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Civil Engineering: Civil and Construction Engineering, Civil Engineering Degree Online

Civil engineering training programs are designed to provide key skills for the design and construction in the industrial sector. Civil engineers are involved with designing and supervising the construction of roads, buildings, airports, and water systems within a city. The design process can be complicated and requires specific knowledge about the geographical area, as well as implementing special tools for analysis and reporting. A civil engineering degree allows graduates to pursue a variety of careers in construction, research, teaching, and administration.

What Is Civil Engineering?

Many prospective students of engineering ask, what is civil engineering? Civil engineering covers a broad range of engineering disciplines, and a civil engineer may choose to work in a private practice, in a public practice, or within the academic department to conduct research in civil engineering. A civil engineer who works in a private practice is usually involved with planning, designing, and construction of physical facilities used in the public sector. Civil and construction engineering employees who work in a public practice are often involved in city or regional planning. This often includes the layout and construction of highways, pipelines, and other industrial elements within a city's plans. A civil engineer who works in academia is involved with teaching the fundamentals of civil engineering, and this may take place at the graduate or doctorate level. Research in this area is commonly used to make advances in the fields of civil and construction engineering, and helps with both city planning and regional developments.

Civil and Construction Engineering Job Description and Responsibilities

Civil and construction engineering jobs vary depending on skill level, expertise, and knowledge of the area. General responsibilities for a civil engineer include:

  • Analyzing blueprints and providing comprehensive summaries
  • Reporting problems or issues with plans
  • Participating in the planning, development, and implementation of various systems
  • Negotiating contracts
  • Supervising a staff of civil engineers or training civil and construction engineering managers
  • Developing systems for new projects
  • Learning and adapting new techniques to implement new programs
  • Solving problems and putting ideas into action
  • Helping to improve the environment

Civil engineering college can best prepare students interested in civil engineering careers, and a civil engineering degree opens up many opportunities for long-term advancement.

Typical Civil Engineering Careers

After completing a civil engineering degree, the most common types of civil engineering careers available include:

  • Construction Management Engineer
  • Geotechnical Engineer
  • Public Works Engineer
  • Research Engineer
  • Structural Engineer
  • Transportation Engineer
  • Water Resources Engineer

Structural engineers are involved with designing steel, concrete, or timber structures such as tall buildings and dams. Wastewater treatment engineers are another type of civil engineers that specialize in water treatment plants. They are often involved with treating domestic waste and working on processes at waste treatment facilities. Transportation engineers are commonly involved with designing and analyzing highways, airports, parking lots, and traffic control signal systems. The majority of civil engineering degree graduates work in construction management. Construction managers are involved with reviewing contracts, ordering materials, hiring and scheduling subcontractors, and implementing processes for quality control.

Enrolling in Civil Engineering College

Civil engineering college provides the foundational education and skills needed for a long-term civil engineering career. Civil engineers need to develop decision-making skills, along with key communication skills and the ability to be creative. They can best meet the challenges of a career in civil engineering by focusing on advanced mathematics, physics, chemistry, and trigonometry in high school.

Civil engineering technicians typically require only a two-year degree, and technicians are responsible for conducting basic tests, analyzing data, and providing cost estimates for a specific project. Those who continue their education can work on larger projects, supervise teams, and move forward into research if they choose to do so.

An accredited college that offers a civil or construction engineering program is the next step. Some students can enroll immediately into a civil engineering degree program after high school, while others require completion of a two-year junior college program. Enrolling in civil engineering college may take time, but there are plenty of courses and degree programs available to make the transition.

A civil engineering degree online offers an alternative for students who may want to enroll in civil engineering college from a distance. Online programs provide flexible study options, and can still provide the key skills and training needed for many civil engineering careers.

Civil Engineering Degree Accreditation

Civil engineering degree programs at the majority of U.S. colleges and universities are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Education and Technology (ABET). This organization is responsible for monitoring and certifying various civil and construction engineering degree programs. They are commonly involved with accrediting civil engineering degree online programs as well.

Earning a Civil Engineering Degree Online

The best program for civil engineering degree seekers depends on the student, and some colleges offer five-year programs to ensure that all areas of study have been covered. Still, earning a civil engineering degree online is becoming a valuable way to complete or supplement a civil engineering education. Since the program may involve an internship or cooperative study agreement, it becomes easier to complete courses online while working in the field. In most cases, the first three years are based in sciences and math, while the last year focuses specifically on civil and construction engineering programs. Many students choose to specialize in their field so that they can gain further knowledge and skills.

Future Employment Prospects and Earning Potential for Civil Engineering Careers

With the advances in technology and the growing urban sprawl across the country, the demand for skilled civil and construction engineering graduates is rising. Long-term research and development projects are also growing in size and scope, and many civil engineering degree students who choose to further their education will enjoy promising job prospects. Earning potential for civil engineering careers varies depending on the field of expertise and skill level obtained. Civil engineers are expected to see average employment growth through 2014, and the most desirable area will be in infrastructure security. Employment opportunities vary by geographic area, and construction in major cities will likely provide the most opportunities.

Median salaries of civil engineers with a bachelor's degree were $43,679 in 2005, and $48,050 for those with a Master's degree. Related occupations include:

  • Architects

  • Engineering and natural sciences managers

  • Sales engineers

  • Environmental scientists

  • Biological scientists

  • Conservation scientists

  • Civil engineering technicians


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