Construction engineering technology programs train students in the administrative, inspection-based, and technical aspects of the construction industry. Associate degree programs include classes in math, engineering, drafting, and construction tools, in addition to hands-on labs and training experiences. Bachelor's degree programs often include more advanced courses in construction management and design as well as require a capstone or final project. Courses are commonly found online and may require purchasing specific software or tools, such as AutoCAD, if pursued through this method.
Both two-year associate's and four-year bachelor's programs require students to have a high school diploma or the equivalent to enroll. Engineering technology programs do not typically qualify one to work as an engineer.
Associate Degree in Construction Engineering Technology
Students in these programs learn how to build structures and estimate costs. They also learn to schedule builds, allowing for timetable changes when unexpected problems arise, like the lack of proper materials. Because of the hands-on nature of the construction industry, these programs require a good amount of lab work, using field instruments and industry-standard software. Graduates can find work in construction contracting companies, building agencies, and architectural firms. Associate-level programs introduce students to working with contracts, scheduling, construction methods, and documentation. Programs offer such courses as:
- Technical calculus
- Materials testing
- Site engineering
- Structural design
- Technical writing
Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering Technology
These programs can teach students to plan and build homes, office buildings, and infrastructural improvements by offering courses in construction management, materials options, and financing. Students participate in hands-on practical laboratory work as a significant portion of the curriculum. Projects may include an analysis of cash flow on construction projects ranging from tunnels to warehouse construction to the alteration of existing buildings. Students learn about surveying, materials testing, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning as well as more general topics in physics and chemistry. Material covered in these types of programs can include:
- Environmental planning
- Structural analysis
According to BLS reports, there were 73,800 civil engineering technicians employed as of May 2018. Professionals working in the architectural and engineering services industry accounted for the highest percentage of employment. Among these, bachelor's degree program graduates were employed as:
- Field supervisors
- Job superintendents
- Project engineers
- Safety specialists
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for civil engineering technicians was $52,580 as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov). The BLS 2018-2028 projections forecast 5% growth in job opportunities for civil engineering technicians.
Aspiring construction engineering technologists typically enroll in associate's and bachelor's degrees in the field to learn foundational theory and build practical skills through hands-on work.