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Civil Engineer

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 where there is lots of manufacturing and businesses. Often they work at construction sites. Sometimes they work in places that are far away from cities. Most engineers work at least 40 hours per week. Some are required to travel.


How do you get ready?

A college degree in engineering is needed for almost all beginning engineering jobs. College graduates 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 learn as much as possible. To teach engineering, further schooling is needed.

Getting into engineering school requires know-how of 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.

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.

How many jobs are there?

Civil engineers held about 278,400 jobs in 2008. Almost half worked for firms that did architectural, engineering, and related services work. About one-fourth were in some level of government. The rest mostly worked in construction.What about the future?

It is expected that civil engineer jobs will increase much faster than the average for all occupations through 2018. More civil engineers will be needed to design and build things as the population grows. For example, they will need to fix and replace buildings and roads as they continue to become old, unsafe, and worn out.

Some job openings will occur to replace those who go to other jobs or leave the labor force. Job openings will also depend on where you live. There may not be as many jobs when the economy is doing poorly. This is because there is often less construction at such times.


How much does this job pay?

Civil engineers had average yearly wages of $78,560 in May 2008.

According to a 2009 survey, people with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering started at $52,048 a year on average.

Are there other jobs like this?

Agricultural and food scientists

Architects

Chemists

Computer and information systems managers

Environmental scientists

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