As one of the oldest of engineering professions, civil engineering principles helped paved ways in building ancient feats such as Egyptian pyramids and Roman road systems. Many civil engineers work in construction, design, education, and research. They perform engineering duties in designing, planning, and overseeing construction and maintenance of building facilities, and structures such as airports, bridges, railroads, roads, harbors, channels, irrigation projects, dams, power plants, pipelines, and water and sewage systems.
Aside from analyzing survey reports and maps to plan projects, civil engineers are also responsible in the compilation and submission of permit applications to local, state and federal agencies to verify that their works comply with various regulations. They must perform or oversee soil testing to measure the tolerance and strength of foundations as well as test building materials such as asphalt, concrete, or steel that will be used in particular projects.
Similar to private industries, the federal government hires civil engineers to do the same duties with an addition of project inspections to ensure compliance with the law and other rules. Civil engineers should be able to manage the surveying operations to establish r grades, reference points, and elevations to guide construction and report their findings to the public on topics such as bid proposals, property descriptions, or environmental impact statements.
Why Become a Civil Engineer
Only a licensed civil engineer could provide public services in all states and the District of Columbia, including all public projects. Most employers require entry-level civil engineers to have a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or one of its specialties. Academic programs in civil engineering or civil engineering technology include coursework in math, statistics, engineering mechanics and systems, and fluid dynamics, among other courses, depending on the specialty. Promotion to senior positions, such as project managers or functional managers, may require a graduate degree and licensure.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a growth of twenty percent for the overall employment of civil engineers from 2012 to 2022, which is faster than the average for all occupations. As infrastructure continues to age over time, job opportunities will increase for civil engineers to manage projects that will repair roads, rebuild bridges, and upgrade levees and renovate dams. The demand for civil engineers will also spike due to the emergence of renewable energy projects that would require their expertise with documents and permits. In addition, an increasing population would lead to new water systems as well as inevitable maintenance of existing ones, which would result to more job prospects for civil engineers. Salary reports indicate that the mean annual wage for employed civil engineers would be about $87,130 as of May 2014.
Civil Engineer Work Environment
Although civil engineers normally work indoors in offices, they sometimes spend time outdoors particularly at construction sites to monitor operations or solve problems at the worksite. On rare occasions, civil engineers may travel abroad to monitor large engineering projects in other countries. Civil engineers usually work full time, but may need to work extra hours to observe the overall progress of the projects as well as to ensure that the design meets requirements and budget while satisfying the deadline.