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17 Dec 2019

What Does It Take To Become A Civil Engineer

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What Does It Take To Become A Civil EngineerCivil engineers play a diverse array of very important roles in the world today today. They help to design and create the structures in which people live, work and play and the devices they use every day. Being a civil engineer is a major responsibility and it takes years of intense, advanced, study and training to prepare for a career in engineering. People who want to become engineers must spend 4 to 6 years in college to gain the knowledge and understanding of the concepts that undergird engineering and the math and science skills it takes to design and build the objects they conceive. And that’s only the beginning of the process of becoming an engineer.

Educational Requirements

To earn a degree in civil engineering, students must take a wide range of courses in science, technology, engineering as well as mathematics. These are grouped under the acronym STEM. Ideally, students should begin taking those courses in high school and continue to build on that foundation when they get to college. To earn an engineering degree students must excel in course like physics, chemistry, biology, advanced calculus and geometry. They must also take courses that teach them vital communication and critical-thinking skills they will need along with sociology, psychology and ergonomics. More and more women are entering the field of engineering. Civil engineering is the most popular of the traditional disciplines for women.

A Degree in Civil Engineering

In most cases, in order to become a licensed professional engineer candidates must complete a four-year engineering degree at an Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology approved program. There are hundreds of universities with ABET-accredited programs nationwide and internationally. Some universities allow students to earn their engineering degrees through an online program. There are four main types of engineering disciplines in which engineers can specialize. They are Chemical, Civil, Electrical and Mechanical engineering. Within each discipline there are several sub-categories. The branch of engineering a student chooses determines how many course hours in specific subjects they are required to complete.

More Than Just Classroom Study

To get their engineering degrees, students must do more than just classroom study. In addition to classes in the hard sciences and courses that introduce and develop different specific engineering concepts, students also do lab work where they receive hands-on instruction. To gain practical experience in their chosen branch of engineering, students participate in internships as well as various kinds of work placements. Beginning as early as high school, some students interested in becoming engineers attend summer engineering camps and spend time in after-school programs that are science- or engineering-oriented. These activities develop and sharpen their skills and help them make important contacts.

How To Become a Licensed Professional Engineer

Becoming a licensed professional engineer is a process that has several steps. While each state may have some specific requirements, generally people hoping to become licensed professional engineers have to take some basic steps. First, they must complete a four-year engineering degree. Next, engineers must pass the six-hour, 110 question, National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) administered Fundamentals of Engineering exam. It’s also called the PE exam. It tests and verifies that the engineering candidate understands and is able to put into practice the basic skills all engineers are required to master.

Engineering Experience Necessary

Once engineers pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, they are considered a trainee engineer and are eligible to work under a licensed professional engineer’s supervision. After spending 4 years engaged in engineering activities, the trainee qualifies for licensure as a Professional Engineer. Some states have additional licensing requirements trainee engineers must meet before they can receive a Professional Engineer license and be legally allowed to work unsupervised on projects as an engineer. The PE license must be renewed every two years. To qualify for license renewal, engineers must take continuing education classes, workshops and seminars on ethics training, the latest developments in the field and legal issues engineers face.

Professional Engineer Salary and Earning Potential

Civil engineers generally make a good salary. The exact amount of an engineer’s salary depends on the discipline of engineering in which they specialize, their level of expertise and experience, their reputation and the amount of demand there is for their skills. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics figures for 2018, the median income for civil engineers was $86,640 for electrical engineers it was $95,060 and for chemical engineers it was $104,910. Engineers working in some specific niches had median wages that were even higher. Petroleum engineers’ median income was $137,170 in 2018.

What Do Civil Engineers Do

Being a successful civil engineer requires excellent math, science and problem-solving skills and a great imagination. That’s because civil engineers are called on to provide a wide range of design and production services. Civil engineers design and oversee the construction of commercial, residential and industrial buildings, bridges, dams, roads, sewer systems, tunnels and a wide array of other facilities and structures. They work closely with architects, contractors and other construction personnel.

Before, During and After Construction

Civil engineers also test ground conditions, do site surveys, ensure the right construction materials are used and they are properly maintained. Civil engineers create innovative solutions for dealing with geological and weather dilemmas and make sure projects are progressing properly. As part of the design and construction process, they must consider government regulations, building costs, geographic limitations and many other factors. Once the construction project is completed, civil engineers may also be called on to ensure the structure is being properly inspected, maintained and repaired.

Improving the Quality of Life

Engineers help to improve the quality of life for everyone on the planet. They design and develop the buildings in which people live, work and play. They create, maintain and adapt the infrastructure people depend on every day. That includes roads, railways and bridges, the energy, electricity and water supply, as well as waste networks, flood defenses, jetliners and space stations. Engineers design the things people use for business and pleasure. Every time you turn on the TV, use the microwave oven or drive your vehicle, remember engineers make that possible. Engineers shape the world.

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