an engineer overseeing a project

How Long Does It Take To Get A Degree In Civil Engineering?

Insert Content Template or Symbol

Engineering is the field of science that combines creativity and innovation with scientific and mathematic principles to create new and practical solutions to problems or inventions. Civil engineering, a popular subspecialty in the engineering field, is just one example of the many disciplines. Others include electrical, petroleum, chemical, mechanical, and more. Each discipline has unique approaches, focuses, and practices that they use to design, create and implement structures, materials, machines, devices, processes, systems, and organizations. All of which is to the benefit of mankind and society. But with all the diversity in the field comes complexity. That is why we have compiled a list of all the information you need to know about a branch of engineering, civil engineering.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about the specialty, including: What is civil engineering? What do civil engineers do? And how do you become one? Keep reading to find out more.

Insert Content Template or Symbol

What Is a Civil Engineer?

Imagine every school you’ve attended, the roads you’ve traveled on, the hospitals you’ve entered, and each and every facet of infrastructure that makes up modern society. Imagine it, no matter how hard it may be and know that you have civil engineers to thank for all of these things.

Civil engineering is the field of engineering that is responsible for supervising and developing large projects and systems. Simply put, civil engineering maintains society’s structure and civil engineers oversee it all. From dams to bridges, buildings, and more. Civil engineers ensure that the construction of these large-scale projects are carried out in an effective and safe way. They also make sure that these costly and complex systems are well maintained.

These engineers can be found in jeans and hard hats, on construction sites, overseeing projects and behind desks creating solutions and developing plans. And there are no shortage of freedom within these specialties. Civil engineers have the choice to specialize even more, with some professionals focusing on specializing in structural design, while others specialize in soils and foundation.These experts are called geotechnical engineers. Some may choose to work as transportation engineers and focus on designing and overseeing the building of bridges, roads, harbors, and even airports.

However, no matter the focus a professional takes, civil engineering is a highly competitive and highly skilled discipline. As a result, civil engineer training consists of years of schooling, hands-on experience, and occupational training.

Is There a Need for Civil Engineers?

woman drafting blueprint

via Giphy

One of the notable accomplishments of modern mankind is the quality of infrastructure. It is through the infrastructure that has worked in harmony with the technology that the health and growth of mankind have been supported. For example, for there to be more effective transportation, there must be quality roads and bridges. To take flight into the air, there must airports. To learn and grow in order to develop innovative technology, there must be schools. And to remain healthy, there must be hospitals and effective sewage systems. This list could potentially go on forever but the point is clear, civil engineers are indispensable. There is no area of modern living that a civil engineer does not impact, at some level, as these creative engineers are responsible for the effectiveness of numerous aspects of everyday life.

How to Become a Civil Engineer

Insert Video
Insert Video
two civil engineers looking at the design plan while on site

Image via Pexels

As we have established, civil engineering is necessary to the success of society. It is a complex, strategic, and creative discipline and because of this, it requires years of schooling, hands-on experience, and occupational training. The safety and quality of hundreds, thousands, and maybe even millions of lives rest in the hand of civil engineers everywhere, so their work is not to be taken lightly.

As with other careers in engineering, prospective civil engineers must first start their career by obtaining a bachelor’s degree. This degree should be in civil engineering and is the base level of education that one needs to start working in this career field. Earning a bachelor’s usually takes anywhere from 4 to 5 years for most students. The curriculum ranges from basic engineering classes like math, engineering mechanics, statistics, and fluid dynamics, to chemistry, computer-aided design, linear algebra, physics, English, and engineering geology. Students should also expect to take specific classes with a focus on civil engineering such as transportation engineering, soils engineering, water, and waste-water systems, soils engineering, and structural analysis.

Additional coursework, internships on-site field work, and co-ops should also be expected. Nearly all civil engineering programs require a minimum of one summer long or semester long internship to graduate. These opportunities allow students to apply theories, network, receive mentorship, learn practical skills, and gain insight.

Students should choose a specialty, or area of concentration, to tailor their learning as civil engineering consists of many areas of work. Common specialties include construction engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, and transportation engineering.

Once the student graduates with a bachelor’s in civil engineering, they must take the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam. After passing this test and successfully completing the 4 years of training under the direction of a licensed engineer, the intern can, then take the Principles and Practices of Engineering to become licensed. This process from start to finish takes approximately 8 years.

It’s important to note that this process may be extended if a prospective student decides to pursue more education, such as a master’s degree. Although a master’s degree is not required to enter the field, it may be helpful later on. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 20 percent of civil engineers have obtained a master degree. On average extending education beyond a bachelor’s would take two additional years if a student were to take six units per semester.

Insert Image

5 Steps to Becoming a Civil Engineer

  • Pursue a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering
  • Complete an Internship
  • Choose a concentration or specialty
  • Pass exams and gain certification
  • Land entry-level job

Pay and Job Outlook for Civil engineering

Insert Video
a male civil engineer inspecting the structure while holding the plan

Image via Pexels

In 2017 the median annual salary for a civil engineer was approximately $85,000. As the median, about 50 percent of civil engineers made less than this salary and about 50 percent made more. To put this in perspective the lowest 10 percent in this field made under $54,150, while the greatest paid 10 percent made over $138,110. It’s important to note that pay is also dependent on the area of concentration a civil engineer is employed under. For example, in architectural engineering and related services, the most common employer of civil engineers paid their workers around $93,000 annually. Whereas, miscellaneous manufacturers employed those who didn’t have a set specialty and these civil engineers earned the highest salary of $149,460.

Job Outlook for Civil engineering

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2016 to 2026 civil engineering is expected to grow by 11 percent. This rate is higher than other engineering disciples and can be attributed to population growth and the need to replace existing aging infrastructure. Growth in this field may also happen as we focus more on renewable energy. It is expected that these factors will produce nearly 32,000 jobs in civil engineering over the next decade.

Conclusion

high-rise buildings

Image via Pexels

Engineering is the field of science that combines creativity and innovation with scientific and mathematic principles, to create new and practical solutions to problems or inventions. Civil engineering, a popular subspecialty, in the engineering field is just one example of the many disciplines. Civil engineering is the field of engineering that is responsible for every school, hospital, road, bridge, sewage system, and waterline that exists. This broad specialty focuses on creating, developing, and maintaining the structures and systems we use every day. Civil engineering maintains society’s structure and civil engineers oversee it all. From the building of dams, bridges, buildings, and roads. Civil engineers ensure that all construction of these large-scale projects are carried out in an effective and safe way. They also make sure that these costly and complex systems are well maintained.

These engineers can be found in jeans and hard hats, on construction sites overseeing projects, and behind desks creating solutions and developing plans. As a result, civil engineers are indispensable. There is no area of modern living that a civil engineer does not impact at some level as these creative engineers are responsible for the effectiveness of numerous aspects of everyday life. The safety and quality of many lives rest in the hand of civil engineers everywhere, so their work is not to be taken lightly. As a result, civil engineers undergo years of schooling, 8 to 10 years to be more exact. Prospective civil engineers must first start their career by obtaining a bachelor’s degree. In college, students will pick a concentration, and gain the hands-on experience they need through internships and other training. They also take general engineering and specialized civil engineering coursework before becoming certified. Those looking to get into higher positions later on in their career, should take a more extensive coursework to earn a master’s degree.

This fulfilling career is expected to grow by 11 percent from 2016 to 2026. In this same time frame, nearly 32,000 jobs are expected to be created to face he renewable energy need, and to correct aging infrastructure. And as of 2017, the median pay for a civil engineer was around $85,000.

So whether it be the creativity, innovation, variety, or room for growth that catches your eye, we hope we gave you all the information you need to begin your career as a civil engineer.

Featured Image via Pexels

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: