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Civil Engineer Employment - Employment Opportunities for the Civil Engineer

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Opportunities abound for those who are seeking employment as a civil engineer. Civil engineering is composed of a wide variety of disciplines. This variety creates a large and diverse job market for those in the profession. The following sections list and summarize the numerous employment opportunities available to civil engineers.

Structural Engineering
A structural engineer designs and creates plans for the construction of buildings, bridges, dams and numerous other load-bearing structures. Every major structure built requires the professional oversight of an engineer. Consequently, this branch of civil engineering is abundant in employment opportunity. A civil engineer focusing in this discipline will have class work that focuses on structural analysis, mechanics of materials and reinforced concrete design. Due to the health and human safety aspect of designing sound structures, a person employed as this type of civil engineer also has a great deal of liability associated with their profession.

Transportation Engineering
A transportation engineer designs roads, traffic signals, highways and overpasses. A civil engineer in this field may also analyze the impact of population growth on traffic patterns. This discipline lends itself to civil engineers who enjoy problem solving, pattern analysis and drainage design. Employment in this civil engineering field is tied in closely to government funding which is typically abundant. A civil engineer in this discipline will have class work that focuses on statistics, physics, transportation design and hydrology.

Environment Engineering
An environmental engineer focuses on improving the quality of the environment and reducing the impact of construction on its surroundings. A civil engineer in this field analyzes and improves the quality of water, air and soil through the use of chemical processes and constructed devices, such as water quality ponds. Environmental engineers may perform site assessments for construction companies looking for environmentally sensitive features including karsts and wetlands. With the renewed interest in environmentalism, the employment outlook for environmental engineers is strong and on the rise. A civil engineer in this discipline will have class work that focuses on hydrology, chemistry, biology and geotechnical engineering.

Drainage Engineering
A drainage engineer designs storm sewers, detention ponds and manipulates site topography to drain away from buildings (referred to as grading). A civil engineer in this field may also delineate floodplains in order to establish flood setbacks from creeks and rivers. A popular employment opportunity for a drainage engineer is working for land developers. Land developers rely on drainage engineers to grade their sites and capture, collect, and release storm water in compliance to applicable local code. Since drainage engineering is often tied into new construction, employment opportunities for civil engineers in this field often rely on the health of the economy. A civil engineer in this discipline will have class work that focuses on hydrology, hydraulics and physics.

Geotechnical Engineering
A geotechnical engineer focuses on designing foundations, retaining walls, earthen dams and other soil based structures. Drainage, structural, transportation and environmental engineer’s design work often rely on the expertise and recommendations of geotechnical engineers. As a result, employment opportunities for this type of civil engineer usually present itself through sub-consultant work for other engineers. A civil engineer in this discipline will have class work that focuses on soil mechanics, mechanics of materials and hydrology.

Construction Management
Although construction managers do not perform civil engineering design work, companies often hire engineers for these positions to take advantage of their problem solving abilities. Civil engineers are also well-versed in construction terminology, methodology and project management, thus making them ideal candidates for construction managers. Employment opportunities for a civil engineer interested in this field are tied directly to the health of the construction industry, which is often a boom or bust type of industry. A civil engineer interested in this discipline will have class work that focuses on construction and project management.

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