Careers in Highway Transportation

A young man in a jumpsuit stands underneath a raised truck to do some repairs.

Heavy Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Service Technicians

Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians inspect, maintain, and repair vehicles and machinery used in construction, farming, rail transportation, and other industries. Most heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians have a high school diploma or equivalent. Because vehicle and equipment technology is increasingly sophisticated and computerized, some employers prefer to hire service technicians who have completed a formal training program at a postsecondary institution.

(avg salary: $43,820/yr)

An older man teaches two new recruits how to use some machinery.

Industrial Engineers

Industrial engineers find ways to eliminate wastefulness in production processes. They devise efficient ways to use workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service.Industrial engineers need a bachelor’s degree, typically in industrial engineering. However, many industrial engineers have degrees in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, manufacturing engineering, industrial engineering technology, or general engineering.

(avg salary: $78,860/yr)

A man in an orange vest and a hard hat uses a theodolite to survey the landscape.

Surveying and Mapping Technicians

Surveying and mapping technicians assist surveyors, cartographers, and photogrammetrists and help collect data and make maps of the earth’s surface. Surveying technicians visit sites to take measurements of the land. Mapping technicians use geographic data to create maps.Surveying technicians usually need a high school diploma. However, mapping technicians often need formal education after high school to study technology applications, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

(avg salary: $39,670/yr)

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Materials Engineers

Materials engineers develop, process, and test materials used to create a range of products. They work with metals, ceramics, plastics, composites, and other substances to create new materials that meet certain mechanical, electrical, and chemical requirements. Materials engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering or in a related engineering field. Completing internships and cooperative engineering programs while in school can be helpful in getting hired as a materials engineer.

(avg salary: $85,150/yr)

Three men in hard hats discuss some blueprints.

Civil Engineering Technicians

Civil engineering technicians help civil engineers plan and design the construction of highways, bridges, utilities, and other major infrastructure projects. They also help with commercial, residential, and land development. Civil engineering technicians work under the direction of licensed civil engineers. Civil engineering technicians work in offices, where they help civil engineers plan and design projects. Civil engineering technicians sometimes visit the jobsite where a construction project is taking place, to collect or test materials or observe the project.

(avg salary: $47,560/yr)

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Construction Managers

Construction managers plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction projects from development to completion. Many construction managers have a main office, but spend most of their time working out of a field office at a construction site, where they monitor the project and make daily decisions about construction activities. The need to meet deadlines and respond to emergencies often requires construction managers to work many hours. Large construction firms increasingly prefer candidates with both construction experience and a bachelor’s degree in a construction-related field.

(avg salary: $82,790/yr)

A man makes some edits to some blueprints. Behind him is a computer and other people working.


Drafters use software to convert the designs of engineers and architects into technical drawings and plans. Workers specialize in architectural, civil, electrical, or mechanical drafting and use technical drawings to help design everything from microchips to skyscrapers. Drafters typically need specialized training, which can be accomplished through a technical program that leads to a certificate or an associate’s degree in drafting.

(avg salary: $49,630/yr)