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Transportation Engineers
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Description: what do they do?
Develop plans for surface transportation projects, according to established engineering standards and state or federal construction policy. Prepare designs, specifications, or estimates for transportation facilities. Plan modifications of existing streets, highways, or freeways to improve traffic flow.
Also known as:
Airport Manager, Engineer, Rail Engineer, Traffic Engineer, Design Manager, Project Engineer, Roadway Engineer, Roadway Designer, Transportation Engineer, Traffic Operations Engineer

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
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    Transcript: From 4,500-year-old Egyptian pyramids and ancient Roman aqueducts to today's monolithic bridges and giant skyscrapers, civil engineering has a long and impressive history. Civil engineers design and maintain many of the structures around us- including buildings, roads, bridges, and the systems that move water and waste for our communities. For every project, civil engineers must meet regulatory standards, prioritize safety, consider environmental risks and the endurance of materials, and anticipate costs for building as well as long-term maintenance. From entry-level positions to project leads, this is a team-based career that requires continuous problem solving. It's typical for civil engineers to specialize. Construction engineers manage large construction projects... Geotechnical engineers ensure the solid foundation of engineering projects like tunnels and tall buildings... Structural engineers design and evaluate plans for major buildings, bridges, and dams and make sure they are built to last... Transportation engineers plan roadway construction and maintenance, as well as design airports, subways, and metro transit systems. Civil engineers often work outdoors at construction sites to monitor progress and troubleshoot any problems that come up. Most work full time. They need a bachelor's degree in civil engineering... one of its specialties... or in civil engineering technology. A Professional Engineering license is required for many jobs. Civil engineering is a complex field, but it's one that leaves a lasting mark.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.

This occupation is:
  • Expected to grow much faster than average


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
United States
326,800
2018 Employment
347,300
2028 Employment
6%
Percent change
28,300
Annual projected job openings
You’re seeing projected employment information for Civil engineers because we don’t have information for Transportation Engineers.

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016 (for states) or 2018 (for the United States), the number expected to be employed in 2026 (for states) or 2028 (for the United States), and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office, 2016-26.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2018-28.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Civil Engineers* in United States
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
* You’re seeing wages for Civil Engineers because we don’t have information for Transportation Engineers.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationUnited States
10%$54,780
25%$67,430
Median$86,640
75%$112,850
90%$142,560


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2018 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • Bachelor's degree
  • No work experience
  • No on-the-job training

Programs that can prepare you:
You’re seeing education information for Civil engineers because we don’t have information for Transportation Engineers. Please note the information may not be the same for both occupations.

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Education and training assignments by detailed occupation, 2018.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained
You’re seeing education information for Civil engineers because we don’t have information for Transportation Engineers. Please note the information may not be the same for both occupations.

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Educational attainment for workers 25 years and older by detailed occupation, 2016–17.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Evaluate designs or specifications to ensure quality.
  • Design civil structures or systems.
  • Confer with technical personnel to prepare designs or operational plans.
  • Design environmental control systems.
  • Determine operational criteria or specifications.
  • Schedule operational activities.
  • Prepare project budgets.
  • Prepare detailed work plans.
  • Advise others on health and safety issues.
  • Create graphical representations of civil structures.
  • Estimate operational costs.
  • Explain project details to the general public.
  • Prepare technical or operational reports.
  • Evaluate characteristics of equipment or systems.
  • Evaluate technical data to determine effect on designs or plans.
  • Inspect facilities or sites to determine if they meet specifications or standards.
  • Direct surveying activities.
  • Create models of engineering designs or methods.
  • Test characteristics of materials or structures.
  • Direct equipment maintenance or repair activities.
  • Evaluate plans or specifications to determine technological or environmental implications.
  • Investigate the environmental impact of projects.
  • Incorporate green features into the design of structures or facilities.
  • Develop software or computer applications.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Building and Construction - Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
  • Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Speaking - Talking to others.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information.
  • Mathematics - Using math to solve problems.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one.
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Writing - Writing things for co-workers or customers.
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Systems Analysis - Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it.
  • Time Management - Managing your time and the time of other people.
  • Systems Evaluation - Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
  • Coordination - Changing what is done based on other people's actions.
  • Active Learning - Figuring out how to use new ideas or things.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - Choosing the right type of math to solve a problem.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.
  • Written Expression - Communicating by writing.
  • Visualization - Imagining how something will look after it is moved around or changed.
  • Category Flexibility - Grouping things in different ways.
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Fluency of Ideas - Coming up with lots of ideas.
  • Number Facility - Adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Check construction plans, design calculations, or cost estimations to ensure completeness, accuracy, or conformity to engineering standards or practices.
  • Design or prepare plans for new transportation systems or parts of systems, such as airports, commuter trains, highways, streets, bridges, drainage structures, or roadway lighting.
  • Confer with contractors, utility companies, or government agencies to discuss plans, specifications, or work schedules.
  • Design or engineer drainage, erosion, or sedimentation control systems for transportation projects.
  • Prepare project budgets, schedules, or specifications for labor or materials.
  • Plan alteration or modification of existing transportation structures to improve safety or function.
  • Investigate traffic problems and recommend methods to improve traffic flow or safety.
  • Prepare final project layout drawings that include details such as stress calculations.
  • Estimate transportation project costs.
  • Present data, maps, or other information at construction-related public hearings or meetings.
  • Prepare administrative, technical, or statistical reports on traffic-operation matters, such as accidents, safety measures, or pedestrian volume or practices.
  • Evaluate transportation systems or traffic control devices or lighting systems to determine need for modification or expansion.
  • Review development plans to determine potential traffic impact.
  • Evaluate traffic control devices or lighting systems to determine need for modification or expansion.
  • Inspect completed transportation projects to ensure safety or compliance with applicable standards or regulations.
  • Direct the surveying, staking, or laying-out of construction projects.
  • Model transportation scenarios to evaluate the impacts of activities such as new development or to identify possible solutions to transportation problems.
  • Investigate or test specific construction project materials to determine compliance to specifications or standards.
  • Supervise the maintenance or repair of transportation systems or system components.
  • Inspect completed transportation projects to ensure compliance with environmental regulations.
  • Evaluate construction project materials for compliance with environmental standards.
  • Develop plans to deconstruct damaged or obsolete roadways or other transportation structures in a manner that is environmentally sound or prepares the land for sustainable development.
  • Analyze environmental impact statements for transportation projects.
  • Design transportation systems or structures, using sustainable materials or products, such as porous pavement or bioretention structures.
  • Develop or assist in the development of transportation-related computer software or computer processes.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

Other resources

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.