While only a bachelor's degree in civil engineering is necessary to work as an engineer, earning a master's degree can lead to higher pay, allow individuals to gain further specialization in the field, and open up doors to jobs in related industries. We will discuss a few career options, below, that are open to those with a master's degree in civil engineering.
Career Possibilities with a Master's Degree in Civil Engineering
|Job Title||Median Salary (2016)*||Job Growth (2014-2024)*|
|Architectural and Engineering Manager||$134,730||2%|
|Urban and Regional Planner||$70,020||6%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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- Civil Engineering Technology
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Civil Engineering Master's Degree Career Descriptions
With a master's degree in civil engineering, you could, of course, choose to continue working within the civil engineering field planning and building various projects like bridges, dams, and roads. However, having a master's degree makes you a more attractive candidate for advancement, especially after having gained some work experience and obtaining a Professional Engineering license. Also, a master's in civil engineering program often gives you the freedom to further delve into an area like structural engineering or transportation engineering, allowing you to be more competitive for specialized roles.
Architectural and Engineering Manager
By obtaining a master's degree in civil engineering, you also become a more attractive candidate for engineering manager positions, given that you also have considerable work experience. Engineering managers typically work for large engineering companies and are responsible for the overall planning of projects, overseeing and managing staff, and developing budgets. A master's degree in civil engineering may give you a competitive edge when applying for one of these jobs.
As a civil engineer with a master's degree, you may be interested in transitioning to a related field like construction management. Construction managers are responsible for managing all aspects of the construction site, from making sure workers are trained and on time, to handling budget matters. Because many construction managers only have a bachelor's degree, having a master's in civil engineering could make you a competitive applicant, especially for projects that relate closely to civil engineering, like bridge and roadway construction.
Urban and Regional Planner
Urban and regional planners are in charge of figuring out how to best use and develop public land in a way that fits the needs of the community. Some of their responsibilities typically include visiting possible building sites, working with developers, collaborating with city officials, and understanding various building and zoning codes. With a background and master's in civil engineering, you may be interested in transitioning to work in urban and regional planning, where your civil engineering knowledge will allow you to play a more active role when managing and overseeing building projects.
As an environmental engineer, you would be responsible for solving different environmental problems, like waste disposal or air pollution, using principles of science and engineering. There are some master's in civil engineering programs that allow you to specialize in areas like environmental engineering and water resources engineering, so you can gain the skills necessary to be successful in this field. Many employers may also prefer to hire candidates who have obtained a master's degree.
With a master's degree in civil engineering, individuals are not only able to expand their opportunities within the field of civil engineering, they also become eligible for a number of interesting positions in related fields.