Civil Engineering Major-An Overview

Civil engineering is the blend of engineering (the soundness of infrastructures), designs (CAD sketches) and art (designing aesthetic structures). Civil engineering call upon science and engineering principles to plan, design, build and test the infrastructures and facilities.  These infrastructures include buildings, roads and highways; tunnels, bridges and rail systems, airports, seaports, water reservoirs and storm water drainage and control plants.

Civil engineering is a rewarding, hands-on, people-oriented profession. Civil engineers have a positive impact on the quality of people’s lives. People drive on the highway they design, drink water from the treatment plants they design, live and work in the buildings and structures they design.

It is a broad discipline engineering with  specialties, such as construction engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, land development, transportation engineering, hydraulic engineering, and environmental engineering.

For civil engineers, education does not end with a graduation from college. All states require eventual certification as a professional civil engineer. Each state sets its own rules, but most require four years of experience in an entry-level position after graduation from an ABET-accredited program. Candidates must pass exams in the fundamentals of engineering and engineering principles and practices. Test preparation courses for fundamental exams are offered by professional organizations such as the American Society of Civil Engineering.

Civil Engineering is, in fact, one of the most diverse professions around.

When you get on a career in Civil Engineering, you can expect:

Competitive Wages

The median annual wage for civil engineers is approximately USD 80K. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that a person who holds a bachelor’s degree in this type engineering has the potential to earn huge salaries. This salary average is considered as among the highest ones of all college degrees. Most civil engineers work 9-5 jobs at a firm or government agency at 40 hours a week, though some jobs require more time from their employers depending on the phase of the project.

Growing Job Market

Employment of civil engineers is projected to grow 20 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. As infrastructure continues to age, civil engineers will be needed to manage projects to rebuild bridges, repair roads, and upgrade levees and dams. The demand for the civil engineers is rapidly expanding. 

Diverse Career Opportunities

There are excellent career opportunities for civil engineer. Most new graduates are employed by consultants (who design and manage), contractors (who build and maintain) or central, regional and local government (who develop and manage the infrastructure of cities and communities). Many civil engineers become experts in a specialized area of civil engineering such as structural, water, geotechnical, transportation or environmental fields. Some operate their own companies, enter into partnerships, or become researchers in government agencies or business.

Structural engineers apply knowledge of construction methods and properties of materials in the design and construction of buildings and bridges that can safely withstand constant use, and the forces of nature such as earthquakes, fire, wind and water.

Water engineers deal with the storage and distribution of water for drinking and irrigation and the design and construction of control structures on rivers to relieve flooding and generate hydroelectric power. Coastal management and protection are also concerns of the civil engineer.

Geotechnical engineers deal with the ability of soils to provide stable foundations and the design of slopes and retaining walls to remain stable under the action of constant loads and environmental forces.

Transportation engineers plan, design, construct and maintain safe, efficient, reliable and sustainable transportation networks involving roads, pathways, railways, airports and seaports.

Environmental engineers deal with environmental impacts of major projects, and environment-friendly recycling, treatment and disposal of wastes from residential areas or industries.
In the United States, civil engineers are typically employed by municipalities, construction firms, consulting engineering firms, architect/engineer firms, state governments, and the federal government. In essence, Civil engineering is a unique major that offers variety, enjoyment and outstanding career choices.

Civil engineers are central figures in community development. Without their unique talents, communities would not grow and thrive. As it stands at the moment, civil engineering is a massive growth industry and looks set to remain so well into the future.
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