How to Become a Civil Engineer

Civil engineers work to design and implement plans for external constructions such as roads, bridges, railways, buildings, and dams.

When you become a civil engineer you are qualified for a role that will always prove challenging.

There is lots of diversity in this field, while some civil engineers spend their time in an office working on design, others will work solely on the field, and some divide their time between the two.

As a civil engineer, you will also have the opportunity to travel, many engineers travel to different sites to research, plan, and supervise projects.

Educational requirements to Become a Civil Engineer

To become a civil engineer, you will need to complete a four year civil engineering degree program with a major sequence in engineering.

During the first two years of your course, you will complete mostly science and math subjects, the second two years will have a greater focus on engineering.

To become a licensed civil engineer, you will need to make your degree is one of the courses approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

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Once you have finished your degree, there are still some further requirements to complete before you become a civil engineer.

You will need to complete the first part of your state-set licensing exam, on the fundamentals of engineering.

After gaining an entry level job at an engineering firm, you will work under the supervision of a licensed civil engineer for four years.

You will then sit a second state-set exam, this one on the principles and practice of engineering, after which you will be granted a license.

Civil Engineer Job Description

There is no doubt that when you become a civil engineer you can look forward to a challenging role.

You’ll be providing the infrastructure that helps keep the country running, roads, dams, pipes, and railways all fall under the umbrella of civil engineering.

There are many different areas of civil engineering that you might be employed in.

While some jobs may require you to spend all of your time on the field, others may require you to be outside, working on site.

Here are some of the duties a civil engineer might provide:

  • Research new projects
  • Estimate budget for projects including materials and labor
  • Create blueprints for new projects
  • Consider environmental impact of new construction
  • Supervise construction
  • Communicate with colleagues, clients, and people from the community
  • Preparing reports and proposals
  • Testing soils and other materials

As a civil engineer, there is also opportunity to specialize in a particular area.

Here are some of the niche segments a civil engineer might work in:

  • Environmental engineering
  • Geotechnical engineering
  • Structural engineering
  • Transportation engineering
  • Municipal or urban engineering
  • Water resources engineering
  • Materials engineering
  • Coastal engineering
  • Surveying
  • Construction engineering

To gain employment in these areas will need further studies, but you will also earn a larger salary.

It can be good to know when you are working as a civil engineer that there will be more opportunities during their career to branch out into these areas and expand on your professional development.

Civil Engineer Salary and Career Path

An entry level salary for a civil engineer is around $55,000, however with a few years experience, this can increase very rapidly.

About one half of civil engineers are employed by private companies including architectural and engineering firms.

A further third are employed by government bodies.

The remainder are employed by other companies, or are self-employed.

Most civil engineers will begin their careers by working for a firm while they complete their requirements for licensure.

After they gain experience, they will take on a more senior role and greater responsibility.

Some will leave and begin their own firms, or work as freelancers.

Employment prospects are good, this is a field that is expected to grow within the next few years as population grows and infrastructure requires expansion.

If you are strong in science and math, and have an interest in architecture and design, you will likely find much job satisfaction when you become a civil engineer.

You work will be challenging, but you will also be playing an important roles within the community, as you plan and implement new infrastructure.

Working as a civil engineer, once qualified, you can be assured of excellent job security as well as salary.

An great benefit of civil engineering is the possibility for further study and development.

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