What Degree Is Required For Transportation Engineering?

A desk with civil engineering textbooks, blueprints, and engineering tools in a bustling atmosphere.

Choosing the right degree for a career in transportation engineering can feel like a complex puzzle. It’s essential to know that a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering is typically the foundation for this field.

Our article will guide you through the educational path needed to drive your future as a transportation engineer, from undergraduate study to licensure and beyond.

A bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year university is required for transportation engineering. The most useful degrees for transportation engineering are usually in civil engineering. Nearly half of transportation engineers working today hold master’s degrees.

Keep reading to steer your career in the right direction!

Key Takeaways

  • You need a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering to start a career in transportation engineering. It is good to take classes in calculus and matrix algebra.
  • After getting your degree, you must pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam. Then get four years of work experience and pass another test to become a Professional Engineer.
  • Some transportation engineers have master\’s degrees which can lead to better jobs and more money.
  • Skills like solving problems, knowing how to use computer programs for traffic, and understanding rules are important.
  • Good colleges for this subject include MIT, UC Berkeley, and the University of Texas at Austin. They teach you lots about how to make travel safe and easy.

What is Transportation Engineering?

A modern suspension bridge with a bustling cityscape in the background, captured in high definition.

Transportation engineering is all about moving people and things from one place to another. Engineers in this field work hard to make sure roads, bridges, airports, and railways are safe and work well.

They design new ways for us to travel and keep an eye on the ones we already use.

Your job as a transportation engineer could mean checking out traffic patterns or deciding where the next big road should go. It’s a big task, with lots of planning and designing required to help everyone get around smoothly.

You’ll be at the heart of making sure folks can go where they need to efficiently and safely.

Salary and Job Demand for Transportation Engineers

A modern urban transportation infrastructure network captured in a bustling cityscape photograph.

Transportation engineers can expect a competitive salary, with the average annual wage for transportation engineers being around $91,000. Job demand for transportation engineers is also on the rise, with a 7% projected growth rate over the next decade.

These professionals are needed to design and maintain efficient transport systems in both urban and rural areas.

Average salary

Understanding the financial benefits of a career can be a significant factor in your decision-making process. Let’s delve into the average salary of transportation engineers to give you a clear picture of the potential earnings in this field.

Experience LevelAverage Annual Salary
Entry-Level$55,000 – $65,000
Mid-Level$65,000 – $85,000
Senior-Level$85,000 – $100,000+
With Master’s Degree$70,000 – $90,000+

Salaries can vary based on location, company size, and the engineer’s expertise. Those at the senior level or with advanced degrees, such as a master’s, often command higher wages due to their specialized knowledge and experience. Remember, ongoing education and professional development can lead to even more lucrative opportunities within the field. Pursuing a career in transportation engineering not only fulfills a vital societal role but also offers a stable and rewarding financial path.

Job demand

Lots of people need transportation engineers. They help make sure we can get from one place to another safely and quickly. You might work for the city, a company, or even start your own business.

Right now, many jobs are waiting for smart minds like yours in this field.

You must learn a bunch about roads, bridges, and how to keep traffic moving smoothly. As you get ready to dive into your studies, think about this exciting chance to shape the future of how we move around! Now let’s look at what you need to study to become one of these important engineers.

Education Requirements for Transportation Engineering

To become a transportation engineer, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, followed by the Fundamentals of Engineering exam and professional experience. Many professionals also pursue a master’s degree and certification for career advancement.

Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering

To start your journey in transportation engineering, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year university, typically in civil engineering. This degree provides the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary for a career in transportation engineering.

Moreover, having completed two semesters of calculus and one course in matrix algebra is often required as part of the education prerequisites for transportation engineering. Additionally, obtaining licensure as a transportation engineer usually involves earning a bachelor’s degree from an ABET-accredited program in civil engineering.

Nearly half of today’s transportation engineers hold master’s degrees, making it essential to consider pursuing further education beyond a bachelor’s degree if you aspire to specialize or advance within this field.

Fundamentals of Engineering exam

After completing your bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, the next crucial step towards becoming a transportation engineer is to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam.

This exam evaluates your understanding of fundamental engineering principles and is typically taken during your final year of undergraduate studies or soon after graduation. It covers topics such as mathematics, ethics, statics, dynamics, and mechanics.

Upon passing this exam and fulfilling other state-specific requirements, you can become an Engineer-in-Training (EIT) or an Engineering Intern (EI), which are essential steps toward obtaining licensure as a Professional Engineer (PE).

Regarding the FE exam eligibility criteria for transportation engineering roles, applicants usually require completion of two semesters of calculus and one course in matrix algebra.

Professional experience

After passing the Fundamentals of Engineering exam and completing your bachelor’s degree, gaining professional experience is crucial for aspiring transportation engineers. Many employers seek candidates with relevant work experience in the field to demonstrate practical application of their knowledge.

This could involve internships, co-op programs, or entry-level positions within transportation engineering firms, government agencies, or private companies. Building a strong foundation through hands-on experience will not only enhance your skills but also provide valuable networking opportunities that can lead to future career prospects.

Furthermore, seeking out mentorship from experienced professionals in the transportation engineering industry can provide invaluable guidance and insight. Engaging in real-world projects and working alongside seasoned experts can offer a deeper understanding of the complexities involved in designing and maintaining transportation systems while also showcasing your commitment to this dynamic field.

Master’s degree

With the growing complexity of transportation systems, obtaining a master’s degree in transportation engineering can significantly boost your career prospects. By pursuing advanced studies, you gain specialized knowledge and skills that set you apart in the job market.

A master’s program equips you with in-depth understanding of traffic flow theory, urban transit systems design, and sustainable transportation solutions. Additionally, it provides opportunities for hands-on research projects and internships that expand your practical experience.

Many employers value candidates with advanced degrees for leadership positions or roles requiring expertise in cutting-edge technologies and innovative approaches to transportation engineering.

Completing a master’s degree not only enhances your technical competencies but also opens doors to higher salary potential and more challenging roles within organizations. This advanced level of education demonstrates your commitment to continuous learning and professional development while preparing you for the evolving demands of the field.


To become a certified transportation engineer, you generally need to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. This exam is typically taken after completing a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and covers the basic knowledge and skills necessary for entry-level engineers.

After passing the FE exam, gaining four years of professional experience under a licensed Professional Engineer (PE), and passing the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam are usually required to earn your professional engineering license.

Some specialized positions within transportation engineering may also require additional certifications or licenses, such as becoming a certified Professional Traffic Operations Engineer (PTOE) through the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

Necessary Skills for Transportation Engineers

To excel in transportation engineering, you need to possess a diverse set of skills that will ensure your success in this field. Here are the key skills you should aim to develop:

  1. Analytical Skills: Transportation engineers must be able to analyze complex data and identify patterns and trends in order to make informed decisions about transportation systems.
  2. Problem-Solving Abilities: Being able to identify and address challenges within transportation infrastructure is crucial for transportation engineers.
  3. Technical Proficiency: Proficiency in using various software applications for traffic analysis, road design, and geographic information systems (GIS) is essential.
  4. Communication Skills: Strong verbal and written communication skills are important for collaborating with colleagues, presenting findings, and interacting with clients and stakeholders.
  5. Project Management Skills: The ability to plan, organize, and oversee projects is vital for managing the development of transportation systems from inception to completion.
  6. Knowledge of Regulations: Understanding local, state, and federal regulations related to transportation engineering is key for ensuring compliance in all projects.
  7. Environmental Awareness: Considering the environmental impact of transportation projects and incorporating sustainable practices into designs are becoming increasingly important skills.

Best Colleges and Majors for Transportation Engineers

Top universities for transportation engineering include MIT, UC Berkeley, and University of Texas at Austin. Explore the available majors and find the perfect fit for your career goals.

Read on to discover how these programs can propel your future in transportation engineering.

Top universities for transportation engineering

When considering top universities for transportation engineering, it’s essential to look for programs that offer a strong foundation in civil engineering and specialized courses in transportation systems. Here are some of the leading universities offering excellent transportation engineering programs:

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Renowned for its civil engineering department, MIT offers a top-notch program in transportation engineering, providing students with cutting-edge knowledge and research opportunities in this field.
  2. University of California, Berkeley – UC Berkeley’s transportation engineering program is highly regarded, emphasizing sustainable transportation solutions and urban planning integrated with civil engineering principles.
  3. Stanford University – With a focus on innovation and interdisciplinary approaches, Stanford’s transportation engineering program equips students with the skills to tackle complex mobility challenges using advanced technology and design.
  4. Georgia Institute of Technology – Known for its strong emphasis on practical application and research, Georgia Tech offers an exceptional transportation engineering program that prepares students for real-world problem-solving in the transportation sector.
  5. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Their transportation engineering program is renowned for its comprehensive curriculum covering traffic operations, public transit systems, and infrastructure design, providing students with a well-rounded education in this field.

Available majors

After considering the top universities for transportation engineering, it’s important to understand the available majors that you can pursue within this field. The following is a detailed list of majors that are relevant to transportation engineering:

  1. Civil Engineering: This major equips you with the foundational knowledge of designing and constructing transportation infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and transit systems.
  2. Transportation Engineering: This specific major provides a deeper focus on traffic flow, safety, and urban planning as it relates to transportation systems.
  3. Environmental Engineering: With this major, you’ll learn about sustainable practices in transportation and how to minimize environmental impact in infrastructure development.
  4. Urban Planning: This major focuses on the design and organization of urban areas, which is crucial for creating effective transportation networks within cities.
  5. Electrical Engineering: In this major, you’ll gain knowledge about control systems and electronics that play a vital role in modern transportation technology such as intelligent traffic management systems.
  6. Mechanical Engineering: This major allows you to understand the mechanics behind various modes of transport including vehicles and their engines or propulsion systems.

Related degrees

Moving on from available majors, it’s important to consider related degrees that can also lead to a career in transportation engineering. Here are some other relevant degrees to consider:

  1. Civil Engineering: A degree in civil engineering provides a strong foundation for transportation engineering due to its focus on infrastructure and transportation systems.
  2. Environmental Engineering: This degree offers knowledge in areas such as sustainable transportation and environmental impact assessment, which can be valuable for transportation engineers working on environmentally friendly projects.
  3. Urban Planning: Understanding urban development and creating efficient, integrated transportation systems is crucial for transportation engineers, making this degree a valuable choice.
  4. Mechanical Engineering: With a focus on machinery and mechanical systems, this degree can be beneficial when designing and optimizing transportation equipment and vehicles.
  5. Electrical Engineering: Knowledge in electrical systems can be advantageous when working on projects involving traffic signals, electric vehicles, or intelligent transport systems.

Career Opportunities and Resources for Transportation Engineers

Explore various career opportunities in transportation engineering and gain valuable insights into job search tips, internship opportunities, professional organizations, relevant skills and courses, as well as additional resources for aspiring transportation engineers.

Job search tips

Looking for a job in transportation engineering? Here are some tips to help you navigate your job search successfully:

  1. Research Potential Employers: Look into government agencies, consulting firms, and private companies that specialize in transportation engineering. Consider their organizational culture and values.
  2. Network: Connect with professionals in the field through industry events, LinkedIn, and professional organizations such as the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE).
  3. Customize Your Resume: Tailor your resume to highlight relevant skills, coursework, and any internships or experience related to transportation engineering.
  4. Prepare for Interviews: Practice answering common interview questions specific to transportation engineering. Be ready to discuss technical projects and problem-solving scenarios.
  5. Stay Informed: Keep up with industry news, trends, and developments in transportation engineering by reading publications and following key influencers on social media.
  6. Build a Portfolio: Showcase your work through a portfolio that includes design projects, research papers, or any practical experience relevant to transportation engineering.
  7. Utilize Career Services: Take advantage of resources offered by your university’s career center or seek guidance from faculty members who have experience in the field.
  8. Gain Practical Experience: Look for internship opportunities that provide hands-on experience in transportation engineering to enhance your skills and build connections within the industry.

Internship opportunities

To gain practical experience and enhance your skills as a transportation engineer, participating in internships can be highly beneficial. Here are some opportunities that you can explore:

  1. Apply for internships at government transportation departments to get hands – on experience in planning and maintaining transportation systems.
  2. Seek intern positions in private consulting firms specializing in transportation engineering to learn about project management and design processes.
  3. Look for internship opportunities with companies involved in traffic engineering to understand the intricacies of traffic flow analysis and optimization techniques.
  4. Explore internship programs with construction companies focusing on infrastructure projects to gain insights into the construction aspects of transportation engineering.
  5. Consider internships with transit agencies to learn about public transit operations, including scheduling, route planning, and passenger amenities.

Professional organizations

To gain valuable connections and access to resources, consider joining professional organizations related to transportation engineering. Here are some prominent organizations:

  1. American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE): Joining ASCE provides networking opportunities, access to industry publications, and career development resources specifically tailored to civil engineers.
  2. Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE): ITE offers events, webinars, and workshops focused on advancing transportation engineering knowledge and skills. Becoming a member can provide valuable insights into industry trends and best practices.
  3. Transportation Research Board (TRB): TRB provides a platform for transportation professionals to engage in research, education, and information exchange. Membership offers access to cutting-edge research findings and the latest developments in the field.
  4. Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS): WTS is dedicated to advancing women in the transportation industry through leadership development programs, mentorship opportunities, and networking events. Joining can help support diversity and inclusion efforts within the field.
  5. National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE): NSPE focuses on promoting the ethical and professional practice of engineering. Membership provides access to advocacy efforts, continuing education resources, and professional development tools.

Relevant skills and courses

When it comes to pursuing a career as a transportation engineer, it’s essential to equip yourself with the right skills and knowledge. Below are the key skills and courses that will help you excel in this field:

  1. Proficiency in Traffic Engineering: Understanding traffic flow theory, capacity analysis, and signal design is crucial for managing transportation systems efficiently.
  2. Transportation Planning: Developing skills in transportation modeling, land use planning, and demand forecasting will be valuable for designing effective transportation systems.
  3. Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Learning GIS tools and applications can aid in spatial analysis and mapping for transportation projects.
  4. Sustainable Transportation: Gaining knowledge of sustainable practices such as public transit planning, active transport modes, and environmental impact assessment is increasingly important.
  5. Advanced Mathematics: Strong mathematical abilities including calculus, matrix algebra, and statistics are fundamental for analyzing transportation data and designing efficient systems.
  6. Highway Design and Pavement Analysis: Acquiring expertise in road geometric design, pavement materials, and structural analysis is essential for infrastructure development projects.
  7. Transport Economics: Understanding the economic principles related to transportation systems is vital for cost-benefit analysis and financial feasibility assessments.


In conclusion, transportation engineering is an exciting and impactful field that requires a strong educational foundation. By obtaining a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from an accredited institution and gaining hands-on experience, you can pave the way for a successful career as a transportation engineer.

This specialized path not only offers rewarding work but also addresses critical needs for maintaining and improving transportation systems. Remember to stay informed about job opportunities, professional organizations, and available resources to further advance in this dynamic industry.

Embrace the challenges ahead with confidence as you embark on this fulfilling journey towards becoming a transportation engineer!


(Note: The keywords for Article 2 were not provided, so I will create FAQs based on common knowledge around the topic of transportation engineering degree requirements.)

1. What kind of degree do I need to be a transportation engineer?

To become a transportation engineer, you usually need a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or transportation engineering.

2. Can I work as a transportation engineer with any engineering degree?

It’s best to have a civil or transportation engineering degree, but some jobs may accept related engineering degrees if you have the right experience.

3. Do I have to study more after my bachelor’s degree to be a transportation engineer?

Some people choose to get master’s degrees for advanced jobs in transportation engineering, but it is not always required.

4. Is it important what school I go to for my engineering degree?

Going to an accredited school is important because it means your education meets certain standards that employers look for.

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