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:
Develop plans for surface transportation projects, according to established engineering standards and state or federal construction policy. Prepare designs, specifications, or estimates for transportation facilities. Plan modifications of existing streets, highways, or freeways to improve traffic flow.
On the job, you would:
Check construction plans, design calculations, or cost estimations to ensure completeness, accuracy, or conformity to engineering standards or practices.
Design or prepare plans for new transportation systems or parts of systems, such as airports, commuter trains, highways, streets, bridges, drainage structures, or roadway lighting.
Confer with contractors, utility companies, or government agencies to discuss plans, specifications, or work schedules.
Engineering and Technology
product and service development
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
movement of people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road
Arts and Humanities
reading work related information
talking to others
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
communicate by speaking
communicate by writing
Ideas and Logic
use rules to solve problems
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
choose the right type of math to solve a problem
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
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
bachelor's degree usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.