Civil Engineering as a Career

Civil engineers are creative problem-solvers and good communicators.  Anyone can be a civil engineer if they share some of the following interests:

  • Do you enjoy solving problems and putting your ideas into action?
  • Are you curious about how things work and how to make them better?
  • Are you interested in improving the environment?
  • Are you socially aware and interested in helping people live better?

Any career begins with a successful, well-rounded education. To meet the challenges of civil engineering, a solid high school preparation should include courses in: English, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, advanced mathematics, chemistry, physics, and a foundation in history, social studies, and a foreign language. Computer courses are also highly recommended.

After high school, students may choose from hundreds of institutions that offer accredited civil engineering or technology programs. Most programs require at least four years of study for civil engineering bachelor's degree. Some offer a five-year program leading to a bachelor's degree after the fourth year, and a master's degree after the fifth. Also, many programs offer a co-operative program where students spend two semesters during their education working in the field to develop a hands-on aspect to their knowledge. You may obtain a list of accredited civil engineering and technology programs from ABET's website.

After obtaining your degree, you will now be ready to enter the workforce. Civil engineers are found both in the field and in the office, performing a variety of functions. Many work for private engineering firms that are contracted for projects from start to finish, while other civil engineers work for utility companies, telecommunications businesses, consulting firms, and even toy and athletic equipment manufacturers. A large number of civil engineers work in federal, state and local government public works agencies, such as water districts and transportation authorities. Civil engineers also work in academic fields through teaching, research, evaluation and publishing, generating much of the technological information available today. For more information, visit ASCE's Pre-College Outreach page.


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