How to Become an Infrastructure Engineer
Are you interested in a well-paying career that involves working on major infrastructure projects that improve the quality of life for your fellow citizens? If so, a career as an infrastructure engineer is worth considering. Here are some quick highlights of working in this field:
• Excellent level of pay
• Diverse work settings, ranging from public hearings, to outdoors, to the office
• Plenty of room for career advancement
• Able to apply technical engineering and/or management skills
• You could work on bridges, sports facilities, highways or the electrical grid
• You would work with professionals such as contractors, project owners, architects, bankers, lawyers and/or government officials
If you want to know more about the ins and outs of this career, then read on; we’ll fill you in on the details, including an overview of what these engineers do, how much they can earn, and what you’ll need to become one!
Education Needed to Become an Infrastructure Engineer
The basic educational requirement for working as an infrastructure engineer is a four-year bachelor's degree in civil engineering from an accredited school. Some employers however, may require that you have a master’s in civil engineer, with a major in a field related to their specialized area of operations, if applicable.
For example, a municipal government looking to implement a public transportation plan may prefer to hire a candidate with a master’s degree in civil engineering, with a major in transportation planning.
What is an Infrastructure Engineer?
An infrastructure engineer is a civil engineer that works on developing, maintaining and improving municipal systems that are fundamental to keeping society running smoothly.
Areas of Specialty
Infrastructure engineering is a multi-disciplinary profession with various areas of specialty, including:
• Transportation systems such as railroads, bridges, public transit, roadways and highways
• Utilities, such as the electrical grid and water supply
• Wastewater and storm water management, including drainage systems
• Landscape architecture, land development and geomatics
• Sports and recreation facilities planning
Infrastructure Engineer: General Job Description
As an infrastructure engineer (also known as a "Municipal Engineer"), you would be responsible for maintaining and updating the infrastructure systems of a municipality or region.
You would be frequently challenged by situations where maintenance on these systems has been minimal for decades.
It would be up to you to devise ways to update these systems, and ensure that they conform with modern day safety and functionality standards.
General Job Duties
Your duties as an infrastructure engineer would vary considerably from one project to the next, and would be highly dependent on your area of specialty. In general however, you would be responsible for the following:
• Coordinating the collection of data
• Preparing written and oral reports in response to enquiries of City Council, Committees of Council, senior administration and the public
• Determining deficiencies in the infrastructure, and making recommendations for improvements
• Implementing Life Cycle Asset Management for infrastructure
• Developing and implementing sustainable infrastructure rehabilitation strategy
• Developing statistical forecast tools to determine the rehabilitation needs, costs, timelines and funding sources of the project
• Developing condition assessment criteria for infrastructure
• Applying knowledge of approaches to infrastructure rehabilitation
• Preparing and administering capital budgets for related transit projects
• Engaging and managing the work of internal project teams and external consultants as required
• Supervising staff assigned to your area of responsibility
Working Hours, Setting and Environment
Working Hours: Infrastructure engineers typically work regular business hours, but due to the need to meet deadlines many have to work evenings and weekends on occasion. They may be on call, depending on the company they work for.
Work Setting: Working environments for infrastructure engineers are as varied as the projects they work on. Their time may be divided between working at the office on a computer, sitting in a meeting, working in a lab, visiting a project work site, or in front of a public hearing.
Work Environment: Infrastructure engineers usually work with a team that may include professionals from other engineering and scientific disciplines, as well as contractors, project owners, architects, bankers, lawyers or government officials.
Who Creates Jobs for Infrastructure Engineers?
Infrastructure engineers are typically employed by the following types of organizations:
• Municipal, provincial/state and federal government departments
• Engineering consulting firms
• Construction contractors
• Property developers
• Resource industries, such as oil & gas
• Public utilities
• Railroad companies
• Manufacturing firms
• Colleges and universities
• Companies that manufacture equipment used by infrastructure engineers
• Self-employment (with enough experience and a strong network of contacts)
Infrastructure Engineer Jobs
Our job board below has "Infrastructure Engineer" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Licensure and Certification Needed
You will need to be licensed as a Professional Engineer (PE - United States, P.Eng. - Canada) in order to exercise direct control of a public project and to supervise other civil/infrastructure engineers and engineering technicians.
You will also need to have the PE/P.Eng. designation in order to sell your own engineering services publicly.
If you are not licensed, you may still work on engineering projects under the supervision of a licensed engineer. This is good news, because you will need that experience to become licensed.
Becoming Licensed in Canada
Licensure as a Professional Engineer in Canada generally requires the following:
• A four-year bachelor's degree in a recognized engineering program
• At least four years (typically) of acceptable work experience under the supervision of a Professional Engineer
• A minimum of three acceptable references
• Successful completion of an approved examination in law, ethics and professionalism
Becoming Licensed in the United States
To be licensed in the United States as a PE, you generally need to meet the following requirements:
• A degree from an accredited engineering program
• A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
• Relevant work experience
• A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam
Factors Affecting Salary
The salary level you could earn as an infrastructure engineer can vary, typically depending on the following factors:
• Your level of education
• Your level of experience
• The specific responsibilities of your job
• The size and type of your employer
• The region in which you work
• Many other factors
Salary Level of Infrastructure Engineers
Unfortunately there is no salary information available for the occupation “Infrastructure Engineer” from reliable sources. We can however, get a good idea of what you could earn by looking at the salary level of a very closely related occupation, “Civil Engineer”.
Civil Engineer Salary Alberta: According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Civil Engineers occupational group earn an average wage of between $36.00 and $70.84 per hour, with an overall average salary of $98,342 per year.
Civil Engineer Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of Americans working in the Civil Engineers occupational group is $82,220 per year (2015 figures).
Career Advancement Opportunities
As an infrastructure engineer first entering the field, you will likely start as a junior engineer, and you would train under the supervision of a mentor in order to develop your technical knowledge skills.
In order to advance your career, you would need to obtain the Professional Engineering (PE) license, because only licensed engineers can assume responsibilities for public projects.
Once you’ve gained licensure, you may qualify for advancement to more senior roles.
Once you acquire even more experience and prove your competence, you may qualify for advancement to senior technical positions, or even managerial positions, such as Head Engineer, or Project Manager.
If you have enough experience, you might choose establish your own consulting, or construction, company. If you have a doctoral (Ph.D.) degree, you may teach at a university, or conduct research.
You may also choose to apply the knowledge you’ve gained into different kinds of roles. For example, you may choose to pursue a career in sales, as a Technical Sales Engineer.
Careers Similar to Infrastructure Engineer
Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Infrastructure Engineer, as they may be in the same field, or they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and/or responsibilities.
Scholarships for Becoming a Civil Engineer
The Applicable Majors section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as an Infrastructure Engineer. You can search for scholarships matched to those fields of study on our Civil Engineering Scholarships page.
Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!
Please consult the following resources* to learn more about what it takes to become an infrastructure engineer:
• National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2011: "Civil Engineers.” (n.d.). Statistics Canada. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
• Occupational Profile: "Civil Engineer.” (n.d.). Alberta Government - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
• Occupational Outlook Handbook: "Civil Engineers.” (n.d.). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
*Most of the information for this career guide was compiled from actual job listings on the web, which, due to their brief existence online, are not linked to as a reference.
Becoming an Infrastructure Engineer: Applicable Majors in Our System
Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for becoming an Infrastructure Engineer. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!