Civil Engineering Degrees, Jobs and Scholarships

civil engineering degree

Getting a Degree in Civil Engineering

Civil engineering is one of the many types of engineering you can go into. A civil engineer works to plan and supervise public works projects. They work on the infrastructure that moves people and commerce around the country and work on public works projects such as buildings, highways, airports, bridges, and dams. They most likely work in an office or on project sites to help monitor what is going on. They also speak to the governing boards and the public about the different projects.

In order to be a good civil engineer, you would need to be a good problem solver, have proficiency in math, and be able to deal with different types of projects and settings.

Associate’s Degree in Civil Engineering

If you go for your associate’s degree in civil engineering, it will prepare you for assistant level roles as technicians, surveyors, and inspectors. However, to go any further than that, you would need to get your bachelor’s degree. An associate’s degree should take you around two years and you can find programs through your local community college or engineering college. You might then take courses in surveying, cartography, and topography.

Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering

Getting your bachelor’s degree in civil engineering is a must for pursuing a career as any type of civil engineer. Students working towards their bachelor’s degree will learn about construction management and building materials, hazardous waste management, structural design, soil composition, and materials science. Classes may include engineering physics, technical communications, hydrology, wastewater handling, economics, and more.

You should be able to find either an in-person or online bachelor’s degree program to study civil engineering. For online programs, the University of North Dakota, Old Dominion University, and Keiser University all have highly rated programs. For in-person programs, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and Princeton University all have highly rated programs.

Jobs with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering

  • Construction Managers, who are the boss of a worksite and know about things such as weather, costs, team and time management, and supervise a wide variety of projects, have an average salary of $74,730, according to Glassdoor as of July 2020.
  • Environmental Engineers, who use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems, and work to improve things such as recycling, waste disposal, public health, and water and air pollution, have an average salary of $68,566 according to Glassdoor, as of July 2020.
  • Transportation Engineers, who design solutions to transportation needs of all kinds, from airports to maintaining highways, to road and rail systems, have an average salary of $67,065, according to Glassdoor as of July 2020.

Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering

Getting your master’s degree in civil engineering can allow you to go further on in your career as well as allow you to have a more management type of position. Some schools may have a 5-year program where you can get your bachelor’s degree and master’s degree at the same time. Traditional master’s programs take two years. Students would take classes such as civil engineering, architectural engineering, and structural engineering.

You should be able to find either an in-person or online master’s degree program to study civil engineering. For online programs, Mississippi State University, Villanova University, and the Missouri University of Science and Technology all have highly rated programs. For in-person programs, the University of California at Berkeley, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign all have highly rated programs.

Jobs with a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering:

  • Architectural and Engineering Managers, who are responsible for developing the overall concept of a new product or work to solve the technical problems that prevent the completion of a project and who also propose budgets for programs and projects and determine staff training, and equipment needs, have an average salary of $117,378, according to Glassdoor, as of April 2019.
  • Structural Engineers, who create designs and plans for various infrastructure projects such as bridges, pipelines, who write construction documents that include specifications, drawings, and instructions, and who also stay up to date with current policies and ensure projects meet environmental safety and legal guidelines, have an average salary of $71,198 according to Glassdoor, as of July 2020.
  • Water Resource Engineers, who develop water infrastructure plans for the sewer system, flood defense programs, pumping stations, who ensure sewerage and water infrastructure are maintained correctly, and who evaluate potential problems, have an average salary of $65,028, according to Glassdoor as of July 2020.

Doctorate Degrees in Civil Engineering

Getting your Ph.D. in civil engineering will allow you to pursue jobs in academia or research. Programs take around 4-5 years and students would learn how to properly address complex engineering problems while navigating through traditional principles of a society as it relates to technology. In the Ph.D. program, students would select a technical concentration and that would determine the types of classes they would take.

You can find highly rated programs at schools such as the University of Texas Arlington, the George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the Atlantic International University.

Jobs with a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering

  • Hydrologists, who find solutions to water-related problems such as availability, quantity, and quality, as well as controlling flooding situations and soil erosion, have an average salary of $52,700 according to Glassdoor, as of July 2020.
  • Post Secondary Engineering Teachers, who educate students on the principles of engineering and application of physical laws, have varying salaries across the US.
  • Research Engineers, who use their Ph.D. to work on a wide variety of projects in research and development, and who collect data and work on grant proposals, have an average salary of $81,189, according to Glassdoor as of July 2020.

Related Majors: Chemical Engineering, Engineering Chemistry, and Ocean Engineering

Civil Engineering Licensing

You would need to get your license to work as a civil engineer. In order to do so, you would need to graduate with a 4-year degree in engineering, work under a professional engineer for at least four years, pass the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam (FE), and pass the Principle and Practice of Engineering Exam (PE).

Scholarships for Civil Engineers

Getting your degree in civil engineering means you can apply for certain scholarships that specialize in engineering or similar degrees. Here are a couple of them:

Richard L. Brooks Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is an essay contest that was developed to assist students with the rising cost of a college education. The scholarship is for full or part-time undergraduate or graduate students who are enrolled in an accredited college or university in North America who are also studying architecture, civil engineering, structural engineering, construction management, material science, or a related field. There will be two scholarships awarded at $2,500 each.

Y.C. Yang Civil Engineering Scholarship

This scholarship is to help foster interest in structural engineering and to encourage students to further their civil engineering education. It is given to no more than two undergraduate civil engineering students who can use the scholarship to pay for their sophomore, junior, or senior year tuition expenses, and fees. The amount of the award varies.

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Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.