Construction Engineering Degree Programs, Courses and Career Education
Construction engineering degree programs combine aspects of civil engineering, structural design and project management to prepare students for management and engineering positions in the construction trade.
In these bachelor's and master's programs in construction engineering, students will learn how to analyze estimated costs and plan construction projects. They also study construction equipment, materials and information systems. Previous studies in engineering or architecture are helpful.
Students who complete degree programs in construction engineering may become licensed professional engineers with additional work experience. Licensing for construction engineers may be required in some states, and continuing education requirements must be met in order to maintain this licensure.
Bachelor's Degree in Construction Engineering
Bachelor's degree programs in construction engineering prepare students for careers managing construction projects and solving engineering problems. These 4-year programs typically offer students the opportunity to focus on a specific area, such as mechanical construction, highways, buildings or general construction.
Aside from standard admission requirements, such as a high school diploma, construction engineering programs often have additional requirements. Admission may be based on performance during high school and the number of advanced placement courses completed. Some programs require students to complete their college freshman year before being admitted into the engineering program.
Students learn about engineering principles, construction design, management, safety and quality issues. Typical courses include:
- Construction estimating and planning
- Construction equipment
- Construction materials and methods
- Mechanical and electrical systems
- Civil engineering
Master's Degree in Construction Engineering
Graduate programs in construction engineering build upon the skills learned during undergraduate study. Some programs are research focused, encouraging students to research and evaluate issues in the construction industry.
Entry into master's degree programs requires applicants to have a bachelor's degree. Some schools admit students with undergraduate degrees in any area of engineering or architecture. Others schools require a degree in civil engineering or construction. Those with degrees in areas outside of engineering might be admitted on a provisional basis, and they must satisfy science, engineering and math prerequisites before entering the program fully.
The curriculum covers construction operations and methods, as well as management and research techniques. Courses might include:
- Construction project management
- Construction systems design
- Construction engineering research methods
- Construction management information systems
- Construction estimating and cost analysis
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't track data for construction engineers, the BLS does report expected job growth for the field of civil engineering. Civil engineers may see job growth of 8% from 2014-2024, about the average for all occupations. The BLS reported an average annual salary for civil engineers of $87,940 in May 2015.
Licensing and Continuing Education
All states currently require engineers to become licensed if they deal with and accept payment from the public. Students who have completed a professional construction engineering program can take the Fundamentals of Engineering examination to become engineers in training. After completing the required amount of work experience (usually four years), engineers in training take the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam to become fully licensed professional engineers. Continuing education is a requirement to maintain licensure. Professional organizations, such as the National Society of Professional Engineers, provide information on continuing education opportunities.
Bachelor's and master's degree programs in construction engineering prepare students for construction project management. While courses differ depending on the degree level, master's program tend to focus more on research, while bachelor's programs look at the fundamentals of the field and may allow specializations. Licensure is sometimes required for engineers, and it usually entails not only completion of an engineering bachelor's program, but also additional work experience.