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How do I Become a Civil Engineer?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 17, 2024
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An individual who wants to secure an entry-level position as a civil engineer usually has to complete high school and earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering. In many places, employers prefer engineers who have earned master’s degrees, so completing graduate school may give a person who wants to become a civil engineer more job choices. Additionally, many jurisdictions require civil engineers to seek licensing or certification.

A civil engineer has the job of designing a range of infrastructures, including bridges, airports, roads, tunnels, and dams. He may also design buildings, building complexes, and water supply systems. A person in this position may not only design these types of projects, but also supervise their completion. He may help ensure that his design plans are followed and that construction is completed on time and within the budget set for the project. Sometimes a civil engineer specializes in designing and supervising the construction of a specific type of structure; alternatively, he may work for an organization that assigns a wide variety of projects or even gain employment with a government agency.

To become a civil engineer, a person usually completes high school or earns a general educational development (GED) diploma. In high school, advanced math and science courses can help the aspiring engineer prepare for the rigors of college. Since communication skills are also important in this career, classes that build written and verbal communication skills may prove helpful for a person in this position as well.

A person who wants to become a civil engineer usually pursues a bachelor’s degree in engineering from a four-year college or university. This degree usually requires the completion of a range of math and science courses as well as some core courses in subjects such as structural design, engineering mathematics, and computer-aided engineering design. Those who opt to pursue master’s degrees may have more job opportunities or the chance to advance in their careers at a faster pace. An individual can secure an entry-level position in this field with just a bachelor’s degree, however.

Typically, a person who wants to become a civil engineer has to seek licensing or certification in addition to his degree. In many cases, an aspiring civil engineer must obtain work experience before completing the licensing process, however. This usually entails securing on-the-job training under the supervision of an experienced civil engineer. In some places, civil engineers need as much as four years experience before they can be fully licensed or certified.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By anon158419 — On Mar 07, 2011

really helpful post - I've just landed my first job as a civil engineer, it's definitely worth the effort.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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