Civil Engineering is the second oldest engineering field after Military Engineering and also one of the most popular types of engineering programs in universities. To earn a high-level civil engineer salary you must largely contribute to the environment and buildings around us. Such structures include roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings. Civil engineers basically deal with building everything around us. Due to its strict requirements, civil engineering is one of the highest paid careers you can find. It is also a real challenge!
In this article, we are going to discuss 3 career paths for highest civil engineer salary, but first, let’s explain in more details what civil engineering is and which different sub-fields or branches exist.
What is Civil Engineering?
Civil Engineering is the discipline that leads to designing, construction, and maintenance of the physical and natural environment. It begins in the public sector from the municipal areas, the national governments, up to the private sectors, and even in individual homes and international companies.
Civil Engineering has several fields, and these include Material Science Engineering, which studies fundamental characteristics of materials such as ceramics, concrete, asphalt concrete, heavy metals including aluminum, steel, thermosetting polymers, polymethylmethacrylate and carbon fibers. It involves protection, prevention and combining two types of metals to produce another metal with a desirable property.
Another field of Civil Engineering is called Coastal Engineering. This deals with managing the coastal areas which involve the protection and defense against flooding and erosion respectively.
Then there is Construction Engineering, which involves planning, execution, transportation of materials, development of sites based on hydraulic, environmental, structural, and geotechnical engineering.
Earthquake Engineering is another branch of Civil Engineering. It covers designing structures so they can withstand hazardous earthquake incidents. It is the aim of this field to understand the components of structures built on unstable grounds and predict the possible consequences or effects of earthquakes. This area is responsible for the design, construction, and maintenance of structures.
The Environmental Engineering branch of Civil Engineering, on the other hand, deals with the sanitation of the environment. It is also called Sanitary Engineering. This field manages how chemical, biological, or thermal waste are treated. It is responsible for the purification of water and air and remediation of contaminated sites after waste disposal or contamination.
Another field is Geotechnical Engineering, which involves the rock and soil supporting engineering systems. This field uses the knowledge in soil science, material science, mechanics, and hydraulics to safely and economically design retaining walls, foundations, and other structures.
Then there is Water Resource Engineering, which deals with the natural resources and is mainly concerned with the collection and management of water. It involves hydrology, environmental science, meteorology, conservation and resource management. It aims to design pipelines, water supply network, drainage facilities including dams, bridges, levees storm sewers, channels, and canals. The central concept is fluid pressure, hydraulics, fluid dynamics, and fluid statics.
Structural Engineering is mainly focused on the structural design and analysis of buildings, towers, bridges, tunnels, flyover, highways, and offshore like oil and gas fields in the ocean.
Transportation Engineering deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of transportation infrastructures, which involves the streets, canals, highways, rail systems, airports, ports, and mass transit. It caters to transportation design, transportation planning, and traffic engineering.
Municipal and Urban Engineering caters to the municipal infrastructure which involves the specifying, designing, constructing; as well as maintaining the streets, sidewalks, water supply networks, sewers, street lighting, public works, public parks, cycling infrastructure and municipal solid waste management including the disposal, storage, and maintenance.
For you to earn top-level Civil Engineer salary, you must have a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, which requires a solid background in mathematics and related physical sciences. Most countries also have a licensure examination to become a full-fledged Civil Engineer. Masters and Ph.D. Programs are available is all other sub-fields or branches.
Major employers provide excellent benefits for top professionals as well as a hefty salary based on experience and education. Lots of them are government agencies so you are likely to work within the public sector.
Top 3 Jobs for Highest Civil Engineer Salary
Engineering Project Managers
An Engineering Project Manager is responsible for the planning, directing, organizing of projects, preparing proposals, maintaining financial records, creating a product strategy and ensuring the projects strictly follow the safety regulations.
The role of an Engineering Project Manager is to survey a project and provide engineering support services for all divisions and a backup for all members of the engineering department as needed. Another responsibility for this post is to process practical experience in various fields of engineering including civil, mechanical, electrical and environmental.
You must have excellent communication skills, the ability to manage time efficiently and capacity to work with little supervision. A bachelor’s degree of science in the civil engineering discipline is required in this field.
An Engineering Project Manager can expect compensation from $55k - $106k (depending on states) and has been seen to go as high as $196k per year, making it the highest Civil Engineer Salary on our list.
Senior Civil Engineer
A Senior Civil Engineer is responsible for the planning, designing, developing, and managing of projects to construct and repair buildings, bridges, highways and other structures.
The primary responsibilities of a Senior Civil Engineer are to conduct engineering division review and approve residential and commercial projects and construction drawings during the building of such. It is also the duty of the Senior Civil Engineer to review permits, ensure compliance with the codes and standards, screen traffic and parking issues, including drainage issues and right-of-way issues, and secure unique requirements of planning.
Part of the job description of a senior civil engineer is to act as the City Engineer in the absence of such. They help manage the development and implementation of a stormwater management program to ensure permit requirements are met. They also conduct traffic studies to support compliance with state and local codes and support project design projections.
They also determine the selection criteria and work with engineering and purchasing staff to select the contractors and engineering consultant. They specify parameters and scope of work for the contractors and consultants, review and approve work done by the consultants, including pay request from them, and supervise staff engineers and public services.
They are responsible for providing technical assistance and consulting with other departments regarding engineering functions including site development, drainage, and transportation; providing training related to the use and development of the geographic information system and its database as well as software applications, answering technical questions and providing information to the public.
Those who search employment within the field require a university degree in Civil Engineering and at least 6 years of experience in surveying, engineering design, inspection and drafting, which includes supervisory responsibilities.
Based on the official data report, the average annual salary for a Senior Civil Engineer ranges from $79k to $132k annually, and I have seen it go up to $163k per year, which makes a professional working in this field the 2nd highest paid Civil Engineer on our list.
An Engineering Manager coordinates and directs design projects, making detailed plans to accomplish goals and directs the integration of technical activities. They also analyze technology, resource needs, and market demands to plan and assess the feasibility of designs.
An Engineering Manager is accountable for the planning and directing of the installation, testing, operation, maintenance and repair of facilities and equipment. They are responsible for directing, reviewing and approving of product designs and changes. They prepare budgets, bids, and contracts while addressing negotiation of research contracts.
They also develop and implement policies, standards, and procedures for the engineering and technical work performed in the department and perform administrative functions such as reviewing and writing reports, approving expenditures, enforcing rules and making decisions about the materials to purchase or services needed.
A bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a managerial experience is needed for this position.
According to statistics, the median salary for a Civil Engineering Manager ranges from $81k to $97k per year, making it the 3rd highest Civil Engineer Salary on our list. Although entry level salaries will be higher for this group, range is rather small making it less possible increase salary with experience.