How To Be A Senior Civil Engineer

Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

A senior civil engineer is responsible for the design, construction, and maintenance of public structures such as dams, bridges, buildings, and roads. The civil engineer ensures that each structure is able to withstand the wear and tear of constant use.

The primary role of a senior civil engineer is that of a project manager. They will oversee the planning and building of construction projects that revolve around roads, large buildings, and so on. Civil engineers design public works like roads, bridges, tunnels, canals, dams, and water supply systems. They also build private projects like golf courses. Senior civil engineers are responsible for budgeting, inspecting completed projects to make sure they meet all safety.

senior civil engineer responsibilities

Civil engineers create, improve and protect the environment in which we live.

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.

It is important to set concrete goals before you start something new. Then you will know what exactly you are trying to achieve and what is the purpose of this project.

Assess the impact and feasibility of site due diligence, preliminary layout and up to the final engineering design.

Prepare architectural drawings and schematic designs based on project requirements.

Study and assess drawings, plans, specifications and other documents relating to construction projects.

Determine budget, project schedules and scope of work and deploy appropriate staff.

Direct, lead and support other engineering and skilled personnel in managing and executing multiple tasks and projects.

Lead and direct onsite construction teams.

Collaborate and interact with construction teams, architects and outside project developers and consultants.

Manage deliverables on time and within the budget.

Initiate and ensure standard civil engineering discipline in drawings and plans including geotechnical, wind and hydrology analyses.

Adhere to the best practices, standards and procedures of the company.

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.

How To Be A Senior Civil Engineer

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the scope of the profession is “the design and maintenance of public works such as roads, bridges, water and energy systems as well as public facilities like ports, railways and airports.” Civil engineering dates back centuries and is one of the largest sectors in the engineering field. Civil engineers are involved with these projects at every step, from the beginning designs to the construction to the oversight when the project is complete. Job responsibilities include analysis – especially in the planning stage – of survey reports and maps. A civil engineer’s duties may also include breaking down construction costs and considering government regulations and potential environmental hazards. Civil engineers also perform experiments, whether that’s testing soils to determine the strength of a project’s foundation or assessing building materials to determine whether, for instance, concrete or asphalt would work best for a certain project. They also need financial acumen, since they provide cost estimates for equipment and labor, as well as knowledge of software programs for use in planning and designing systems and structures.

How to Become a Civil Engineer in Texas
Civil Engineering Majors

After completing core course requirements, civil engineering students delve into advanced topics such as thermodynamics, structural analysis, statistics, and engineering mechanics and systems. Courses may include the completion of a design project, in which students assess structural integrity of materials. This may require the use of CAD programs to test their designs.

Along with classroom learning, most programs generally require students to complete laboratory courses and hands-on work in the field, in which they might analyze substances ranging from soil to concrete. These courses help students identify basic properties of materials, as well as potential problems from using them.

Important Qualities for Civil Engineers

Decisionmaking skills. Civil engineers often balance multiple and frequently conflicting objectives, such as determining the feasibility of plans with regard to financial costs and safety concerns. Urban and regional planners often look to civil engineers for advice on these issues. Civil engineers must be able to make good decisions based on best practices, their own technical knowledge, and their own experience.

Leadership skills. Civil engineers take ultimate responsibility for the projects that they manage or research that they perform. Therefore, they must be able to lead planners, surveyors, construction managers, civil engineering technicians, civil engineering technologists, and others in implementing their project plan.

Math skills. Civil engineers use the principles of calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced topics in mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Organizational skills. Only licensed civil engineers can sign the design documents for infrastructure projects. This requirement makes it imperative that civil engineers be able to monitor and evaluate the work at the jobsite as a project progresses. That way, they can ensure compliance with the design documents. Civil engineers also often manage several projects at the same time, and thus must be able to balance time needs and to effectively allocate resources.

Problem-solving skills. Civil engineers work at the highest level of the planning, design, construction, and operation of multifaceted projects or research. The many variables involved require that they possess the ability to identify and evaluate complex problems. They must be able to then use their skill and training to develop cost-effective, safe, and efficient solutions.

Speaking skills. Civil engineers must present reports and plans to audiences of people with a wide range of backgrounds and technical knowledge. This requires the ability to speak clearly and to converse with people in various settings, and to translate engineering and scientific information into easy-to-understand concepts.

Writing skills. Civil engineers must be able to communicate with others, such as architects, landscape architects, urban and regional planners. They also must be able to explain projects to elected officials and citizens. Civil engineers must be able to write reports that are clear, concise, and understandable to those with little or no technical or scientific background.

Licensing Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), civil engineers who provide their services to the public must complete professional engineer (PE) state licensing requirements. Requirements vary by state, but generally include accruing four years of work experience and completing two exams administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors.

Aspiring civil engineers generally begin their college careers by enrolling in chemistry, physics, and advanced mathematics courses. Some programs may include classes in computer-aided design (CAD) as part of the core requirements. Additionally, students may take courses in engineering statistics in order to develop their computational skills. Pre-major courses may also cover fundamental engineering principles and concepts.

how long does it take to be a senior civil engineer

In the United States, aspiring civil engineers typically need to complete a 4-year bachelor’s program that’s accredited by ABET. In the United States, engineering programs which get approved by Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), get legal status. This institution offers a list of accredited programs from which one can choose when deciding where to go for training. Civil engineering programs tend to offer fieldwork experience for students to get familiar with this field. Even though a bachelor’s degree is enough for a career in this field, civil engineers have to complete around 4 years of supervised work experience after graduation to achieve some independence and authority. Completing four years of supervised experience makes civil engineers eligible for the Professional Engineer (PE) license. Besides work experience, they also need to successfully complete the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam and the Professional Engineering (PE) exam to earn the PE license.

How to Become a Professional Civil Engineer - Degrees & Careers

College Requirements

Prospective civil engineers must complete a bachelor’s degree, which usually takes about four years. If you choose to earn a master’s in civil engineering as well, you can add a couple of years to that. The academic program must be approved by ABET, an accreditation board. To start a college civil engineering program, you need a high school background in mathematics, statistics, natural sciences and computer science, as well as communication skills.

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Course of Study

As college students, future civil engineers take basic courses in mathematics, statistics and physics. Advanced classes include topics such as engineering design and analysis, mechanics of engineering and fluid dynamics. Students spend a lot of time doing laboratory and field work. Some work part-time as interns or in co-op programs. If you are in a co-op program, you may work some of the year and attend school part-time. In that case, the undergraduate program may take longer than four years.

senior civil engineer salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that most states have implemented mandatory continuing education requirements to maintain a license. Credit may be given for attending seminars, participating in workshops, and completing online classes. According to the BLS, civil engineers can expect an 11% increase in jobs between 2016 and 2026. It was reported that the median annual salary for civil engineers was $86,640 in May 2018.

Civil engineers are responsible for designing, constructing, and overseeing projects involving buildings, roads, bridges, and other structures.

How much does a Senior Civil Engineer make in the United States? The average Senior Civil Engineer salary in the United States is $105,923 as of October 29, 2021, but the range typically falls between $94,463 and $118,743. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession. With more online, real-time compensation data than any other website, Salary.com helps you determine your exact pay target. 

The median annual wages for civil engineers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Federal government, excluding postal service$99,750
Local government, excluding education and hospitals$95,760
Engineering services$89,460
State government, excluding education and hospitals$84,670
Nonresidential building construction$76,230

Civil engineers typically work full time and some work more than 40 hours per week. Engineers who direct projects may need to work extra hours in order to monitor progress on projects, to ensure that designs meet requirements, and to guarantee that deadlines are met.

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