What is Civil Engineering?

Civil Engineering is considered to be the oldest engineering field. Throughout history, civil engineers have designed and built facilities that have advanced civilization and provided for a higher standard of living. Civil Engineers have been building things since 2980 B.C. when the Egyptian Pyramids were being built, to a more recent modern marvel of the Golden Gate Bridge that was the longest single span (4,200 feet) bridge in the world in 1937. The civil engineering profession encompasses many of the most exciting areas in science, math and technology today.

Civil engineering is about community service, development, and improvement. It involves the conception, planning, design, construction, and operation of facilities essential to modern life, ranging from transit systems to offshore structures to space satellites. Civil engineers are problem solvers, meeting the challenges of pollution, traffic congestion, drinking water and energy needs, urban redevelopment, and community planning.

What do civil & environmental engineers do?

Civil & Environmental Engineers design, construct and maintain society’s infrastructure- the highways, buildings, and water systems we use daily. A few areas in which civil engineers work include: construction management; groundwater contamination; transportation design and planning; design, construction, and monitoring of waste containment facilities; disaster prevention; river mechanics and stream restoration; earthquake engineering; flood predication, forecasting and control; community development; surveying and mapping; treat and properly dispose of waste; and monitor quality of the air, water, and land.

Civil & Environmental engineers employ scientific principles to serve society. Many Civil & Environmental Engineers work internationally to improve the quality of life throughout the world. Civil & Environmental Engineers apply modern tools such as global positioning systems (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS) to solve problems related to water resources, transportation, environment, or structures. They use information technology to protect infrastructure from natural hazards or terrorist threats.

Where do civil & environmental engineers work?

Civil Engineers work in many different settings, ranging from quiet, modern offices to job sites in remote areas. They may travel frequently or relocate temporarily while working on a distant project. They may work with other professional and technical personnel on temporary project teams.

Most civil engineers work for consulting firms (which design projects and produce plans and specifications for building them) or government agencies (ranging from cities to the federal government). Some might join the military or work for manufacturers (such as pump, pipe, or steel building manufacturers). Civil engineering is far from your average desk job.

How much do civil & environmental engineers get paid?

Entry level civil engineers earn moderately high salaries, ranging between $50,000 and $85,000. As entry level civil engineers quickly gain experience and add more projects to their portfolios, civil engineers working in the private sector can quickly earn higher salaries. Engineers not working in the private sectors tend to make less than their counterparts but it is quickly made up by the benefit packages.

Engineers with master’s and PhD’s earn significantly higher salaries compared to only holding a bachelor’s degree. Advanced degrees offer professionals the opportunity to specialize, assuring clients & employers that they bring the best credentials and experience to any project.

What is the career outlook?

It is expected that civil engineering jobs will increase faster than average through 2016. This rise is contributed from two factors. The first is the age of most of the nation’s infrastructure is beyond its “life expectancy” and will need to be replaced and/or fixed shortly. The second is the world will need more civil engineers to design and build things as the world’s population grows. The spring/summer 2015 graduates are currently working in all fields of civil engineering and the average salary they are making is $54,000 (entry level- no experience).

What classes should I take in high school?

Civil engineering majors learn how to use math and science to design projects that solve real-world problems. Math and science courses should contribute to the development of the students’ abilities to think clearly and to express their ideas, orally and in writing, with clarity and logic. Go for the challenging courses in high school, like calculus, physics, and chemistry. It is also recommended that you take computer science and computer-aided drafting classes. These classes, along with your english classes, will get you better ready to start into the civil & environmental engineering program. Specifics on our program can be found here.

Where do I go to find out more about civil and environmental engineering?

If you are interested in learning more about Civil & Environmental Engineering you are encouraged to visit the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the American Society for Engineering Education(ASEE).


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