How to Become a Site Engineer

How to Become a Site Engineer: Step-by-Step Guide

Here are the essential steps for becoming a site engineer (these will be covered in more detail below):


1. Make sure you have the right personal traits for this work

2. Pursue a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering

3. Get work experience as a student

4. Get a job in your chosen field

5. Get professional certification

6. Advance into senior-level roles, management roles, or consultancy 


Below we've expanded on these points, to give you a complete idea of what you'll need to begin a career as a site engineer in the United States or Canada. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as a general job description & duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



What Education Will I Need?

To become a site engineer, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject such as civil engineering, structural engineering, building engineering, or a closely related field. 


Success Tip: Although a bachelor’s degree is sufficient for most jobs, some employers will require you to have a master’s degree. This is especially true for research or teaching-oriented jobs.




What Experience Will I Need to Become a Site Engineer?

Most entry-level site engineer jobs don’t require any work experience above what you gain as part of an internship while completing your engineering degree. Mid and senior-level roles often require 3-5 years of experience working in lower level roles, with progressive amounts of responsibility in those roles.



What Certification Will I Need?

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 engineers and engineering technicians. You will also need to have a designation in order to sell your own engineering services publicly.


If you are not licensed however, you can still work on engineering projects under the supervision of a licensed engineer.


Success Tip: Some employers may not require you to be licensed for entry-level jobs, but eventually becoming licensed is an excellent move for career-advancement purposes. 



What is a Site Engineer?

A site engineer offers advice in the planning, co-ordination and supervision of technical aspects of construction projects. They play a vital role in civil, road, rail and other infrastructure projects, as they share responsibility for site security, health and safety and the organization and supervision of material and human resources.



What Does a Site Engineer Do?

Site engineers act as day-to-day managers on a construction site, and the main source of technical advice and quality control for everyone working on it. Their job also involves levelling and surveying a site, checking drawings and quantities and ensuring the accuracy of calculations.



What are a Site Engineer’s Job Duties?

Site engineers are typically responsible for the following tasks:


• Applying designs and plans in order to mark out the site of a project

• Levelling and surveying a site

• Overseeing health and safety matters on site

• Ensuring project deadlines are met by organizing site and project activities efficiently

• Managing day-to-day site operations, including the supervision of personnel and contractors

• Overseeing the selection and requisition of materials

• Ensuring that materials used in project conform to specifications

• Acting as the main technical adviser on a construction site for subcontractors

• Preparing project completion reports



What Traits Will I Need to Become a Site Engineer

To be an effective site engineer, you need to posses a certain set of personal traits and abilities, including:


• You have an interest in structures, including buildings or bridges

• You’re able to visualize 3D objects from 2D drawings

• You’re responsible and accountable

• You enjoy supervising people and making decisions

• You have a capacity for details

• You enjoy doing work that requires precision

• You enjoy being innovative

• You enjoy having variety in work




What Salary Could I Earn as a Site Engineer?

Site engineers earn a median salary of around $82,000 per year in the United States. This can vary based on factors such as their level of experience, education, region in which they work, level of responsibility, and other factors. 



More About Salary Levels

As mentioned above, the salary level you could earn as a site 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

• The types of products you are developing

• Many other factors


Unfortunately there are no salary figures specifically available for “Site Engineers” from reliable sources. We can however, get a good idea of what you could earn as a site engineer by looking at the salary level of workers in closely related occupations, such as “Civil Engineers”.


Salary in Alberta: According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Civil Engineers occupational group earn an average salary of $98,342 per year. Unfortunately, no reliable salary information is available for the rest of Canada.


Salary in the 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.



Who Creates Jobs for Site Engineers?

Site engineers work in construction and related industries. They are typically employed by organizations such as:


• Municipal, provincial and federal government departments

• Engineering consulting firms

• Construction contractors

• Property developers

• Resource industries

• Public utilities

• Railroad companies

• Manufacturing firms



Site Engineer Jobs

Our job board below has postings for Site Engineers in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. Just type in your city and you're set!

What Career Advancement Opportunities Exist for Site Engineers?

Displaying competence and a good work ethic can afford you plenty of career advancement options, including:


• Moving into senior-level roles

• Moving into management/administrative roles

• Moving into teaching or research roles (with a graduate degree)

• Moving into self-employment/consultancy work

• Moving abroad for similar roles

• Taking on a similar role in another company

• Moving into a different industry 

• Moving to a smaller firm that has better opportunities for advancement or ownership



What are Careers Similar to “Site Engineer”?

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Site Engineer; they may be in the same field, or they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and/or responsibilities:


• Architect

• Civil Engineer

• Civil Engineering Technologist

• Land Surveyor

• Real Estate Developer

• Site Manager

• Structural Engineer



Scholarships for Becoming a Site Engineer

The "Majors in Our System" section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as a Site 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 a site engineer:


• Job Descriptions: “Site Engineer” (n.d.). Grad Ireland. Retrieved January 27, 2017.

• Occupational Profile: “Civil Engineer.” (n.d.). Alberta Government - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 27, 2017.

• Occupational Outlook Handbook: “Civil Engineers.” (n.d.). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved January 27, 2017.

• Job Profile: “Site Engineer.” (December, 2015). AGCAS editors, Prospects. Retrieved January 27, 2017.


*Some information was also obtained from actual job postings, which due to their brief online presence, are not listed here.


Majors in Our System Relevant for this Career

We have career guides for over 60 majors in our system. Below we've outlined those that are most relevant to becoming a site engineer. Click on the link(s) to see what else you can do with these majors!


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