How to Become a Civil Engineer

The most common, and possibly the oldest, engineering discipline is civil engineering. A few of the early achievements attributed to the discipline are the Greek Acropolis, the Egyptian pyramids, and the Roman aqueducts. Civil engineers are currently designing and supervising, among other infrastructure projects, the construction and maintenance of our bridges, highways, tunnels, homes, and water supply systems.

Modern civil engineers face different goals and challenges than their former counterparts. Still, irrespective of the era, civil engineers have made a significant contribution to improving community life and culture. Civil engineers are working on projects involving building, restoration, and reconstruction. They also collaborate with designers, technologists, and other professionals in the industry. Engineers are allowed to alternate between working in an office and visiting sites.

Duties can vary from the review of government regulations and local codes to road design. Civil engineers should have expertise in teamwork, organizational skills, math skills, problem-solving skills.¬†Although associate degrees in civil engineering are available, the minimum requirement for most civil engineering jobs is a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program.

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Civil engineers have to plan, construct, and supervise projects involving buildings, highways, bridges, and other structures. Photo credits: chandlermacleod.com

Educational Background as a Civil Engineer

Aspiring civil engineers may receive a list of approved programs from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Schools with this credential have been assessed and meet the profession’s quality standards. Students at high school may consider preparing for advanced college courses in mathematics, such as calculus and trigonometry.

By enrolling in chemistry, physics, and advanced mathematics courses, aspiring civil engineers typically start their college careers. As part of the core specifications, some courses may include computer-aided design (CAD) classes.

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Civil Engineering students study specialized topics such as thermodynamics, structural analysis, statistics, and engineering mechanics and structures after completing the core course requirements. Courses may include completing a design project where students evaluate materials’ structural integrity. To check their models, this may involve the use of CAD software.

In addition to learning in the classroom, most programs generally allow students to complete laboratory courses and hands-on fieldwork in which materials ranging from soil to concrete could be studied. Such courses help students to recognize basic material properties as well as potential problems with their use.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), civil engineers offering their services to the public must meet state licensing criteria for professional engineering (PE). Specifications vary by state but typically include the accumulation of four years of work experience and the completion of two exams conducted by the National Engineers and Surveyors Council.

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Career Path and Job Prospects for a Civil Engineer

The U.S. Labor Statistics Bureau reports that to maintain a permit, many states have introduced mandatory continuing education standards. Credit may be given to attend lectures, take part in workshops, and complete online classes. Civil engineers are expected to increase jobs by 11 percent between 2016 and 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median annual salary for civil engineers in May 2018 was estimated to be $86,640.

Conclusion

Civil engineers have to plan, construct, and supervise projects involving buildings, highways, bridges, and other structures. Our cities are quite literally in their hands. If you want to help build cities, consider being a civil engineer. For more engineering careers, click here.

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