Planning Engineer Job Description

Planning engineers decide and develop the most appropriate economic models and engineering methods for projects. They work in a variety of fields such as civil engineering or construction. Planning engineers are normally onsite during an engineering project to supervise all stages of work and provide solutions. Most planning engineers work full-time alongside a wide number of teammates, such as site managers, surveyors, and engineers, to ensure a project runs on schedule and that materials are sufficient. Successful planning engineers are comfortable working in fast-paced environments.


Planning Engineer Duties and Responsibilities

Although a planning engineer’s day-to-day duties and responsibilities are determined by where they work, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these include:

Create Project Execution Plans

Deciding on proper engineering techniques and milestone sequences for each project stage is the most important role of a planning engineer. They set targets for activities based on each phase of a project plan and ensure it meets client’s specifications. Planning engineers make estimations for timescales and costs using specialized design software packages.

Project Monitoring and Reporting

Planning engineers monitor day-to-day work progress for a project and provide accurate weekly and monthly reports by swiftly communicating potential progress delays or project slippages. Tracking and analyzing field results is another key responsibility. Planning engineers continually make comparisons between planned progress and actual progress and report any differences to their lead project manager. They also study the impact of alternative approaches.

Perform Project Coordination

Planning engineers analyze expenses and identify opportunities to save cost. They make sure complex projects are handled on time and on budget by overseeing the project planning, inventory services, cost control, team leadership, and project management.

Manage Stakeholder and Team Communication

A planning engineer works closely with others involved in a project and directs the daily workload of subordinate team members. They attend crucial meetings and provide current status updates to vendors, supervisors, and other stakeholders. Managing overall project communications is a critical part of them successfully completing their role.

Drive Process Improvement

Driving continuous improvement by working with leadership teams is a key duty for planning engineers. They identify gaps in key performance areas and plan activities to increase overall project efficiency. Planning engineers provide guidance and deliver schedules to facilitate project execution strategy.


Planning Engineer Skills and Qualifications

Planning engineers should be self-motivated, extremely organized, and have strong communication and project management aptitude. Employers typically seek candidates with a bachelor’s degree, an engineering certification, and the following skills:

  • Engineering skills – planning engineers need a strong understanding of technical engineering principles to predict future problems and find solutions for them
  • Strategic planning – the primary job of planning engineers is determining the necessary path for a project to get completed on time
  • Project management understanding how to scope a project and create work schedules to ensure completion within the timeframe and budget allotted is a key duty of planning engineers
  • Teamwork – planning engineers interact effectively with cross-functional team members and external stakeholders at various levels of responsibility
  • Mathematical skills – high levels of mathematical skills and analytical problem-solving are critical to the performance of this role
  • Communication skills – planning engineers need strong verbal and written skills to provide reports to clients and stakeholders as well as articulate complex project plans to team members
  • Computer skills – planning engineers use specialized computer software for engineering and project management purposes, and also to produce visual presentations, using bar charts and graphs to explain work schedules


Tools of the Trade

Planning engineers work in an office environment and are comfortable using the following software and equipment in a typical workday:

  • Microsoft Office (Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Outlook, and Access Database)
  • 3D Modeling software (AutoCAD)
  • Project management tools


Planning Engineer Education and Training

Planning engineers generally need a bachelor’s degree in engineering, mathematics, or some other related discipline. Employers typically seek a minimum of three years of professional engineering experience and technical knowledge of computers. Candidates with a Professional Engineering (PE) license are especially attractive.


Planning Engineer Salary and Outlook

The median annual salary for planning engineers is $92,900. The highest ten percent of earners make more than $130,000, and the lowest ten percent of earners make less than $69,000 per year. Full-time planning engineers employed by large companies typically receive a benefits package that includes paid vacation and health insurance.


Helpful Resources

We searched the web to find the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as a planning engineer. From thought leaders to industry groups, this list is packed with opportunities to learn, connect, and engage.

Planning Planet – a global forum for planning engineers offering training and certifications, job advice, career recruitment and more.

National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) – the official US licensing organization for construction engineering professionals, discover more information about how to become a certified engineer.

CPM Scheduling for Construction: Best Practices and Guidelines – learn best practice guidelines for scheduling processes in the construction industry. This book serves as a guide for schedulers and planners in management roles.

Critical Path Method (CPM) Tutor for Construction Planning and Scheduling – learn how to devise the fastest, most efficient path for getting complex projects done as a planning engineer.

American Society of Civil Engineers (ACSE) – this organization has 15,000 professional engineering member. Check out this site for networking events, continuing education, and professional licensing opportunities.

Professional Planning Engineer (PPE) – an online course to aid current and future planning engineers in gaining the knowledge they need to succeed.


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