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How do I Become a Transportation Engineer?

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  • Written By: N. Kalu
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2019
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To become a transportation engineer, you will first need a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. Many jobs within the transportation engineering field also require candidates to have a master's degree in transportation engineering or traffic planning. During your coursework in civil engineering you will be exposed to a good amount of transportation engineer training, so it is important to pay attention in these courses and take the coursework seriously.

A great deal of civil engineering involves coming up with best practices for traffic design and urban traffic planning. A bachelor's of science or bachelor's of engineering degree in this discipline is usually necessary if you want to become a transportation engineer. As an undergraduate student you will learn about certain urban planning principles, such as how to perform capacity analyses, highway design, and traffic signal design. These are fascinating topics within engineering, and learning about them in a controlled and academic university setting will further enhance your engineer training.

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After you receive your bachelor's degree, you may want to consider obtaining a specialized graduate degree in transportation engineering or traffic planning. This type of degree is ideal for you to become a transportation engineer because it will allow you to delve into the topics you find most compelling. You would not need to take the core requirement classes that you may encounter as an undergraduate student. It is more likely that a master's degree in traffic engineering will lead to jobs that are more on the planning and project management side.

There are two main paths that an aspiring transportation engineer can take. He or she can decide to focus on the technical side and actually design and create traffic patterns, traffic lights, and transportation areas. If you would like to become a transportation engineer in this manner, then you may only need a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. For those who would like to manage bigger projects and plan traffic patterns more broadly or for larger urban areas, a master's degree in transportation engineering is usually required. After you have had the time to study this discipline in university, you should have a better understanding of the type of transportation engineer you would like to become.

Excellent grades in your engineering courses are a prerequisite to becoming a transportation engineer. These grades will become the basis of your competitiveness for engineering internships and jobs. As someone who has excelled in his or her coursework, you will show potential employers that they can trust you to effectively design major transportation hubs.

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