What are the Different Types of Project Engineer Jobs?

Carol Francois

There are a range of different types of project engineer jobs, with the options typically based upon the industry and area of expertise of the candidate. A project engineer usually is the senior person on a job site and is responsible for the overall management of the engineering project. He or she is involved in every aspect of the work, from planning to actual implementation.

A project engineer is responsible for coordinating engineering projects.
A project engineer is responsible for coordinating engineering projects.

A project engineer typically has a university degree in engineering from an accredited university. He or she usually is a professional engineer with certification obtained from the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) through the completion of a series of academic- and experience-related requirements. There are a range of different engineering disciplines, but most project engineers specialize in civil engineering.

Being able to understand blueprints is important for project engineers.
Being able to understand blueprints is important for project engineers.

Most people who qualify for project engineering jobs work as a project engineer on a construction team. This role usually requires a high degree of knowledge and skill. Possible employment opportunities are available in construction firms, government agencies, or consulting services. As project engineer, he or she usually has a staff of project managers, engineers, and support staff to assist in the process.

Consulting firms are great sources of project engineer jobs. These firms are used by small to medium businesses who do not need a full-time project engineer, but require the expertise for a short project or time period. This type of position requires a combination of academic credentials and significant work experience. The consultant may be required to fill a position on short notice, or work on a project that has become stalled.

Research positions typically offer the opportunity for skilled staff to use all the experience obtained in prior project engineer jobs and apply it to a broader range of issues. For example, the Project Management Institute® and other organizations often hire project engineers to write papers about project management concepts and applications. The combination of knowledge and experience is a great way to improve the techniques used in project management.

Some of the more interesting project engineer jobs involve working on multidisciplinary teams on unique projects. For example, an architectural designer may request input and suggestions from a project engineer, especially if the design is using new technology or equipment. In some circumstances, the project engineer can provide expert advice that assists in all aspects of the design, from the selection of the materials to the implementation of the final design.

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Discussion Comments


@Mammmood - I think that you just need to broaden your scope in the event of a downturn, not just limit yourself to a construction job. Join a university, work as a consultant or step into project management, as the article talks about.

Existing projects will always need to be managed even if new projects are being put on hold. I think there are lots of ways to leverage your skills in a weak economy.


I only have one concern about construction project engineer jobs. They are cyclical and definitely affected by the state of the economy.

When the economy is booming, construction projects are going up everywhere, and with them there is increased demand for construction project engineers. When the economy is in a recession, construction is one of the first sectors to take a hit.

Layoffs begin en masse and even when the economy begins to rebound, I’ve noticed that construction tends to be a laggard in picking up the pace in hiring. I’ve heard of some people who have been out of work for nearly two years in such a downturn.

I think in that situation the best thing that you can do is to sharpen your skills, perhaps go back to school or take additional certification exams.

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