Civil Engineers: Salary Overview
Civil engineers design, build, and supervise infrastructure projects in the public and private sectors.
They may be involved in constructing roads, buildings, tunnels, bridges, airports, systems for water supply, and more.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for civil engineers was $87,060 in May 2019- this means that half the workers in this profession earned less than this amount and half earned more.
Salaries in this field vary depending on the engineer’s level of experience and education, the region of employment, the industry, and the time of the year.
The lowest 10 percent earned less than $55,380 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $144,560 in May 2019, according to BLS.
Civil Engineer Salary by Industry
Civil engineers work in a variety of industries, locations, and conditions and some positions may require frequent relocation and they may also travel abroad to work on engineering projects in other countries.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, civil engineers held about 326,800 jobs in 2018.
Their biggest employers were companies that provide engineering services; 49% of civil engineers worked in this industry.
State governments employed about 11 percent of civil engineers while local governments employed 10 percent of them.
6 percent of civil engineers worked in the industry of nonresidential building construction while 3 percent of them worked for the federal government.
Job responsibilities and work conditions vary depending on the industry of employment and salaries vary accordingly.
The highest average annual salary was reported in 2018 by civil engineers who worked for business, professional, labor, political, and similar organizations – a field that hired only 80 civil engineers and paid them, on average, with $124,430 a year.
Above-average earnings were also reported in the field of scientific research and developmental services, an industry that employed around 2,260 civil engineers and paid them a mean annual salary of $121,830 as of May 2018.
Civil engineers who worked in the oil and gas extraction field earned, on average, $120,330 a year while those who worked in the industry of waste treatment and disposal received a mean annual salary of $117,340 as of May 2018.
The biggest employer of civil engineers, companies that provide architectural, engineering, and related services, offered an average annual salary of $95,630 in May 2018.
This field employed around 167,000 civil engineers in May 2018.
The state government paid civil engineers, on average, with $85,870 per year while local governments paid them $94,870 a year, on average.
Civil engineers who work in the industry of nonresidential building construction earned on average, around $83,440 a year, while those who worked for the federal executive branch earned a mean annual salary of $94,610 a year.
Civil Engineer Salary by Compensation Structure
Civil engineers typically earn a fixed salary plus bonuses and commissions.
Many employers also offer profit sharing and health benefits such as medical, dental, or vision insurance.
According to payscale.com, civil engineers may earn anywhere between less than $500 and $10,000 a year in bonuses and between $1,000 and $20,000 a year in commissions.
They may also earn between $500-$9,000 a year in profit sharing.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of civil engineers is projected to grow 6 percent from 2018 to 2028.
Civil engineers will be needed to work especially on projects that consist of rebuilding, repairing, and upgrading bridges, dams, levees, roads, airports, buildings, and other structures that become obsolete.
The expertise of civil engineers will also be needed on renewable-energy projects such as wind farms or solar arrays.
Their job prospects depend on the level of government funding and the number of infrastructure projects that can be financed in a specific region.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Civil Engineers. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.