Engineering Schools By State

Civil Engineering

What You Need To Know About Civil Engineering

For years, civil engineering seemed to be in a sharp decline. Both state and federal governments seemed less inclined to spend money on roadways, bridges, and dams. Recent disasters with dam failures causing major flooding during Hurricane Katrina, the horrific bridge collapse in Minnesota, and sinkholes in major roads or highways have the governments in many areas realizing that it is time to ensure our roadways and bridges are safe. Workers within the field of civil engineering are trained to design, build, and inspect bridges, roads, dams, tunnels, and even help with airport runways. As more agencies turn to catching damaged bridges and roads before a catastrophe hits, the need for skilled civil engineering workers will increase.

Those interested in civil engineering must hold a four-year (bachelors) degree from an accredited college. Civil engineering requires skill with surveying land, creating blueprints of projects, troubleshooting weaknesses and offering corrections, and supervising the work done at project sites to ensure things are being done correctly. Those involved in civil engineering must enjoy the outdoors regardless of the weather, be quick to offer alternate solutions, and be able to read and create blueprints.

Civil engineers work on many projects. They may design a sewer system one day and then design a bridge the next. The use of computer CAD programs is usually involved, and some skill with technical drawings is required. Civil engineering requires strong math skills, especially with calculus, geometry, and algebra. Those involved in civil engineering must be able to adapt well to change and able to work with others. Civil engineering is a field in which many workers spend time together; it is not a field for the independent. Surveying is important to the job. Civil engineers must learn how to use GPS equipment, laser scanners, and other critical tools. They spend many hours determining ground slope, angles, and deviations along the way.