Civil Engineers Career Information
Civil engineers are the architects of most infrastructure in the U.S. and around the world. Roadways, highways, bridges and the layout of most planned communities are all the work of civil engineers. Civil engineers make sure bridges won’t collapse when a train crosses them or that roadways won’t end up sitting under a lake during a rainy season. Good highway design that helps ease congestion is also the work of civil engineers.
Civil engineers are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, a specialized field of civil engineering or a related field like civil engineering technology. More senior positions generally require advanced degrees. In addition to a degree, civil engineers that provide services to the public, such as designing roadways or other types of public infrastructure must also be certified and licensed.
Unlike some fields, you cannot obtain a civil engineering job through work experience in a related field or through on-the-job training, you must have a degree to obtain a position as a civil engineer. Engineering is, of course, a STEM field, so if you aren’t comfortable with subjects like advanced calculus, physics, geometry or algebra then civil engineering may not be the best career path for you.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income for civil engineers in 2018 was around $84,000 or about $41 an hour.
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Civil engineering is not as much a growing profession as it is a stable one. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates approximately a 6% growth rate, which is about the national average among all fields and professions. They also estimate there were just over 325,000 civil engineering jobs available in 2018, so there is plenty of work to go around.
Much like doctors or lawyers, there will always be a need for civil engineers. Public infrastructure is constantly wearing down and needing to be replaced along with new buildings and infrastructure needing constant repair and replacement. In addition, the training, tools, and methodologies of civil engineering are the same the world over, so a civil engineer can find work or put their skills to work almost anywhere in the world with little to no additional education required. Although, certification or licensing requirements may be different, which can also vary from state to state even within the U.S.