Career Information for a Degree in Construction Engineering

Oct 02, 2019

Construction engineering degree programs generally teach the engineering techniques and management principles that can be utilized in the heavy construction industry. Continue reading for an overview of possible degree programs as well as career, salary and licensing info for some career options for graduates.

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There are many career options for those interested in construction engineering. With a civil or structural engineering degree, it's possible to pursue a career as a civil engineer, construction manager or environmental engineer.

Essential Information

Construction engineers apply the principles of engineering and construction to build structures, ranging from bridges to buildings. With many long-term projects in the works, employment is expected to increase. Interested individuals may also consider civil engineering degree programs, which are more prevalent than construction engineering programs. Licensure may be required of some engineers.

Career Titles Civil Engineers Construction Managers Environmental Engineers
Education Requirements A bachelor's or master's degree in civil engineering Variable; a high school diploma and significant experience OR a bachelor's degree in construction science, construction management, engineering or architecture A bachelor's degree in civil, general or chemical engineering
Projected Job Growth (2018 - 2028)* 6% 10% 5%
Median Annual Salary (2018)* $86,640 $93,370 $87,620

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Construction engineers may select the materials used in the construction process, manage construction sites and supervise the implementation of mechanisms, such as hydraulic systems. They may alternate between an office and outdoor work environments. These professionals might work with contractors, construction workers and urban designers during a project, and could be responsible for reviewing project finances and keeping schedules on time. A degree in construction engineering or civil engineering could lead to a variety of other careers. Aside from construction engineers, graduates might pursue employment as civil engineers, construction managers or environmental engineers.

Civil Engineers

Civil engineers supervise sizable construction projects. They are in charge of estimating material costs, applying for building permits and testing construction materials. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there will be an 6% increase in employment for civil engineers from 2018 to 2028. The BLS reported median annual salary of a civil engineer was $86,640 in 2018. Those employed in the architectural, engineering, and related services sector earned median annual salaries of $95,630 per year in May 2018, per the BLS.

Construction Managers

Construction managers are responsible for coordinating construction projects, interpreting technical specifications, and ensuring compliance with building and safety codes. An employment growth rate of 10% was predicted by the BLS for the 2018 to 2028 decade. BLS data shows construction managers earned a median annual salary of $93,370 as of May 2018.

Environmental Engineers

These engineers address and find solutions to environmental concerns. Sometimes working in collaboration with other engineers and scientists, environmental engineers perform quality control checks in an effort to improve water and air pollution. They may also design waste water treatment systems. According to the BLS, jobs for environmental engineers will expand by 5% during the 2018 to 2028 decade. In May of 2018, their median annual salary was $87,620, as indicated by BLS data.

Construction Engineering Career Information

Few colleges and universities offer construction engineering degree programs; accordingly aspiring construction engineers may consider bachelor's degree programs in civil or structural engineering. Civil engineering programs are numerous and offer coursework in structural analysis, materials and thermodynamics. Students in both programs typically perform cooperative internships to gain work experience. Graduates of these programs have the knowledge of engineering and construction methods to design structures safely and efficiently.

Career Outlook

The BLS reports that civil engineering was expected to see growth in employment opportunities due to the need to make infrastructure repairs and build facilities for a growing population. For these same reasons, the construction industry is also expecting employment growth. The bureau also notes that the industry is sensitive to economic downturns and that construction engineers may experience some difficulty finding jobs during these periods.

Licensing

The BLS notes that engineers may need to be licensed. Licensure generally includes completing an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology-approved program, accruing work experience and passing two exams, the Fundamentals of Engineering and the Principles and Practice of Engineering. Those who complete all the requirements become designated as Professional Engineers (PEs). States may requires PEs to complete continuing education credits, which may be fulfilled by taking college courses and other completing other state-approved activities.

Civil engineers manage large building projects, while environmental engineers focus on environmental factors such as water and air pollution. Construction managers coordinate building projects to ensure building codes are followed. In addition to a degree in engineering, a state license may be required for some of these career options.

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