Career opportunities for engineers in construction
The construction industry is booming. With improvements and modernization of U.S. infrastructure — coupled with the “Silver Tsunami” of recent record-setting retirements — opportunities for engineers in the construction industry are steadily increasing. In fact, open engineering positions are slated to increase by 140,000 in the next three years, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
Since engineering is a broad area of study with many specializations and hundreds of degree titles, choosing a direction to pursue can be overwhelming.
The five main engineering disciplines in the construction industry are:
- Architectural Engineering
- Civil Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Industrial Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
Engineering degree subcategories
With increased development of renewable energy, energy storage, hydrogen fuels, and the associated infrastructure, many engineering degree subcategories have become popular. Some of these with enticing growth opportunities are: Chemical, Computer, Construction Safety, Environmental, Infrastructure, and Welding Engineering.
How long does it take to become a successful engineer in the construction industry?
To start, you will need a formal degree. Achieving this can take anywhere from two years at a trade school or up to ten years for an advanced degree. On-the-job experience is also very helpful and internships are a great way to get it.
Many internships are paid and they can help you gain an understanding of the construction industry while providing an opportunity to build your relationship with a company. It also provides you with short-term experience to help you gauge whether you would like this long term and if the job responsibilities align with what you are looking for.
While internships can vary based on the area of study and the company focus, one constant will involve active learning on the job — especially as you start out. It’s also possible that you may not get to work on your dream project as an intern.
Starting out on smaller projects helps you gain the expertise you’ll need on larger, more fast-paced projects. Working on smaller teams also allows you to focus on the basics, get more one on one time with team leaders and learn how to work closely with a diverse group of people. Ultimately, the experiences you have on each project will provide a solid foundation as your engineering career progresses.
How much does an engineer make working in construction?
Industry averages for an engineering salary across the US can be between $60k and $120k+ per year. As much as salary matters, you’ll also want to consider work-life balance, benefits, and career and personal development as well as the culture of a company. Your overall well-being depends on your happiness so it’s critical to work with a company whose values align with yours.
Mortenson's Personalized Benefits
Depending on your position, some of the full-time benefits provided are:
- Mental Health Support
- Veteran Support
- Tuition Reimbursement
- Adoption/Fertility Assistance
- Maternity/Paternity leave
- Community Outreach
- Short-term disability
- Relocation/Travel compensation
What construction jobs can I get with an engineering degree?
With an engineering degree and the right experience, some of the titles you can hold include:
- Electrical Engineer
- Project Engineer
- Design Engineer
- Field Engineer
- Safety Engineer
- Pre-Construction (Design Phase) Engineer
How do I know what career path to take?
In addition to engineering internships, it’s important to network and engage with other engineer degree holders or people working in the construction industry. These conversations will help you understand the ins and outs of a construction site and the day-to-day activities in the field.
Additionally, this networking also creates opportunities to make connections with great companies in the industry like Mortenson. You can also reach out to one of our amazing recruiters as they are more than happy to help talk through our career opportunities. They can even connect you to some Mortenson team members who may be willing to talk with you.
Does the construction industry provide job security?
The short answer? Absolutely.
Regardless of where the economy stands, the construction of buildings and infrastructure will always be needed as long as there are people. In addition to our diverse project portfolio that includes NFL stadiums, the largest solar project in the United States and everything in between, working at Mortenson provides no shortage of opportunities because we’re innovators at heart and the construction industry is constantly evolving.
There are multiple engineering degrees that can be successfully applied in construction. If you enjoy the outdoors, problem solving and tackling challenges, engineering might be the right choice for you. It all depends on your interests and passions.
The options are endless, job security is high and career development opportunities are non-stop. Ask anyone who holds an engineering degree at Mortenson – including Mortenson CEO, Dan Johnson.