How to Become a Civil Engineer
Civil engineers need a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or one of its specialties. The degree should be from a program approved by ABET (The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology). A program accredited by ABET is needed in order to gain licensure, which is required to work as a professional engineer (PE).
Programs in civil engineering typically take four years to complete and include coursework in mathematics, statistics, engineering mechanics and systems, and fluid dynamics, among other courses, depending on the specialty. Courses include a mix of traditional classroom learning, laboratory work and field work.
About one of every five civil engineers has a master’s degree. Further education after the bachelor’s degree is helpful in getting a job as a manager. A civil engineer needs both a license and experience to become a manager.
What is the workplace of a Civil Engineer like?
Civil engineers generally work indoors in offices. However, they sometimes spend time outdoors at construction sites so they can monitor operations or solve problems at the site. Occasionally, civil engineers travel abroad to work on large engineering projects in other countries.
What is the difference between a civil engineer and an architect?
Both civil engineers and architects are involved in planning and designing structures. However, a civil engineer will concentrate on making sure the structure will be safe and be able to endure everyday and extreme conditions, while the architect will focus on the aesthetics of the structural work, as well as concentrate on the look, feel, and functionality.
The civil engineer will analyze and evaluate the structural integrity of the design that the architect has created, and find ways to make the construction design possible by suggesting alterations/modifications in order to turn the architect's vision into reality.
Civil engineers and architects often work with each other, as their work sometimes overlaps. A good working relationship between the two professions will make a construction job more effective and successful.
What is some good advice for civil engineering students?
Meet up with a professional civil engineer and ask a few well thought-out questions as to what working as a civil engineer is really like. It's surprising how people will gladly give a little of their time to help out an aspiring fellow professional. It would also be wise to get an internship and spend as much time with professional civil engineers as possible. It's only by exposure to the industry that you'll be able to get an idea of what it's like to work in it.
It would be good to figure out ahead of time what type of civil engineering path you'd be interested in, and consider the future of that industry. If you choose a mature field of civil engineering, you will most likely have a slower but stable growth in your career. If you choose a niche field, you'll probably make more money, but sacrifice the experience in becoming a well-rounded civil engineer.
What is it like being a civil engineer?
Civil engineering is a very demanding yet fulfilling career, as the engineer is able to work on a project from its inception right to its completion. When you drive over a bridge, see a building, fly out of an airport, or visit a museum, a civil engineer has had a major part in that project.
Civil engineers have many duties; they interact with clients, customers, inspectors, suppliers, vendors, architects and design teams. They submit and revise drawings many times over until they are approved. They also spend time tendering, looking at reports, doing cost estimates, analyzing designs and infrastructures, testing, commissioning, and spend time on construction sites to see what progress is being made on projects. Construction sites need to be visited and monitored frequently, in all kinds of weather conditions, to make sure work is going smoothly and disputes are resolved in a timely manner in order to meet specific deadlines.
Do architects and civil engineers work together?
The two main designers of a structure are the architect and the civil engineer; both professions being integral to the structure's execution and construction.
Their responsibilities often overlap. The architect will design a space to meet the client's needs, and will come up with blueprints for both the inside and outside of a building. Because the architect is ultimately responsible that the building is safe for its occupants, he or she will work closely with a civil engineer to ensure the structure meets all the appropriate building codes. The civil engineer can also advise and/or select the appropriate structural materials, and help with specifying the plumbing, electrical, heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems that will be needed.