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What do civil engineers do?  

Civil engineers design things. These might be roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, or water supply and sewage systems. 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.

Civil engineers usually work in areas that are industry and business centers. Often they work at construction sites. Some times they work in places that are far away from cities.

How do you get ready to become a civil engineer?  

A bachelor's in engineering is needed for almost all entry-level engineering jobs. College grads with a degree in a science or mathematics may get some jobs.

Getting into engineering school requires a strong report card in math and science, and courses in English, social studies, and computers.

In a typical college, the first 2 years are for studying math, science, engineering basics, the arts, and social sciences. In the last 2 years, most courses are in engineering, mostly in a single branch.

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 much do civil engineers earn?  

The middle half of all civil engineers earned between $48,360 and $74,700 per year. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned less than $39,960. The highest-paid 10 percent earned more than $91,010.

According to a 2003 salary survey, people with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering started at $41,669 a year on average. People with a master's degree started at $47,245 a year. People with a Ph.D. started at $69,079 a year.

How many jobs are there?  

Civil engineers held about 228,000 jobs in 2002. More than 4 in 10 worked for firms that did architectural, engineering, and related services work. Mostly they came up with designs for new construction projects. Almost one-third were in some level of government. The rest mostly worked in the construction industry.

What about the future?  

It is expected that civil engineer jobs will increase more slowly than the average through 2012. More civil engineers will be needed to design and build things as the population grows.

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.

Are there other jobs like this?  

  • Agricultural and food scientists
  • Architects
  • Biological scientists
  • Chemists
  • Computer and information systems managers
  • Engineering and natural sciences managers
  • Environmental scientists
  • Geoscientists
  • Sales engineers
  • Science technicians

    Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook -- U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics
Where can you find more information?

More information about civil engineers can be found in the Careers Database.



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