Civil engineers design major projects such as dams, roads, bridges, water treatment systems and buildings. Because the work requires a thorough knowledge of math and engineering subjects, the basic educational job requirement is a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. Each college sets its own admissions requirements. However, taking the high school classes recommended for future civil engineers will help you get into an engineering program and make good progress toward your bachelor’s degree.
What Does a Civil Engineer Do?
Civil engineers help design and construct large structures and infrastructures like roads, water treatment plants and tunnels. Civil engineers design and oversee construction projects, like the building of roads and water supply systems. They map out budgets, survey land, test materials, create blueprints and ensure regulations are met. They also manage repairs and maintenance. Many hold supervisory positions, such as a public works director, and usually specialize in a certain area. Take a look at the following table for an overview of some of the characteristics of this field.
Career: Civil Engineers
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the only one of the seven wonders of the ancient world still standing. And it does make people wonder: How did the Egyptians, working over forty-five hundred years ago, ever manage to build it? With a base that spreads over 13.1 acres and a height of 481 feet, it would be quite a project even today. Yet the Egyptians engineered ways to meet the huge challenges they faced. And they did it all without power tools, computers, trucks, or even pulleys.
The pyramid was built in just twenty years—an incredible feat by today’s standards, but even more so when you consider that it was built using blocks weighing up to 2 tons each!
How did they do it? The Egyptians used ramps made out of mud bricks, which allowed them to drag these huge blocks up as they constructed each level of the pyramid. They also used ropes made from papyrus and hemp to hoist up materials for each course; this could have been done using levers and pulleys set up near each corner of each side of the pyramid (four at each corner), but no evidence has emerged confirming this theory yet.
In fact, we don’t know how exactly how
School subjects you need to study to become a civil engineer
You are probably going to take exams when you’re 16. If you want to be a civil engineer it’s good if your subjects include English, maths and sciences. But these subjects are also useful:
- Computer skills
- Design & technology
Civil engineers usually work in teams so if you like group work or team sports that will help.
If you can understand or speak a language then that can be very useful as civil engineering is a global industry and there are many opportunities to work across the world.
Civil Engineering Requirements & Essential Info
Civil engineers are the unsung heroes of the construction and renovation world. They’re the ones who make sure that when you go to work, it’s not raining on your head, your bridge doesn’t collapse, and your building is structurally sound.
Civil engineers usually have a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and should be able to use their math skills to solve problems. They should also be able to listen carefully and effectively communicate with others—both in person and over email.
These engineers often alternate time between working at an office and visiting sites where they can see their design ideas come to life. Duties may range from reviewing government regulations and city ordinances to designing highways! Civil engineers should have leadership skills, organizational skills, math abilities, problem-solving skills, and also be effective writers and speakers. Although associate’s degrees in civil engineering are available, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program is the minimum requirement for most civil engineering jobs, and these engineers often need to earn professional engineer licensure
|Civil engineering or related field
|State licensure required and requirements vary by state
|Projected Job Growth (2016-2026)*
|Median Annual Salary (May 2018)*
Source:*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
How to Become a Civil Engineer
Civil Engineering Courses and Education
Civil engineers are responsible for designing and managing large-scale construction projects, such as buildings, roads, bridges, water supply systems and waste disposal facilities. Aspiring civil engineers may look to the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) for a list of approved programs, as schools with this voluntary certification have been assessed and meet quality standards for the profession. High school students may consider advanced courses in mathematics, such as calculus and trigonometry, to prepare for college. Aspiring civil engineers generally begin their college careers by enrolling in chemistry, physics, and advanced mathematics courses. Some programs may include classes in computer-aided design (CAD) as part of the core requirements. Additionally, students may take courses in engineering statistics in order to develop their computational skills. Pre-major courses may also cover fundamental engineering principles and concepts.
Civil Engineering Majors
When you’re a civil engineer, it’s all about the details. That’s why you’ll want to make sure you have the right tools for the job.
After completing core course requirements, civil engineering students delve into advanced topics such as thermodynamics, structural analysis, statistics, and engineering mechanics and systems. Courses may include the completion of a design project, in which students assess structural integrity of materials. This may require the use of CAD programs to test their designs. Along with classroom learning, most programs generally require students to complete laboratory courses and hands-on work in the field, in which they might analyze substances ranging from soil to concrete. These courses help students identify basic properties of materials, as well as potential problems from using them.
Civil engineers are responsible for designing new structures and helping existing structures stay safe for years after construction. They must understand how various factors affect a structure’s safety—from weather conditions like wind speed or rain intensity on site along with temperature changes as seasons change; or soil compaction or saturation levels if underground utilities are present; or even if there’s been an earthquake nearby!
Civil engineers must also understand how human behavior can influence structural integrity:
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), civil engineers who provide their services to the public must complete professional engineer (PE) state licensing requirements. Requirements vary by state, but generally include accruing four years of work experience and completing two exams administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors.
Civil Engineering Job Outlook & Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that most states have implemented mandatory continuing education requirements to maintain a license. Credit may be given for attending seminars, participating in workshops, and completing online classes. According to the BLS, civil engineers can expect an 11% increase in jobs between 2016 and 2026. It was reported that the median annual salary for civil engineers was $86,640 in May 2018.
Civil engineers are responsible for designing, constructing, and overseeing projects involving buildings, roads, bridges, and other structures.