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Associate's Degree Programs in Civil Engineering

Individuals interested in learning the basics for entry-level work as a civil engineering technician will usually pursue an associate's degree, most commonly an Associate of Applied Science in Civil Engineering Technology program. The associate's degree program will help them acquire a solid background in construction techniques, materials specifications and cost analysis.

Essential Information

Civil engineering deals highways, sewer systems and other infrastructure. Civil engineering technology is concerned with the construction of public works such as bridges, roads and water systems. Coursework in this field trains students to use the latest computer-aided drafting (CAD) technologies for surveying and mapping. Field experiences are usually included in addition to classroom instruction. An associate's degree in civil engineering prepares graduates for assistant-level roles as technicians, surveyors and inspectors. To work as a civil engineer however, you typically must complete a bachelor's degree.

  • Program Levels in Civil Engineering: Associate's degree, Bachelor's degree
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Online Availability: Due to the lab component, it is rare to find degree programs that are completely online
  • Program Length: Two to four years

Associate's Degree in Civil Engineering

Most civil engineering programs are offered at community colleges or by the engineering colleges of 4-year universities. Since coursework requires strong math skills, some colleges require students to pass a placement exam before enrolling in engineering courses. Students who do not meet minimal requirements may need to take developmental or remedial courses. Other programs may simply require a prerequisite course in algebra.

Coursework for the associate's program are plentiful and can take anywhere from two to four years to complete. They are divided between computer-aided drafting courses and their applications, both in the classroom and in the field. Course topics studied include:

  • Surveying
  • Cartography and topography
  • Computer aided drafting
  • Soils and materials testing
  • Materials statics
  • Estimating

Popular Career Options

Graduates of associate's degree programs cannot work as full engineers but often work as assistants. Graduates are employed by state transportation departments, construction companies or utilities companies. Job titles available to associate's degree program graduates include:

  • Civil engineering technicians
  • Cartographers
  • Land surveyors
  • CAD operators

Continuing Education Information

Graduates interested in management or upper-level engineering careers in the field can pursue bachelor's degrees in civil engineering, civil engineering technology, construction engineering, surveying and mapping or construction management. For those looking to enter the job market after graduating, degree requirements prepare students to pass state and federal certification exams.

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