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It's amazing how fast a structure is designed, planned, built and ready for use. From skyscrapers to interstates that span across the country, civil engineering makes 21st-century living possible. Likewise, as infrastructure continues to age and the population grows, civil engineers will continue to be in high demand.

The civil engineering major focuses on the math and science behind roads, buildings, bridges, and other types of infrastructures and their environmental impact. A civil engineering student needs skills in math, science, creativity, communication and leadership. Teamwork is necessary, since most civil engineers work and brainstorm in groups.

Something to consider

Civil engineers need licensure in the state they plan on working in. The license test is generally the same but there are some variations from state-to-state. In your last semester of your undergraduate degree program, you'll take the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination (FE). After you complete four years of documented work as an engineer, you are then qualified to take the Principles of Practices in Engineering (PE) exam where, if you pass, you will receive a professional engineer license or certification.

After graduation

The civil engineering career path is based on your interests and emphasis you study at school. Your industry could be private, for example, at a construction or architectural firm. It could also be governmental based at federal, state or local level. Job duties may include: creating blueprints for upcoming projects, reviewing the current environmental surroundings and what impact the project could have on them, using computer software to map projects, and managing a worksite and phases of a project.

Where you could end up living

According to My Next Move, in 2013, there are 35 states with average to above-average career opportunities for civil engineers, including: Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Montana, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah and Washington. Depending on your industry, your job environment could be in an office or outside on a construction site.

Salary and occupation outlook

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016, the average salary for civil engineers was $85,640 a year, with around 262,170 people employed. The growth percentage from 2012 to 2022 is 20 percent, which is faster than the average growth rate for all occupations. One of the reasons for the career growth is that, as roads, bridges and buildings age, there will be a need to repair and/or replace them.

The most important thing students can do while in school is get practical experience. Look for internship or co-op opportunities while in school and reach out to alumni to see what they are doing post-college.

Did You Know?

Visit our Free Scholarship Search to find college scholarships for civil engineering majors.

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