From 4,500-year-old Egyptian pyramids and ancient Roman aqueducts to today's monolithic bridges and giant skyscrapers, civil engineering has a long and impressive history. Civil engineers design and maintain many of the structures around us- including buildings, roads, bridges, and the systems that move water and waste for our communities. For every project, civil engineers must meet regulatory standards, prioritize safety, consider environmental risks and the endurance of materials, and anticipate costs for building as well as long-term maintenance. From entry-level positions to project leads, this is a team-based career that requires continuous problem solving. It's typical for civil engineers to specialize. Construction engineers manage large construction projects... Geotechnical engineers ensure the solid foundation of engineering projects like tunnels and tall buildings... Structural engineers design and evaluate plans for major buildings, bridges, and dams and make sure they are built to last... Transportation engineers plan roadway construction and maintenance, as well as design airports, subways, and metro transit systems. Civil engineers often work outdoors at construction sites to monitor progress and troubleshoot any problems that come up. Most work full time. They need a bachelor's degree in civil engineering... one of its specialties... or in civil engineering technology. A Professional Engineering license is required for many jobs. Civil engineering is a complex field, but it's one that leaves a lasting mark.
What they do:
Perform engineering duties in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of building structures, and facilities, such as roads, railroads, airports, bridges, harbors, channels, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, power plants, and water and sewage systems.
On the job, you would:
Inspect project sites to monitor progress and ensure conformance to design specifications and safety or sanitation standards.
Compute load and grade requirements, water flow rates, or material stress factors to determine design specifications.
Provide technical advice to industrial or managerial personnel regarding design, construction, program modifications, or structural repairs.
Engineering and Technology
product and service development
building and construction
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Arts and Humanities
reading work related information
thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
notice when problems happen
choose the right type of math to solve a problem
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
see hidden patterns
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Computer aided design CAD software
Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D
Analytical or scientific software
The MathWorks MATLAB
Map creation software
ESRI ArcGIS software
Geographic information system GIS software
bachelor's degree or master's degree usually needed
New job opportunities are likely in the future.
Green jobs will change the work and skills needed.