Career Spotlight On Civil Engineering
When you think of the term “engineer,” what comes to mind? Probably any number of things. Pursuing a career in engineering can mean taking one of several paths. From biotechnical engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering and more specific roles in between. What comes to mind for many people first though, is a civil engineer.
Civil engineers work both in the public and private sectors. They work on designing, building, supervising, operating, and maintaining construction projects and systems. These might include:
- transportation centers (like airports and train stations)
- local water
- sewage systems
Civil engineering is an ideal career for someone who likes to figure out how things work. Engineering does require a solid understanding of science, math, and technology. It also demands skills such as problem-solving and decision-making.
Most civil engineers earn a bachelor’s in civil engineering. Coursework is heavily focused on math. A growing number of employers are requiring engineers to hold a master’s of engineering as well as a PE license. Especially for those who wish to move into management roles.
Some of the projects that civil engineers might work on include:
- Planning projects using data including maps and survey reports.
- Get permits for projects to ensure compliance with local, state, and federal regulations.
- Confirm the adequacy and strength of structural foundations via soil testing.
- Oversee ordering and testing of building materials.
- Design and plan structures by government and industry standards. This typically requires the use of software.
- Perform and supervise surveying operations.
- Oversee the maintenance of public and private infrastructure. Repairs and recommendations as necessary.
The field of civil engineering covers a number of important tasks. Most civil engineers specialize in one the four areas:
These engineers basically act as construction managers. They are responsible for the oversight of project to ensure it is built according to the plans.
Geotechnical engineers focus on foundations. They ensure that the structures designed and built by other engineers are safe.
Structural engineers work on major infrastructure projects (like bridges and dams). They design and evaluate them for safety and durability.
Transportation engineers focus on transport systems. This includes roads as well as mass transit systems, airports, and ports.
Our country’s infrastructure is aging. There will be a growing need to repair and replace important structures like roads and bridges.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that demand for civil engineers will grow by about 8 percent over the next decade. Other factors contributing to growth in this field include increased urbanization. This places demands on our water systems. Demand for renewable energy projects is expected to rise.
Civil engineering is a wide-ranging field that offers an array of career opportunities. You could find yourself building a new hospital, remodeling an old airport to allow for more air traffic or even building homes in your community. If you have an interest in physics, like to take things apart and put them back together, and solving problems, then this may be an ideal career for you.