Civil Engineering
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Civil Engineering Overview

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.

Required Skills

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.


Although you only need a bachelor's degree in order to become a civil engineer, about 20% of 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. Employment is expected to grow about as fast as average.

Graduates with a degree in civil engineering average $52,670 as a starting salary with a mid-career salary of $89,420.

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Example Careers

Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Civil Engineering might open up.

Architectural and Engineering Managers
Civil Engineers
Engineering Teachers, Postsecondary
Engineers, All Other
Environmental Engineers
Mining and Geological Engineers, Including Mining Safety Engineers
Petroleum Engineers
Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
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