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“Consulting engineers are individuals who, because of training in one or more engineering specialties, are licensed professional engineers in private practice”. They serve private and public clients in ways ranging from brief consultations to complete design and coordination of projects.




Interesting Work – Each project is unique with specific requirements, existing conditions, options and cost constraints.

Participation in all aspects – You create (your engineering specialty) of a project, from the study through design, approvals, bidding, shop drawings, and construction observations.

Not stuck behind a desk – Some of your day will be made up of: meetings with clients, vendors, colleagues, utility companies, contractors and others; field investigation; and job site observations.


You are in an adversarial position – Your oversight of a project is to make sure that the owner gets the equivalent of what you specified. The contractor typically wants you to accept an inferior product; your client expects you to protect the building owner’s interest and the owner often wants better than what you specified.

The Construction Industry is “cyclical” – If you’re good at your job, you will usually be working. But, if a recession is too deep or lasts too long, you may find yourself unemployed.

Dead-line Pressure – Deadlines are constantly changing and often there are multiple projects pressing you for attention. Overtime and sorting-out the top priorities can be stressful.

Profitably Pressure – Everyone in business is driven by a profit motive; even consulting engineering firms. No matter how good that you are at your job, if you can’t make a profit for the company, you will not last.

Too Much Work – Consulting engineering firms are reluctant to turn-down projects because they can never tell when current projects will be delayed and they may have spent a year or more waiting for a project that suddenly gets the go-ahead. That creates more stress for you.

Too Little Work – Conversely too little work is even more stressful; it almost never seems like the work load is steady.

You’re the “bad guy” – During construction, the owner sees you occasionally, but usually sees the contractor every day and friendships are formed. Before you know it, in protecting the owner’s interest, you are being too hard on his friend.



Becoming a consulting engineer was one of the best decisions that I ever made. I had a different adventure every day. I hope that you will find a career as a Consulting Engineer as satisfying and fulfilling as I did.

To learn about consulting engineering read The CONSULTING ENGINEER’S “Guidebook”.  Go to