How to Become a Civil Engineer

Overview & Salaries

Recommended Degree:
The right degree for you depends on the industry and company you apply for. Usually a bachelors degree is needed to be a civil engineer for most employers. If you are looking to get into a competitive position or on management level, then a masters degree may be useful for you. Learn more by clicking our “Education Required” tab up top.

Begin your career path today by signing up for free information from one of our accredited schools below that offer programs to help get you started as a civil engineer.

Median salary:
$79,340 (national median salary, to view salaries in your state click on the “Best Places to Work” tab).

Expected growth from 2012-2020:
+53,700 additional people employed

Specialization Options:
Structural engineering, project management, buildings, urban planning, municipal engineering, and environmental engineering.

(all information above provided by the 2012 BLS)

Discover the Best Places to Become a Civil Engineer

The state of California has the highest employment numbers in the nation, with 37,900 civil engineers currently being employed, and earning an annual mean wage of $97,280. Texas is second, where 23,550 civil engineers are working statewide, and making a bit more than those in California at $98,560.

According to the results of a recent survey by the American Society of Civil Engineers the best paying places to practice civil engineering are:

Syracuse, New York $121,950
Brazoria, Texas $113,440
Houston,Texas $108,500
San Jose, California $105,000
Santa Fe, New Mexico $105,000
Jersey City, NJ $104,750
Lowell, Mass/N.H $103,500
Oakland, California $103,000
Trenton, N.J. $101,355
Portsmouth, Rochester, NH/Maine $100,650

Employment and Salary Information by State for Civil Engineers

Use our interactive map below to find out which areas of the United States are currently experiencing the greatest amount of growth and job availability for graduates looking for a career in Civil Engineering. The associated information has been gathered from the Bureau of Labor statistics, representing data collected in 2012.

Employment and Information Data for Civil Engineering

Why Become a Civil Engineering?

After the Great Depression, the United States embarked on a remarkable public works project that changed the overall infrastructure of the country and laid the groundwork for the remarkable expansion that would take place after World War II.

Today, however, much of that infrastructure is three-quarters of a century old, and civil engineers will be needed to manage projects to rebuild bridges, repair roads, and upgrade levees and dams.

It’s a noble and important career that is not limited to building roads and bridges. Civil engineers also develop the best way to connect and build pipes together for water and sewage treatment. They are responsible for the supervision large construction projects that include buildings, airports, tunnels, dams and bridges.

Recommended Courses to Help You Become a Civil Engineer

  • Introduction to Civil Engineering
  • Calculus
  • Introductory Physics
  • Traffic Engineering
  • Electricity, Magnetism, & Fluids
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics
  • Structural Dynamics
  • Materials Engineering
  • Civil Engineering Design

Degree Options for Civil Engineering Careers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 20% of civil engineers eventually earn a master’s degree. As in most professions, the more advanced degrees offer greater long-term career opportunities.

Bachelor’s Degree
Most work in civil engineering requires a bachelor’s degree. To become a civil engineer, you’ll need at least a minimum of a bachelor’s (B.E. Civil Engineering) while most employment will require a master’s degree a and state certification.  Expect to study a broad curriculum with featured courses in geotechnical engineering, environmental and structural engineering, hydraulics and more.

Graduate Degrees
Graduate degrees include a master’s of civil engineering (MCE) and a Ph.D. of civil engineering. Graduate civil engineering programs prepare students to pursue a variety of careers such as architects, engineers and consultants.