Should I Get A Master’s Degree In Civil Engineering?

Strictly speaking, a master’s degree is not necessary to practice as a civil engineer. A bachelor’s degree and related experience in the field are enough to sit in the examinations that are part of the process of obtaining a professional engineering license. With an undergraduate degree and extensive experience as a civil engineer, it is even possible to advance to senior leadership roles. This will mean that a master’s degree in civil engineering is optional and not mandatory.

However, this does not mean that you should forego a master’s degree in civil engineering completely. There are advantages to getting a master’s degree in this field and it is something that is worth considering. There may even be times when this postgraduate degree will be well-worth the time, effort and financial investment.

For instance, one reason to pursue a master’s degree in civil engineering is to improve your technical knowledge. An undergraduate civil engineering degree will only give you fundamental knowledge about the fields encompassed in this engineering discipline. However, a master’s degree will provide you with the opportunity to focus in your field of interest. For example, if you want to become a structural engineer, the basic courses in structural engineering in the undergraduate civil engineering degree won’t be enough. A master’s degree in civil engineering with a focus on structural engineering will beef up your knowledge with about 10 more courses geared specifically about this field.

Another good reason to pursue a master’s degree in civil engineering is that it will give you an edge for entry-level jobs over those who only hold a bachelor’s degree, provided that all applicants are equally qualified in all other aspects. Moreover, new hires that have a postgraduate degree in civil engineering are also given more challenging tasks compared to those that only have a bachelor’s degree because employers naturally assume that you already have the necessary training in the field. This is a good thing career-wise since your boss will get to remember you as technically competent in the field and can be trusted to carry out more complex tasks. Promotion to a higher position is going to be easier to come by if you are able to handle difficult activities in a professional manner.

Pursuing a master’s degree is also beneficial, especially if you want to receive higher pay. Generally speaking, master’s degree holders tend to earn more than those who only have a bachelor’s degree. However, it is recommended that you get a master’s degree immediately after receiving your bachelor’s degree. These are a couple of reasons for this. First, if you are going to be funding your master’s degree from your own pocket, you might find that it’s not financially rewarding to stop working to obtain your master’s degree since the salary you will lose in the two years that you’ll be back in school could be more than what you stand to get when you return to the workforce. Second, you could get married and have a family once you’ve already settled and started working. The added responsibility will make going back to school to earn your postgraduate degree more difficult.

On the other end of the spectrum, however, you may find it still possible to juggle work and studies together by opting for an online master’s in civil engineering program. This arrangement will give you the chance to get the best of both worlds. If you’re already working and want to pursue further studies, ask your employer if they offer tuition incentives to employees willing to go back to school. Some companies subsidize part, if not all, of their employee’s tuition and fees for as long as they maintain a certain grade.

Career Spotlight: Civil Engineer

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