How to become a consulting engineer?

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What is a consulting engineer?

The mission of a consulting engineer is to provide expertise to professionals in different sectors, in a close and attentive approach. Its mission is to take charge of all aspects of a project and to develop solutions adapted to the problems of the field. Thus, he is in charge of developing innovative solutions within the budgetary constraints.

The skills of a consulting engineer cover almost all specialties, especially since many complementary combinations are possible. In order to carry out a project, technical and theoretical knowledge is required in a wide range of fields. They can therefore work in many different trades:

  • urbanism
  • the administration
  • architecture
  • the geoscientist
  • high technology
  • archaeology
  • the economy
  • land negotiation
  • ecology…

What are the other names in French and English for a consulting engineer?

There are different names for a consulting engineer:

  • In French :
    • senior consultant
    • consulting engineering

  • In English :
    • consulting Engineer
    • engineering consultant

What are the missions of the consulting engineer?

Whether in the public or private sector, a consulting engineer is responsible for just about every position in project development. From preliminary studies to the final work, including of course the negotiation of contracts, it is thanks to his multiple skills that he can accomplish the work of several trades. The consulting engineer puts all his expertise at the service of the client on economic, technical or even environmental issues. He evaluates the problems and proposes adapted solutions.

Thus, upstream of a project, the consulting engineer is in charge of :

  • Project feasibility study
  • Studies focused on the environmental impact of the project
  • Investment and credit studies
  • Carry out plans and calculations
  • Carry out topographic surveys
  • Carry out a test project with pre-sizing
  • Draw up a specification listing the technical requirements
  • To carry out the administrative steps, with requests for authorization and building permits

During the development of the project, the consulting engineer is in charge of :

  • Select the companies expert in building
  • Direct the execution of the work on the site and control the progress of the work
  • Respecting the budget and controlling supplier payments
  • Coordinate the various trades
  • Manage potential conflicts between the different participants on the site
  • Verify the compliance of the specifications

Faced with the complexity of his various tasks, the consulting engineer works hand in hand with the project owner who delegates him various missions in large-scale constructions. The consulting engineer mainly complements the lack of knowledge in certain areas of the supervisor. He is the second brain in coordinating operations. Its independent spirit allows it to provide its expertise at every stage of development.

How to become a consulting engineer? (studies, internships, training…)

The consulting engineer profession requires a high level of education. The scientific fields are therefore strongly recommended, even if the mastery of other disciplines, in particular languages or economics, is important because the fields they cover are so vast. Indeed, he must be aware of the social and economic realities in which he evolves, in order to propose adequate solutions. In high school, it is recommended to take two science majors.

  • After the baccalaureate, it is possible to enter a preparatory class in order to harmonize your knowledge in the scientific field. This is the most prestigious but also the most difficult path. The amount of work is substantial. More emphasis is placed on theoretical instruction. After two years, it gives access to the entrance exams of the grandes écoles. This path can be a great advantage because renowned establishments reserve places for graduates of certain prepas.
  • The integrated preparatory program is carried out within an engineering school. It can be done directly after the BAC through competitive examinations. Students have the option of specializing in a specific field or committing to a 5-year program. Theory and practice are the order of the day, and internships in companies are the main asset of this professional preparatory program.
  • The BTS and the DUT in University is more recommended to those who want to let their choice of orientation mature. The college provides a solid theoretical education and also trains students in practical activities. This type of admission gives access to a first level of diploma in order to start an engineering training.


Why become a consulting engineer?

  • The first advantage of being a consulting engineer is the great independence he has. It is quite possible to be an employee in a company, but a large number of them practice this profession as freelancers. Thus he chooses his customers, he sets his rates freely. However, her great autonomy obliges her to have a commercial soul in order to canvass client companies in her preferred field.
  • Once the studies are completed, the employability in this sector is particularly high. The unemployment rate is almost zero and is among the lowest in the market. The range of jobs it covers explains the numerous outlets, especially since it adapts to all types of profiles and demand is booming. Finally, the prospects for development are particularly stimulating. More than half of consulting engineers end their careers in management positions.
  • Obviously, with such a high level of responsibility and skills, the salaries in the sector are a very attractive aspect. At the beginning of the career, the median salary is 38,051 euros gross for a consulting engineer. At the end of the career, it can reach 95,000 euros gross, which represents an increase of more than double.

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Updated 2 January 2024