How Do I Become a Project Engineer? A Career Overview

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn about the skills, experience, and education you need to pursue a career as a project engineer.

[Featured Image] Two project engineers work at a construction site and look at documentation for their project.

A project engineer manages the technical side of a project, combining project management skills with relevant technical knowledge. They oversee a project’s lifecycle to deliver a project within budget, deadline, and specifications. Industries that you may find project engineers include construction, energy, health care, and manufacturing. If you’re interested in becoming a project engineer, it will require a certain level of experience and education. 

In this article, discover the duties and responsibilities of a project engineer, their salary expectations, skills, and more.

What is project engineering?

Project engineering is the management of technical projects by engineering professionals who have technical and leadership abilities. This may include developing project plans, creating and managing budgets, managing timeframes and resources, and overseeing technical staff. 

Why is project engineering important?

Project engineering is important because project managers are not necessarily trained in a technical specialty. While project managers have the skills to manage a project, they may need a deeper understanding of the technical elements needed to deliver project outcomes. Project engineers are more hands-on, taking on some of the ground-level work including monitoring standards, and applying technical knowledge.  


Responsibilities of a project engineer

Project engineers have a range of duties and responsibilities that span project management and technical tasks. Keep in in mind, these vary according to the industry you work in, but a core list of typical tasks includes:

  • Preparing project outlines and setting goals

  • Projecting costs and setting budgets

  • Ensuring quality control and adhering to regulatory standards

  • Working with project managers to deliver project objectives

  • Reviewing engineering deliverables

  • Managing materials and resources

  • Communicating with clients, project engineers, project managers, and project workers

  • Submitting reports on project status and updates

Required technical and workplace skills

The skills needed to apply for project engineering jobs range from workplace to technical skills Technical skills are those that represent the practical aspects of your role, while workplace skills contribute to how productive you are in a work environment.  Some examples are as follows:

Workplace skills

  • Communication

  • Listening

  • Creativity

  • Collaboration

  • Problem-solving

  • Leadership

  • Decision making

Technical skills

Project engineer salary and job outlook

While the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't compile specific data on the job outlook for project engineers, we can gain insight from its projected job growth rate between 2022 and 2032 of 6 percent for project management specialist roles [1]. 

According to Glassdoor as of November 2023, the average annual base salary for project engineers in the US is $81,515, which can rise to an average of $86,951 with bonuses, commission, and profit sharing [2]. Compensation will typically be influenced by your industry, where you work, years of experience, and location.  

How to become a project engineer

Project engineers are experts in their field, so your qualifications and experience must demonstrate this, as well as show that you have honed the qualities you need to manage a project. Let’s take a closer look.. 


The minimum education requirement to become a project engineer is typically a bachelor's degree with a relevant major. While the industry does not have a standard project engineering degree course, subjects such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and civil engineering are popular. The major you choose depends on the type of industry you work in. 

According to Zippia, 77 percent of project engineers have a bachelor’s degree and 12.3 percent have a master’s degree, with mechanical engineering being the most popular major [3].


Gaining experience is essential in becoming a project engineer, with employers typically asking for between two and four years of experience in a relevant field. However, it’s possible to enter entry-level roles with less experience. This would place you in a good position to move up and receive on-the-job training, depending on your employer.

To gain experience project engineers generally start out as an engineer since a project engineer is a mid- to senior-level position that requires experience in the field. Alongside this, you can work on developing your project management skills. Internships are another way to gain experience as an engineer. 


Certifications are a great way to boost your credentials and showcase your skills and expertise. For example, in some states and industries, you might consider applying for a professional engineering license, which allows you to apply for leadership roles and other higher-level positions.

For certification, you might consider the following options, which relate to both the technical and project management aspects of the role:

  • PMI Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is designed for those looking to start an entry-level project management role. 

  • PMI Project Management Professional Certificate (PMP) is a globally recognized project management certification that showcases your ability to manage people, processes, and business priorities. 

  • OSHA Safety & Health Fundamentals Certification is an official certificate that shows your knowledge in safety compliance to prevent dangerous working conditions. 

Industries hiring project engineers

Working as a project engineer gives you options to work in a range of industries. Usually, you’ll base the industry you choose on your technical qualifications, like the degree major you study. Industries hiring project engineers include:

  • Information technology

  • Aerospace engineering 

  • Automation engineering

  • Civil engineering

  • Petroleum engineering 

  • Production engineering 

  • Mechanical engineering 

  • Electrical engineering

As a project engineer, you can also gain work through consultancy companies.

Top companies hiring project engineers

According to Glassdoor, the top companies hiring project engineers as of November 2023 are as follows [4]:

  • JPMorgan Chase

  • IBM

  • Honeywell

  • AT&T

  • Deloitte

Getting started with Coursera

If you’ve already got a bachelor’s degree in engineering and you’re looking to start your career as a project engineer, a great strategy is gaining some skills and credentials in project management. Consider a Professional Certificate on Coursera, such as the Google Professional Certificate in Project Management or the Engineering Project Management Specialization delivered by Rice University. Upon completion, gain a shareable certificate to include in your resume, CV, or LinkedIn profile. 

Article sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Project Management Specialists,” Accessed October 9, 2023.

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