From the water we drink to the roads we travel, civil engineers affect many areas of our daily lives. They design and oversee the construction and maintenance of building structures and public infrastructure, such as roads, railroads, airports, bridges, dams, irrigation projects, power plants, and waste disposal systems. Civil engineers can be found in both the private and public sectors and in various industries, including construction, and professional, scientific, and technical services.
In 2010, 3,180 civil engineers were employed in Oregon, with approximately half working in Multnomah and Washington counties. Hourly wages for civil engineers in 2011 varied from $24.48 for entry-level positions to $51.11 for experienced workers at the higher end of the pay scale. Statewide, the median hourly wage was $35.56 with an average (mean) annual wage of $76,079, making civil engineers a high-wage occupation.
A typical career for a civil engineer is anything but typical, thus they possess a variety of skills. Civil engineers must be problem solvers. They must have the ability to use mathematical and scientific principles and new technologies to identify and resolve an engineering issue or infrastructure need. They must be organized and detail-oriented to create and follow blueprints, maps, design specifications, and regulations. Finally, civil engineers must be able to work in teams and communicate effectively.
To obtain the necessary skills to be a civil engineer, workers must have a bachelor's degree. However, those with a master's degree have a competitive advantage in today's labor market.