Civil Engineering Professions Video: Becoming a Civil Engineer

Civil Engineering Professions Video: Becoming a Civil Engineer Transcript

Are you intrigued by the challenges of designing and building a highway or bridge? These are the types of projects that a civil engineer works on everyday. Civil engineering is closely related to architectural engineering, but instead of just designing homes and buildings, civil engineers develop designs for projects that are in the best interest of the general public. A bachelor's degree in civil engineering or a related field can start you on the path to the career of your dreams.


Hurricane-proof homes along the Florida coast, earthquake-resistant structures in California and dams that protect native salmon species in the Pacific Northwest are examples of the projects undertaken by civil engineers. Civil engineers also work to plan, design and construct other public works projects, including bridges, tunnels and large buildings.

Job Duties and Skills

Civil engineers must keep more than the finished project in mind during the design and construction process. The needs of the community, budgetary issues, environmental impact, building codes and government regulations, along with potential hazards, must all be considered before beginning any project.

Environmental science, advanced mathematics, chemistry, physics and biology are just a few of the fields that civil engineers draw upon during their work. Regulatory approval is required for most civil engineering projects. The regulatory process can require technical documentation as well as meetings and presentations. Communication skills and diplomacy are a must for any civil engineer.

The role of technology in the civil engineering design process is also growing. Computer aided drafting and design (also known as CADD) terminals are increasingly used to create technical drawings and blueprints. Three-dimensional modeling software also helps civil engineers and their clients to visualize the finished project before construction even begins.

No matter how thorough the planning, problems arise on every construction site. A civil engineer must be available to answer questions and make adjustments. Their presence is also needed to ensure that the plans put in place are faithfully executed with regards to regulatory and environmental issues.

Training Required

Civil engineers begin their training and education in a bachelor's degree program. Most colleges and universities offer specialized civil engineering majors, although it is not uncommon for a civil engineer to study materials science, general engineering, mathematics or other disciplines. These programs provide a foundation in mathematics, the sciences and computer technology. Engineers with aspirations for advanced positions are encouraged to earn a graduate degree. Master's and doctoral degree programs allow students to form a particular interest in the applications of civil engineering including: structural design, wildlife and natural resources conservation, transportation and other fields.

In addition to a college degree, engineers who use their skills for direct benefit of the public are required to earn a Professional Engineer (P.E.) License. Completion of the licensing process requires four years of experience and completion of a state exam. Graduates of an engineering degree program can begin the first half of the exam offering the title of Engineer in Training (E.I.T.). After building their professional skills and work experience, they may take the final portion of the test, the Principles and Practices of Engineering exam.

Career Options

Nearly half of civil engineers are employed by architectural and engineering firms. Other employers for civil engineers include government agencies, like the Department of Transportation, public works departments and construction companies.

In the early stages of their careers, most civil engineers assist and work closely with more experienced engineers. As they gain experience, they may be promoted to project management helping to guide construction and design projects from conception to completion.


Civil engineers work to develop environmentally friendly, effective solutions to the problems of living in a growing and changing world. Bridges, buildings and tunnels are just some of the construction and design projects that civil engineers will be part of.


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