A bridge engineer conceptualizes, designs, and prepares plans for a variety of different bridge types. The engineer may be active during the construction process as well. Bridge engineers work closely with other engineers – bridge, roadway, and hydraulics, among others – as well as construction site managers. It is the bridge engineer’s responsibility to consider the complicated and detailed factors involved in the design and construction of bridges. It is also necessary that projects stay within a set budget and are completed on schedule.
A bridge engineer may need to be on the site to monitor and manage the construction process. The engineer must guarantee that every facet of bridge design and construction processes run smoothly and must be able to resolve any problems that may arise. The bridge engineer works with government transportation agencies, sub consultants, and construction companies to make sure that the construction is completely successfully – and safely.
Before you can become a bridge engineer, a civil engineering degree with an emphasis in structures is a must. The core curriculum of the civil engineering program will include math, science, engineering courses – such as structural analysis, computer-aided drafting and computer programming. An internship during school with a consultant, construction company, or government agency is useful, but not necessary to become a bridge engineer.
Licensure is required to be a bridge engineer. The Fundamentals of Engineering Exam (FE) should be taken during your senior year or as near to graduation as practicable. After four years of experience under a licensed engineer, it is permissible to take the Professional Engineering Exam (PE). After you obtain your PE license, you will be able to sign and seal bridge construction documents as the engineer of record who is in responsible charge of the design. If you intend to perform bridge inspections or construction engineering work, you will likely be required to take additional training and have additional certifications. Because of the complexities of bridge design, it is extremely helpful to earn a Master’s degree in civil or structural engineering.
The average annual salary of a bridge engineer generally depends on the level of education, place of employment, location, and level of experience among other factors. Those who are employed in cities with a high cost of living usually earn higher than those who are employed in areas with a lower cost of living. A bridge engineer directly out of school with a Bachelor’s degree will generally earn between $45,000 and $50,000 per year and up to $55,000 with a Master’s degree. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the mean salary for a civil engineer is $77,990 and salary can vary from around $50,000 to over $110,000.
Of course, education can greatly influence how much money you make in this field. The further your educational attainment is, the higher the salary you can expect. So, if you want to be promoted and receive a higher pay, you should take up further studies. Your academic achievements greatly matter as a bridge engineer.