How to become a Civil Engineer

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With an increasing population and old roads, bridges and buildings in need of repair and maintenance, the demand for preservation, replacement and creation of new structures will continue to rise. Civil engineers play a key role in designing, constructing and repairing the infrastructure that supports our lives and our lifestyles and will continue to be a crucial component in meeting this demand.


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What does a civil engineer do?

Civil engineers design and supervise the construction of infrastructure, including estimating costs for labor and materials, supervising the completion of projects and ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget. The types of infrastructure that civil engineers are responsible for include buildings, building complexes, railroads, dams, bridges, roads, airports, tunnels and water supply systems. Some civil engineers specialize in particular areas, such as structures or transportation, while others may work for government bodies and supervise a wide variety of projects. Click here to find out how to become a civil engineer.

What kind of training does a civil engineer need?

Bachelor-level engineering degree programs emphasize math and sciences, as well as other core courses in the first two years of curriculum, followed by an emphasis on engineering courses during the second half of the program. Civil engineering is one of the most popular disciplines within the field of engineering; therefore civil engineering classes are widely available at the undergraduate level.

Most entry-level civil engineering jobs require a bachelor degree in engineering. Upon completion of a bachelor degree and moving into an entry-level position, most civil engineers work under supervision to learn the job and gain the experience required to qualify for licensure, which is mandatory in all states for all engineers providing services to the public. Licensure requirements include completion of an Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology (ABET) approved degree program, four years of work experience as an engineer and successful completion of a state licensing examination.

Civil engineering graduates can complete the first half of the licensing process upon graduation by completing the Fundamentals of Engineering exam. The second examination, Principles and Practice of Engineering, can be taken after all licensure requirements have been met.

Advancement in civil engineering careers can be done by completing additional certifications in specialized areas of engineering, such as structural design, construction engineering and management, transportation or water resources management, or by continuing their education at a graduate level. Click here to get a list of programs to get your degree in civil engineering online.

What are the prospects for a career as a civil engineer?

In 2006, there were 256,000 civil engineer jobs in the United States. Approximately one-half of these positions were in private sector architectural or engineering firms, one-third were in government positions, and the remainder worked in the construction field. The field of civil engineering is expected to experience an 18% growth rate by the year 2016, which is faster than the projected average growth rate across industries, as well as the expected growth rate for the engineering industry overall. (1)

This growth will occur partly in response to the country’s growing population and the increase in demand for expanded transportation systems and water supply systems, additional residential buildings, and other population support structures. The need to complete necessary repairs and replacement of bridges, roads, railroads and buildings will also increase the demand for civil engineers. Click here for a list of online civil engineering degree programs.

How much do civil engineers make?

The base range for civil engineer salary is dependent on a number of factors including level of education and experience, additional certifications acquired, whether they work for the local, state or federal government or are in the private sector, and geographical location. The base salary range for a civil engineer is approximately $44,205 to $62,128, with a median base salary of $51,700 to $55,500 depending on geographical region. (2)

Civil engineering is one of the most popular disciplines within the engineering field. People who enjoy designing structures and seeing projects through from concept to completion will find civil engineering career a rewarding choice. Click here to find your path to a civil engineer career.

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