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Civil Engineer: Occupational Outlook and Career Profile

Civil engineers plan and build construction projects from roadways to office buildings. Most engineers complete a bachelor's degree program in civil engineering. States usually also require civil engineers to hold a professional license.

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Occupational Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that employment opportunities for civil engineers were expected to increase by 19% between 2010 and 2020 (www.bls.gov). The bureau attributes this rise to increased infrastructure spending and population growth. As populations grow, rural and metropolitan areas will expand, and civil engineers will be needed to work on projects like roads, bridges and buildings.

Salary Outlook

The BLS notes that median annual wages for civil engineers were $79,340 as of May 2012. The mean annual salary for civil engineers was $84,140 in the same year. Civil engineers in the commercial and industrial machinery equipment repair and maintenance industry earned the highest annual mean wages in this field, with salaries of $138,780.

Career Profile

Civil engineers design and supervise the construction of municipal projects from sewage systems to apartment complexes. Using their knowledge of mathematics, science and materials, civil engineers ensure that their work meets state and federal guidelines, remains on schedule and comes in at or below budget.

Requirements

Aspiring civil engineers must complete an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) bachelor's degree program in civil engineering. Students take advanced courses in mathematics and sciences including, calculus, physics and chemistry. In addition to these courses, students complete assignments on thermodynamics and structural analysis. Topics in these courses may range from measuring the foundational strength of soil to estimating the stress factors of input materials.

All states require that civil engineers providing their services to the public be licensed. Licensure requires completing an ABET-accredited bachelor's degree program, passing a qualifying exam and accruing four years of work experience. State boards may require continued education to maintain a license.

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    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
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      • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
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    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
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    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
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      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
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      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
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      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
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    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
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    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
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      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
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    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
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      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
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      • Materials Engineering
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      • Nuclear Engineering
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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics