How much a civil engineer earns in USA?

Civil engineering is a branch of engineering that focuses on the design, planning and construction of various structures through which some needs of the population are satisfied. Now, how much do they earn?

In this article we are going to answer the question ‘’How much a civil engineer earns in USA?’’ We will highlight the main tasks of a civil engineer, their role in society, and how paid their profession is in the United States.

How much a civil engineer earns in USA?

A civil engineer in the United States can earn up to $ 112,850 in a year, but on average they earn $ 87,060 annually.

Engineers apply scientific and mathematical principles to solve practical problems. They link scientific research and consumer needs.

Although employees can enter the profession with a bachelor’s degree, many employers prefer a graduate degree, especially for basic research. Those offering services to the public must be licensed by attending an accredited engineering program working for four years in the appropriate specialty and passing the licensing exam.

The civil engineering career, despite not being one of the highest paid careers in the United States, is undoubtedly a profession that is among the most popular.

Civil engineer: how much do they earn?

The salary of a civil engineer in the United States may be different depending on who has hired him, for example, one who works in the federal government sector, exceeds the salary of those civil engineering graduates who are practicing their profession to the state government.

Each great public work is specified in detailed plans created by civil engineers. These professionals apply science and mathematics to the design of bridges, tunnels, dams, and other large-scale projects that must last and perform well for many years and remain safe for the public.

The median annual wage for civil engineers was $87,060 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $55,380, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $144,560, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. 

Starting salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2011, of the 254,130 civil engineers working in the United States, in the first year they already had income of $ 50,000, which is quite a lot for a beginning position compared to other fields.


A recent graduate may choose to work in transportation and participate in the construction of a port, an airport or roads. Compensation for the first year in transportation is about $ 49,000 on average, according to August 2012 statistics from

Geotechnical engineers use their knowledge of the natural sciences to devise the best way to dig a tunnel, anchor a building, and retain soil and rock. They earn an average annual income of $ 55,000 in the first year. Structural engineers, who focus on stress-resistant structures such as dams, bridges and tunnels, enjoy an average of $ 63,000 in the first year.


Civil engineering tends to be a full-time position. Roughly half of engineers report to companies working on architecture projects, where they earn the industry average.

Federal government: $95,380

State government: $82,030

The federal government employs about 5 percent of civil engineers and offers first-year compensation 18% more than the industry average. State governments hire 13% of civil engineers and pay the industry average starting salary. Cities and other local governments pay their first-year engineers 7% more than the average.

In the case of the private sector, the employer of a construction company may be paying the civil engineering professional who has been chosen in the vacancy a salary that can range from $ 75,000 to $ 100,000 per year, the reason why the The salary of this type of engineering professional is high, it is due to the demands that it entails.


The industry recognizes the value of a graduate degree. Civil engineers with doctoral degrees start their first jobs with an average annual income of $ 58,000. Entry-level civil engineers usually report to a more experienced engineer. Because they work for someone already licensed by the state, they don’t need a license.


The location where you are working is another factor that directly influences how much a civil engineer earns in the USA, as a reference these are the cities with the highest average salaries for civil engineering in the United States:

  • New York: $ $102,820
  • California: $ $110,480
  • Florida: $ $90,850
  • Texas: $ $96,480

Civil engineers typically work full time and some work more than 40 hours per week (earning in average $41.86 per hour. Some of them have to work overtime, it depends on the project they take on.

What does a civil engineer do?

The functions of a civil engineer include the design and supervision of construction works to be carried out, whether it is the public sector, such as the construction of bridges, roads, tower buildings or airports.

A civil engineer is also dedicated to ensuring the right maintenance of infrastructures, so that they can meet specific needs, as well as ensuring that they are prepared for natural events that may occur.

Although civil engineers are usually carrying out tasks related to the project from their office, they also usually make monitoring visits that allow them to know if the construction to be carried out is proceeding in order according to plan, working regularly full time, for 40 hours weekly.

Broadly speaking, the most common tasks are the following:

1. Planning, design and control of urban transport systems,

2. Preparation of studies and works related to transport and logistics.

3. Preparation of studies, plans and urban planning, land use and environmental projects.

4. Planning, execution and administration of waste treatment or incineration plants and landfills.

5. Auxiliary engineering tasks (quality control, laboratory tests, supervision of health and safety issues).

Why is it good to study civil engineering in the USA?

To answer this question, it’s important to note that the United States is one of the countries that has earned the greatest positive reputation when it comes to studying for a university degree, because no matter what state of the United States you are in, in the end you will have a wide variety of options to enrich yourself as a professional.

This is due to the high quality of the educational institutions or universities that are in the United States, which also merits that once you have received your degree in civil engineering from an American university, that degree will open many doors for you internationally.

If you want to become a civil engineer in the United States, you can take a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, which lasts 4 to 5 years on average. Some universities to study civil engineering in the United States are:

  • University Of California – Berkeley.
  • Georgia Institute Of Technology.
  • Massachusetts Institute Of Technology, Stanford University.

Keep in mind that within the academic programs, the one you have chosen must be approved by ABET (ABET Accredited) which is a board that accredits and guarantees that a certain educational program of a university or college is meeting the minimum standard quality that is required for the training of said students.

So, the USA is one of the best countries to pursue an engineering career.

In this country, engineers of various specialties work with advanced technology, work on innovative projects and are also highly paid.

Civil engineering specialties

Civil engineering as such usually has a fairly broad field, which means that this discipline has different subspecialties, below I show you which are the areas of specialization of civil engineering:

Construction Management

$93,370 per year

If you want to specialize in the supervision of construction projects, ensuring the minimum risk of the works, safety and being in charge of other professionals involved in the project, then this specialization may be for you.

Environmental Engineering

$87,620 per year

Deals with the design and evaluation of strategic plans for the formation of solutions in the different environmental problems, through scientific research and sustainable development.

If your passion is to improve the environment and quality of life where human beings live, taking advantage of natural light sources or other natural resources, becoming an environmental civil engineer would be your best option.

Geotechnical Engineering

$80,668 per year.

They study the mechanical, resistant and hydraulic properties of the materials of which the land is composed. As a civil engineer specialized in geotechnical engineering, you will be able to compile and interpret the properties that make up the soil in order to give recommendations on whether the land is fertile for building.

Structural Engineering

$83,500 per year.

As an expert in structures, you will be in charge of recommending the most appropriate materials for the construction of structures that do not collapse due to their own weight, as well as the assembly of these materials to model the structures.

Transportation Engineering

$74,498 per year.

This specialization enables you to work in the construction of transportation systems, like subway’s lines in your city, tunnels, among other types of projects that involve the mobility of society from one point to another in the city.

So, How much a civil engineer earns in USA?

Civil engineering is the professional engineering discipline that uses knowledge of calculus, hydraulic mechanics, and physics to handle the design, construction, and maintenance of infrastructure. In summary, we could say that civil engineering is present in all aspects of our life.

When we walk down the street, when we go to the airport, when we commission a new house … all the constructions that make our lives easier have passed through the hands of a civil engineer.

For example, at a technical level the civil engineer must select the appropriate materials (taking into account whether the area is seismic or not). On the other hand, at the administrative level it has to comply with the current law, adjust to the delivery periods and work with a prior budget. Keep in mind that it is a multidisciplinary profession.

The Civil Engineer holds an interesting social and business position that has a significant impact on the salary earned. If we include experience and higher education, the fees will be even higher.

FAQS: How much a civil engineer earns in USA?

What field of civil engineering pays the most?

The highest paying civil engineering field is Engineering Project Managers. With an average salary of $ 56,250 up to $ 149,729.

Is civil engineering in demand in USA?

The demand for civil engineers is projected to grow 20% by 2022 (from 2012), which is pretty fast.

Which engineering has highest salary in USA?

The highest paid engineer in the United States is the Big Data Engineer, with an average salary of $ 155,500

Can a civil engineer become rich?

An engineer can get rich, yes. But that requires people to stand out and have people under their command.

Who is the richest civil engineer?

Carlos Slim Helu is the world’s richest civil engineer. However, he is not rich thanks to civil engineering, in fact, he got rich thanks to his businesses and investments. He has a fortune of approximately $ 62 billion.

In this article we answered the question ‘’How much a civil engineer earns in USA?’’ We highlighted the main tasks of a civil engineer, their role in society, and how paid their profession is in the United States.

If you have any questions or comments please let us know!


Entry Level Structural Civil Engineer Salaries in the United States | (2020). Retrieved October 7, 2020, from website:

‌Civil Engineers :    Occupational Outlook Handbook: :    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020, September 21). Retrieved October 7, 2020, from website:

Chen, W. F., & Liew, J. R. (Eds.). (2002). The civil engineering handbook. Crc Press.

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