As one of the oldest engineering careers, a civil engineer will plan and supervise the construction of society’s infrastructure. Examples of civil engineering works are buildings, dams, and highways. Projects can be new designs or replacements of previously inefficient structures. Civil engineering specialties can include construction, environmental, structural, and transportation, among others.
Nearly all civil engineering jobs require a degree. Check out the programs below which offer free information:
Civil Engineer Job Responsibilities
Civil engineering is expected to be in high demand as contemporary infrastructure ages and requires replacement. The wear and tear of society means civil engineers will have steady employment for the foreseeable future. However, exact numbers of civil engineering jobs will rely upon construction needs. Large cities and developing countries such as China will have a greater need for competent civil engineers.
With the current interest in green engineering and construction techniques, it is believed that a lengthy growth phase for civil engineers will be occurring in the near future. New green energy production facilities are expected to require civil engineers as well. Also, the integration of infrastructure into the natural environment is a new interest in civil engineering.
Civil Engineer Training and Education Requirements
A bachelor’s degree in civil engineering is the minimum for nearly all civil engineering jobs at the entry level. Any civil engineer who offers their skills directly to the public must be licensed by the state of employment. Typically, the license represents four years of work experience and the passing of an exam covering a variety of civil engineering topics. Most civil engineers have received official professional engineer (PE) certification.
Engineering school will require a strong background in both math and science fields. Computer knowledge will also be helpful. Familiarity with drafting software and schematics will be necessary. A civil engineer might be able to choose a specialization with more specific requirements, depending upon the school. The school might prepare the civil engineer for immediate work or for engineering graduate school. The school in question should be examined for which method they use.
Civil engineers should have excellent interpersonal communication skills to understand the clients’ desires. They may have to do some interviews with the media, depending upon the scope and size of the project. Civil engineers will likely be working as a part of a team for a number of their projects. Communication will be vital to the success of the team. Civil engineers should be creative but also analytical and with a strong focus upon details. An imaginative project will not receive support if it is lacking exact engineering data. Being able to plan a facility down to the tiniest details will be crucial to a successful civil engineer.
A civil engineer can expect to work at least a forty hour week, with increasing time requirements for some projects. As a deadline approaches, a civil engineer can often expect a higher workload. Travel is frequent for civil engineers, especially those working outside of a city or for a private firm. Civil engineers can expect to spend a fair amount of time outdoors. For supervisors, they may be on the construction site for their entire work day.
Civil Engineer Salary and Wages
The median annual salary-and-wage was $78,560 for civil engineers in May of 2008. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that for civil engineers who worked in architectural, engineering and similar fields, the average salary was $76,540 in 2007.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
For beginning civil engineers, an average salary was $52,048 in 2009. Depending upon certifications and educational levels, a civil engineer may receive a higher entry salary. After gaining experience, a civil engineer may receive promotion to supervisor.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Civil Engineer Certifications
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) offers a number of certifications depending upon intended construction field. Broad ASCE certification covers basic civil engineering. In addition, specialization of civil engineering also has certifications. The American Academy of Water Resources Engineers (AAWRE) certification is for civil engineers focusing upon water resource infrastructure. AAWRE specializes in infrastructure such as water renewal plants, waste water treatment facilities, and sewer designs. The Academy of Geo-Professionals (AGP) certifies civil engineers in geotechnical engineering. Lastly, the Academy of Coastal, Ocean, Port & Navigation Engineers (ACOPNE) covers civil engineering near bodies of water. This includes lakes and oceans, or smaller bodies of waters like rivers.
The ASCE will continue to explore certifications in different branches of civil engineering as time goes on. In addition, licenses may be required by the state or federal government depending upon the project type and location. Certification in specific construction techniques, such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) may be applied for during specific projects.
Civil Engineer Professional Associations
The ASCE has been the foremost body for civil engineers since 1852. The ASCE attempts to cultivate civil engineering leaders and provide them with the best available tools and knowledge. Each year, the ASCE produces over 55,000 pages of technical content related to civil engineering for their members and the general public. They also publish 31 civil engineering journals with peer-reviewed articles. The ASCE encourages membership chapters in both the United States and in countries around the world. Over 144,000 civil engineers have membership in the ASCE.
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