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2021 Civil Engineering Degree Guide

Civil Engineering encompasses anything to do with building. In this major you will learn how to design, plan, and run large building projects, whether that be bridges, buildings, roads, dams, airports, tunnels, and water supply systems. Civil engineers use modern technology to build fascinating projects and help construct the modern world. If you decide to major in civil engineering, you could work on incredible projects such as the English Channel Tunnel or even the Sears Tower.

Courses that you may be required to take could include: bridge engineering, calculus and analytical geometry, geology, physics, materials of construction, construction management, hydraulics, surveying and measuring, earthquake engineering, civil engineering ethics, transportation engineering, and reinforced concrete design.

Some of the concentrations in this major include: Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Structural Engineering, Transportation and Highway Engineering, and Water Resources Engineering.

An Increase in Civil Engineering Degrees

#45 Most Popular Major
21.9k Degrees Awarded
2.9% Increase in Graduates

Civil Engineering was the 45th most popular major in the 2018-2019 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 21,938 degrees in this year alone. This is a difference of 639 over the prior year, a growth of 2.9%.

There are 282 schools offering degrees in civil engineering in the United States. This year's Best Colleges for Civil Engineering ranking compares 183 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of civil eng programs later in this article.

What Are The Requirements For a Degree in Civil Engineering

Did you love playing with Legos when you were younger? This major is idea for innovative problem-solvers who like to take things apart and put them back together. Not only will math and science become part of your daily work, but writing will also be necessary. You need to have good communication skills to explain your work to others, especially to those who are not in your field. You will also learn how to read blueprints and how to work within building codes.

Both in college and in your career as a Civil Engineer, you will work on a lot of team projects. Learn to become a team player, listening to others ideas while at the same time promoting your own vision. You may have to make tough decisions on whether a plan is feasible both regarding safety and finances.

Prior Education for a Civil Eng Program

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most civil eng degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. Specific civil eng careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Civil Engineering Degree Types

There are various different levels of civil eng degrees. You can get anything from a associate's degree in civil engineering to the highest civil eng degree, a research/scholarship based doctorate. Different civil engineering degrees vary in how long they take.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to civil eng, with approximately 58.9% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to civil eng tend obtained the following education levels.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 61.8%
Master’s Degree 18.9%
Doctoral Degree 6.7%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 6.7%
Post-Master’s Certificate 1.8%

About 97.9% of workers in careers related to civil eng obtain at least bachelor's degree. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in civil engineering have obtained.


The education level required is different depending on the civil eng career you are seeking.

Civil Eng Careers

Average Number of Jobs
$60.1k Average Starting Salary
9% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Although you only need a bachelor's degree in order to become a civil engineer, many civil engineers have a master's degree. This is necessary in order to become a job manager as well as obtain a license. Civil Engineers can decide what interests them the most and follow that direction. You can design roller coasters, build bridges, create eight lane highways or erect earthquake-safe buildings. The possibilities are endless.

Civil engineers are needed to help create and maintain the nation's infrastructure like roads, bridges, and dams. As population continues to grow, water systems need to be maintained and civil engineers will play a key part in it all.

Solid Growth Projected for Civil Eng Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your civil eng degree? Civil Engineering careers are expected to grow 8.9% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to civil engineering.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Civil Engineers 335,700 10.6%
Architectural and Engineering Managers 190,000 5.5%
Engineers 141,000 6.4%
Environmental Engineers 58,300 8.4%
Engineering Professors 54,600 14.7%

How Much Money Do Civil Eng Grads Make?

Recently graduated civil engineering students earned an average of $60,122 in 2017-2018. Earnings can range from as low as $23,900 to as high as $81,100. As you might expect, salaries for civil eng graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid Civil Eng Careers

Salaries for civil engineering graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers civil eng grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Petroleum Engineers $156,370
Architectural and Engineering Managers $148,970
Engineering Professors $113,680
Engineers $99,410
Mining and Geological Engineers $98,420

Getting Your Civil Engineering Degree

With over 768 different civil eng degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased civil eng school rankings to help you with this.

Civil Engineering is one of 38 different types of Engineering programs to choose from.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Mechanical Engineering 47,405
Electrical Engineering 31,384
Computer Engineering 15,891
Chemical Engineering 14,406
Biomedical Engineering 12,001

View All Civil Eng Related Majors >


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