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5 Types of Civil Engineering (With 14 Jobs To Explore)

5 Types of Civil Engineering (With 14 Jobs To Explore)

Civil engineering involves designing, creating and maintaining physical structures, like city infrastructure. If you enjoy math and science and are looking for a way to use your skills to benefit your community or a wider population, this might be an interesting career option to explore. The field of civil engineering is broad and contains a variety of specializations, so learning about the different types of careers you might pursue in this area can be a great way for you to begin your professional journey.

In this article, we review the job responsibilities of a civil engineer, explain different types of civil engineering, list 14 related jobs to consider pursuing and review the education and skills you may need to pursue them.

What do civil engineers do?

Civil engineers design and construct the following types of infrastructure:

This profession requires precision and the ability to think analytically to build safe and functional infrastructure for everyday use. There are a variety of career opportunities within the industry, as civil engineering encompasses a large area of expertise.


5 types of civil engineering

Here’s a guide to the five major types of civil engineering:


1. Construction and management engineering

Construction and management engineering focuses on upholding safety and environmental standards while taking into account the amount of time and money a project needs for completion. This type of civil engineering is also responsible for assessing the kinds of maintenance needed to keep the infrastructure functioning properly.

Related: What’s the Difference Between Construction Management vs. Civil Engineering?


2. Geotechnical engineering

Geotechnical engineering examines how infrastructure interacts with the ground and other natural elements. It factors in local geography and which building materials work best with a particular climate. This ensures building operability and safety.


3. Structural engineering

Structural engineering uses physics and mathematics to determine the safest and most functional way to design a project. This type of engineering focuses on creating a unique and aesthetically pleasing design for a bridge or building for example, while also factoring in what materials make the structure stable and secure.


4. Transport engineering

Transportation engineering focuses on the safety and efficiency of modes of transportation and transportation systems and how to construct them in a way that lessens their effects on the environment. In conjunction with safety and environmental standards, transport engineering strives to improve the ease of travel with new and improved design ideas.


5. Water engineering

Water engineering examines how water interacts with infrastructure and how we can use it to our benefit. It focuses on ways to redirect water flow in flood-like situations, how to properly store water by the construction and use of dams, how to use engineering techniques to transmit groundwater and how to construct necessary waterways that can be of use to both rural and urban settings. This ensures there’s no waste of water and buildings remain safe.


14 civil engineering jobs to consider

Here’s a list of 14 job positions and salary expectations to help guide your career search. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, visit


1. Horizontal construction engineer

National average salary: $38,085 per year

Primary duties: Horizontal construction engineers work as a part of the army, operating heavy machinery to maneuver earth materials. They’re also responsible for identifying the types of soil they’re working with and selecting the right machinery to dig up and transport the soil. Horizontal construction engineers are required to complete basic training in addition to job-specific training.


2. Water hygiene engineer

National average salary: $58,435 per year

Primary duties: A water hygiene engineer builds and maintains structures that hold, carry, and maintain clean water. They’re also responsible for planning out and constructing sewage systems. They may collaborate with wastewater treatment operators.


3. Water resources engineer

National average salary: $61,459 per year

Primary duties: A water resources engineer constructs infrastructure that navigates clean drinking water to homes and cities. Re-directing water from natural springs, rivers and lakes to treatment plants and creating underground wells for water collection and storage.


4. Marine engineer

National average salary: $74,060 per year

Primary duties: A marine engineer focuses on water transportation methods; designing, constructing and repairing ships and other aquatic equipment. This position requires an in-depth understanding of physics to create durable modes of transportation. A marine engineer could help design and construct a naval ship, yacht or deep-sea drilling equipment.


5. Geotechnical engineer

National average salary: $80,697 per year

Primary duties: A geotechnical engineer assesses the local environment in the location of a proposed project. They also identify environmental risk factors that could negatively affect the completion and structural soundness of infrastructure. geotechnical engineers evaluate the subsurface soil and use tests to discover the right building materials to use in conjunction with the soil type.


6. Civil engineer

National average salary: $81,691 per year

Primary duties: A civil engineer is responsible for overseeing the construction of infrastructure and performing necessary up-keep to maintain its functionality. Civil engineers coordinate with their team to design, test and construct a project, taking into consideration government regulations, environmental factors and the long-term goals of a project.


7. Project engineer

National average salary: $82,028 per year

Primary duties: A project engineer is in charge of the planning process for the construction of infrastructure. They train construction staff and create a projected budget based on the timeline and materials needed to complete a project. A project engineer may also conduct evaluations throughout the stages of a project to determine if any alterations need to be made.


8. Traffic engineer

National average salary: $85,425 per year

Primary duties: A traffic engineer is responsible for designing roadways that help minimize or at least limit the amount of traffic build-up. They’re also in charge of determining the safest and most efficient routes through which to build roadways.


9. Highway engineer

National average salary: $88,370 per year

Primary duties: A highway engineer works specifically on the construction of major roadways, overpasses and tunnels, seeing that these forms of infrastructure are in-line with safety regulations and conducting on-site maintenance over time.


10. Structural engineer

National average salary: $89,854 per year

Primary duties: A structural engineer is responsible for creating a design for a piece of infrastructure that’s unique in appearance while also structurally sound. They conduct risk assessments before the start of a project to determine the necessary materials and physics needed to create a functional and safe structure.


11. Commissioning engineer

National average salary: $92,742 per year

Primary duties: A commissioning engineer communicates between a client and the project staff to highlight the timeline and materials needed for a project to be completed within a client’s proposed end date. This position also conducts test simulations on prototypes to see how a piece of infrastructure maintains its quality after completion.


12. Planning engineer

National average salary: $93,774 per year

Primary duties: A planning engineer is in charge of instilling the best tactics to use during construction. They do so by calculating the potential cost of a project and compare this to the required building materials, labor and time needed to complete it. The job of a planning engineer is to identify and implement cost-effective measures to a project while also being mindful of safety standards.


13. Mining engineer

National average salary: $96,223 per year

Primary duties: A mining engineer is responsible for evaluating the potential risk factors involved in extracting natural resources such as oil, metals and gas from the ground. They weigh these risk factors to determine whether or not it is safe to complete extraction at that site. Mining engineers are also responsible for assessing a particular site and estimating its commercial value.


14. Fire engineer

National average salary: $107,257 per year

Primary duties: A fire engineer has the unique job of assessing and implementing the correct fire safety elements to a building. This includes identifying structural flaws that could prevent easy exits or emergency exit signs and smoke detector placement. A fire engineer approaches the construction of a building from a fire safety standpoint and adjusts the building’s layout and features to uphold standards.

Civil engineering education and skills

Regardless of the type of civil engineering career you pursue, you may begin by preparing yourself with appropriate skills and education. To become a civil engineer, many individuals complete a bachelor’s degree in engineering, civil engineering or a related field like mathematics. Some also choose to complete a master’s or Ph.D. program in a specialized civil engineering area. You may also supplement your formal education with trainings and certificates to keep your knowledge and skills updated.

Improving your skill set is also a useful way to prepare yourself for any career. Civil engineers of all types may also benefit from skills in the following areas:

  • Mathematics

  • Problem-solving

  • Leadership

  • Computer skills

  • Communication skills

  • Attention to detail

  • Teamwork




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