Getting International Civil Engineering Jobs

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Being a civil engineer can be a very rewarding career to have. Civil engineering jobs don't just exist in the US; there are also civil engineering jobs in Europe and civil engineering jobs in Australia. You may also find civil engineering jobs in every city and state in the union, including civil engineering jobs in Seattle, civil engineering jobs in Utah, and civil engineering jobs in Hawaii.

What Are a Civil Engineer's Job Duties?

Civil engineers are responsible for the planning and design of various transportation venues, like bridges, tunnels, highways, harbors, and airfields. They are also responsible for the planning and design of buildings and sewage systems. They work in every sector of the economy, including at the government and private levels. They are employed by architectural firms, engineering firms, construction companies, and, as stated previously, the government. They may do independent consulting work, they may work for industries like iron and steel, or they may work for public utilities. Some civil engineers choose to use their job skills to teach others how to be civil engineers by becoming teachers at universities and colleges.

Because civil engineering as a field is so diverse, most who choose this profession specialize in a certain area, such as the environment, transportation, sanitary systems, or construction.

Job Duties

A civil engineer's job duties vary depending on the area of specialization he or she chooses. For example, structural engineers know how to build buildings as efficiently and safely as possible. Along with architects, their job is to design structures, bridges, buildings, etc., to make them safe and effective. Construction engineers are responsible for actually bringing the designs that have been put on paper or constructed with computer or 3-D models into actual construction. They choose the materials and procedures by which buildings are going to be built, for example, to be the safest and most effective. Civil engineers also work to make sure that cities' water systems, canals, and flood control systems, to name just a few areas, are managed well so that the area will stay safe, or to make sure that the water supply is protected.

Simple engineers can also be sanitary engineers in that they treat waste products and purify water so that the water supply for a city remains safe. They may control air and water pollution by combining their efforts with those of environmental engineers. Those responsible for transportation may plan transportation venues like railroads, subways, airports, or highways. Some engineers even specialize in soil, not to use it as a medium, but to make sure that building foundations are going to be suitable for a particular type of soil; they can improve building foundations depending on what they find.


A civil engineer's most important concern is that the safety of the thousands of people who will be affected by his or her work will be protected. This is true no matter which area they work in.

Education and Training

If you desire to be a civil engineer, you'll need a strong background in physical science and mathematics. You'll need to be creative and logical in your thinking (sometimes disparate skills) and you'll need to be able communicate clearly in writing and through speech.

To begin, you'll need a bachelor's degree in civil engineering if you want to be a civil engineer. In most cases, this requires a four- or five-year engineering program covering all of the aspects you'll need to know about. Besides the typical civil engineering courses, such as thermodynamics, stress analysis, and structural design, you also need some social sciences and humanities classes. Many schools offer programs where you do both classroom and field work. If you want to become a civil engineer in the areas of research and development or teaching, you'll need to get a graduate degree. In some cases, your employer may help you pay for your tuition if you wish to get an advanced degree, depending on what you use it for.

After you graduate, you'll need to be trained in the field and get a state license if you want to be a professional engineer in private practice. In most cases, you'll need to have four years of experience working as a civil engineer in your chosen area of expertise before you can take the licensing exam. You also need to continue to keep up your education as you continue throughout your professional career and as advances in the field require you to do so.

Getting Your First Job

No matter your area of expertise, many civil engineers work for the government, whether on the federal, state, or local level. For this, you'll need to take a civil service examination; after you have completed this, you can check any openings listed at your state employment office.

Alternatively, you can also work in the private sector for engineering or architectural firms or in the major industries of manufacturing. In addition, your college placement office may know of job openings and help you get a job. You can also contact engineering and construction companies directly to find work. Newspaper classifieds and professional journal job ads may help you find work. And of course, the Internet is a great resource to find civil engineering jobs in your area.

Job Opportunities and Outlook

Oftentimes, you can begin as a junior engineer and then advance through the various levels, such as assistant engineer, associate engineer, and then finally to senior engineer or another similar title. This is most especially true in large firms. You may also wish to become an independent contractor after you've had some experience and can run your own business. The job outlook remains good, although some areas of specialization may suffer as the economy suffers, such as construction engineer jobs.

In general, engineers who had bachelor's degrees earned about $44,000 a year in 2004, while those with master's degrees earned about $48,000 a year and those with doctoral degrees earned about $60,000 a year.
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