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Career Ladders

Engineer Career FAQ

Are engineering positions civil service?

Yes.  After completing a six month probationary period, engineers achieve permanent civil service status.

Do I have to be a resident of the City of Philadelphia to apply for a job as a Graduate Engineer?

No. Engineers are required to become City residents within twelve months of being hired.

Which City departments employ engineers?

Nine City departments currently employ civil service engineers.  The number of civil service engineering jobs located in each department can be found in the table below. The number of positions fluctuates slightly.

Department Number of Engineers
Capital Program Office18
Licenses and Inspections14
City Controller1
Mayor’s Office of Information Services1

Where are the jobs located?

Jobs are located throughout the City.  A significant number of jobs are located in Center City, at Municipal Services Building (15th and JFK Blvd.), 1515 Arch Street, and 1101 Market Street.  Other jobs are located at Water Department treatment plants, Philadelphia International Airport, and several other offices and construction sites throughout the City.

All Center City jobs are within easy walking distance of the Broad Street subway, the Market-Frankford elevated line, two regional rail stations and several bus routes.  Ample free parking is available at most facilities located outside of Center City.

What salary can I expect during my first years with the City?

Entry Level Graduate Engineer salary $47,818
Eligible for Promotion to Engineer 1 (after 1 year) $51,960
Eligible for Promotion to Engineer 2 (after 2 years) $56,617
Possible Promotion to Engineering Specialist (after 3 years) $63,367
Engineering Specialist Increment (after one year at that level) $67,098

Does the City of Philadelphia offer a hiring bonus for engineers?

Yes.  Newly hired Graduate Civil Engineers and Graduate Environmental Engineers are eligible for a $1,500 hiring bonus. The bonus is paid in two installments - $1,000 after three months of satisfactory employment and $500 after twelve months of satisfactory employment.

Newly hired Graduate Electrical Engineers and Graduate Mechanical Engineers are eligible for a $2,500 hiring bonus.  The bonus is paid in two installments - $1,500 after three months of satisfactory employment and $1,000 after twelve months of satisfactory employment.

Are engineers who work for the City of Philadelphia eligible for other bonuses?

Yes.  Engineers are eligible for annual bonuses of up to $3,000.  A bonus of $2,000 is awarded to engineers who have a professional engineer license.  A bonus of $1,000 is awarded to engineers who have a graduate level degree in an area related to engineering.  Engineers must have a performance rating of at least superior to be eligible for the bonus.

What benefits does the City of Philadelphia offer?

The City offers a generous benefits package, including paid vacation, sick and annual leave, eleven paid holidays, health benefits, pension and life insurance.

For details, see Employment Package Highlights.

How do I apply for the Graduate Engineer Examination?

See the How To Apply For A Civil Service Exam FAQ

Do I have to take a test to be appointed to a Graduate Engineer position?

Yes.  Graduate Engineers are civil service positions, so all appointments are made from eligible lists that rank candidates according to their test scores.  Currently, Graduate Engineer candidates are required to take an oral examination, which is similar to a structured interview.  Most of the examinations are administered in the Municipal Services Building.  Examinations are usually administered at least once a month.

Is a bachelor’s degree required to work for the City of Philadelphia as an engineer?

All Graduate Engineers are required to have completed a bachelor’s degree program in an acceptable area of engineering to be appointed.  With very few exceptions, all higher level engineering classes require a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

Do I have to satisfy all requirements to apply for a job as a Graduate Engineer?

No.  Graduate Engineers can apply and test for City jobs up to nine months prior to graduation.  Candidates must graduate and meet all requirements before they can be hired.

Is a professional engineer license required to work for the City of Philadelphia as an engineer?

A professional engineer license is not required for any engineering class below the supervisory / staff technical specialist level.  Some, but not all supervisory / staff technical specialist classes require a professional engineer license.

Are City of Philadelphia engineers represented by a union?

Most non-supervisory and first supervisory level civil service engineers are represented by AFSCME.  Management level jobs are not represented by a union, but most are in the civil service.

Will promotional opportunities be available?

Yes.  As a practice, the City tries to fill as many jobs as possible with current employees if there is an adequate supply of qualified candidates.

Promotional opportunities are announced on a bi-weekly basis. Notices of promotional opportunities are posted on the Personnel Department website.

Competition in Promotional examinations is restricted to current civil service employees.  If an examination is announced as a departmental promotional opportunity, only the employees of that department are eligible to compete in the examination.  When an examination is announced concurrently as both a promotional examination and as an open competitive examination for the general public, qualified City employees must be selected before outside candidates.

See the career ladder for engineers for more information on career opportunities.

Do all promotions require competitive testing?

Graduate Engineers are eligible for promotion to the Engineer 1 level after one year of satisfactory performance and to the Engineer 2 level after another year of satisfactory performance. Many engineers receive an additional promotion to the Engineering Specialist. Most promotions are based on an evaluation of a candidate’s training and experience (T&E). Candidates must submit an application and usually do not have to appear to take an examination.

What type of testing is required for promotions?

Competitive testing is required for most jobs above the Engineering Specialist level. Tests are job related, and depending on the job, the test could be a multiple choice written test, an oral structured interview, an evaluation of education and experience, a work simulation test, or some combination of these standard types of tests.

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