Civil Engineer

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

What is this job like?

Civil engineers design things. These might be roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, or water supply and sewage systems. They must consider many factors in their designs, from the costs to making sure the structure will stay intact during bad weather. This is one of the oldest types of engineering.

Many civil engineers manage people and projects. A civil engineer may oversee a construction site or be a city engineer. Others may work in design, construction, research, and teaching. There are many specialties within civil engineering, such as structural, construction, environment, and transportation.

Civil engineers usually work in areas that are industry and business centers. Often they work at construction sites. Some times they work in places that are far away from cities. Most engineers work a 40-hour week. Some are required to travel.

How do you get ready?

A bachelor's degree in engineering is needed for almost all entry-level engineering jobs. College grads with a degree in a science or mathematics may get some jobs. A civil engineer must get a license from the State to offer services directly to the public. A license requires 4 years of relevant work experience and passing an exam. Beginning engineers often work under an experienced engineer to get their required work experience. To teach engineering, a graduate degree, like a Ph.D., is needed.

Getting into engineering school requires a strong report card in math and science, and courses in English, social studies, and computers. Also, some schools prepare an engineer to get a job after graduation while others prepare an engineer for graduate school. It is a good idea to learn about the school before you attend.

In a typical college, the first 2 years are for studying math, science, engineering basics, the arts, and social sciences. In the last 2 years, most courses are in engineering, mostly in a single branch. Civil engineering is one of the more common branches of engineering.

Engineers should be creative, curious, analytical, and detail-oriented. They should be able to work as part of a team. People skills are important. This is because engineers often work with people in a wide range of fields.

Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

See also: Engineers.

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