students of all types all over the world.

Land Development for Civil Engineers – This reference volume is chock-full of information about land development, from conducting soil tests to using GPS to create more comprehensive land surveys.

American Society of Civil Engineers – Visit ASCE for information about training courses and certification, to get information on the latest conferences and events, and to stay up-to-date on information about civil engineering projects.

Introduction to Engineering Construction Inspection – This book covers everything civil site engineers need to know about getting inspections for construction sites for any public works project.

National Society of Professional Engineers – Get the latest civil engineering news, career information, and education resources at this website.


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