How to Become a Civil Engineer How to Become a Civil Engineer

How to Become a Civil Engineer: A Step-by-Step Guide

Civil engineers are in charge of designing, building, and maintaining practically every structure, road, bridge, harbor, airport, and power plant in existence. Civil engineers are in high demand and can earn a lot of money due to the need to supervise construction projects to repair and improve old infrastructure such as bridges, roads, levees, dams, airports, buildings, and structures. Civil engineers today are in charge of infrastructure design, building, maintenance, and operation, as well as preserving public and environmental health and modernizing outmoded systems. This article will answer the question, “How to Become a Civil Engineer?”      



Civil engineers study structural engineering and architectural design in addition to civil engineering. As part of our new series of engineering profession guides, we’re getting into Civil Engineering and the various paths available to people with a background in this discipline. A bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, as well as the various types of civil engineering courses, will be covered in a subsequent part. Let us begin by defining just what a civil engineer is. Although this appears to be a simple question, the expertise of a civil engineer can be used in a vast range of sectors, each of which has the potential to significantly affect the world.

If you want to learn how to become a civil engineer, keep reading.

What Is Civil Engineering?

Civil engineers employ their imagination to shape the built environment for future generations. Civil engineers are in charge of designing, building, and maintaining practically every structure, road, bridge, harbor, airport, and power plant in existence. Civil engineers are in high demand and can earn a lot of money due to the need to supervise construction projects to repair and improve old infrastructure such as bridges, roads, levees, dams, airports, buildings, and structures. Civil engineers today are in charge of infrastructure design, building, maintenance, and operation, as well as preserving public and environmental health and modernizing outmoded systems.

When we hear the term “civil engineering,” we envision gigantic construction projects. Civil engineers work on a wide range of tasks, from the construction of individual roads and structures to the planning, design, construction, and operation of large-scale projects or research.

Learn More: What is Civil Engineering?


Types of civil engineering

Infrastructure Engineering

Infrastructure engineering creates bridges, roads, and trains, as well as utilities such as water and electricity.

They work alongside architects, builders, and other engineers. And it is their responsibility to assess and design these structures so that they are robust, long-lasting, cost-effective, and aesthetically pleasing.

Learn How to Become an Architect

They work alongside architects, builders, and other engineers. They oversee the research and planning that goes into these structures to ensure that they are strong, long-lasting, cost-effective, and aesthetically pleasing.

Structural engineers, like their sister subject of infrastructure engineering, rely on hard sciences for their job. Things like doing the arithmetic to ensure that a structure can sustain the weights applied on it are stable and will survive as long as it is designed to.


Environmental Engineers

Environmental engineers employ engineering, chemistry, biology, and soil science understanding to environmental challenges.

Environmental engineers use these concepts to investigate and address a wide range of environmental issues. They are improving recycling, waste management, pollution avoidance, and public health. For example, developing creative techniques to lower energy use and prevent pollution before it devastates the planet’s ecosystems and natural resources.

Geotechnical Engineering

Geotechnical engineers analyze how a project interacts with the ground.

The role of a Geotechnical engineer is to help with the planning and implementation of a building’s foundation. They will analyze and test to identify the potential risk to people and the environment. Natural disasters such as avalanches, rock falls, sinkholes, and earthquakes pose threats that these tests can reveal.

Geotechnical engineers’ bread and butter are roads, embankments, bridges, canals, and a variety of other man-made structures.

Soil, sand, and rock are just a handful of the various natural ground substrate alternatives. Because each project is unique, no two geotechnical engineer positions are the same.

Did you need to know: What is Geotechnical Engineering: Unraveling Its Hidden Wonders


Transportation Engineers

Improving our transport systems is a primary focus of transport engineering.

Engineers specializing in transportation use scientific and technological ideas in the administration, construction, and upkeep of transportation infrastructure. Their principal function is to ensure that each project has access to sufficient, secure, and ecologically sustainable modes of transit for the general population and the delivery of commodities.

Today, we can go by train, car, bike path, airline, or boat, among other options. Safety and long-term viability are at the top of a transport engineer’s priority list when evaluating each transportation option. Sustainability and the requirement to lessen emissions and energy consumption are quickly assuming critical importance for the globe. Engineers in the field of transportation are working harder than ever to lessen carbon dioxide emissions and energy consumption.

Learn More Unlocking the Secrets of Transportation Engineering: Insights, Innovations

Structural Engineering

Engineers specializing in structural design work on a wide range of projects, including bridges, skyscrapers, private residences, and public sculptures.

They collaborate with other professionals such as architects, builders, and engineers. And it is their job to analyse and design these buildings so that they are sturdy, long-lasting, cost-effective, and aesthetically beautiful.

Like its sister discipline, infrastructure engineering, structural engineering relies heavily on the application of physics and mathematics. Things include doing the maths to make sure a building can withstand the loads placed on it, is stable, and will last as long as it’s intended to.


What is Civil?

The designation “Civils” is sometimes used to refer to the field of Civil Engineering. The plural is rarely used outside of the construction industry. Only in the construction industry does the plural of Civil appear outside of firm names. It is occasionally used by those working on transport networks and initiatives.

Read More: What is Construction Engineering?

What Do Civil Engineers Actually Do?

Since Civil Engineering is such a broad field, and individual practitioners may specialize in a specific subset, picturing a typical workday for a Civil Engineer can be difficult. Furthermore, in order to stay current in your area, emerging technologies need a commitment to lifelong learning.

While most civil engineers spend their days designing drawings for buildings and other structures in an office or on a remote team, the job occasionally requires them to travel to construction sites or even work there full-time. Your daily responsibilities will be decided by your areas of expertise, amount of experience, and position. The day-to-day activities of a Foundation Engineering business, for example, may differ significantly from those of a transportation engineering firm.


Day to day as a civil engineer

However, generally, you would normally expect your work within Civil Engineering to include tasks like:

  • Interacting with clients and other project specialists (such as architects and subcontractors
  • Be able to converse with a variety of people without losing your audience. You will be able to network not just with other engineers, but also with company leaders, vendors, and engineering industry specialists.
  • Managing administrative activities such as job specification writing, engineering management, and bid process navigation
  • Investigations at the site, either technical or for feasibility purposes.
  • Having to make complicated calculations or check the work of others who have done so.
  • Having the duty of performing difficult calculations or verifying the work of others who have done so
  • Troubleshooting and correcting design and development issues
  • Controlling costs and allocating adequate resources
  • Coordinating the purchase and delivery of resources to meet project deadlines
  • Ensuring that all health and safety regulations are met in relation to the engineering of a project.
  • Projects’ environmental impacts and their interactions with the surrounding natural environment are evaluated.

Civil engineering is evolving as a field as a result of new building processes, materials, and tools made available by technological advancements. Professionals who want to preserve their licenses and stay on top of their fields should prioritize education and training. Graduate programs, conferences, and other in-person professional development opportunities are just a few of the many options available to ambitious civil engineers.

Educational requirements

Candidates having at least a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering are preferred by the majority of businesses. A Bachelor of Science in Industrial or Mechanical Engineering is another possibility. The capacity to plan, organize, and manage civil engineering projects is a skill that can be developed through formal education. Engineering mechanics, fluid dynamics, mathematics, and statistics classes are likely. A master’s or doctoral degree isn’t necessarily required for a job, but it might help you stand out in the job market.

Entry-level requirements for technologists often include completion of a two- or three-year civil engineering technology program. Technicians, on the other hand, typically require merely a certificate or associate’s degree from a one- or two-year civil engineering curriculum. You can expect to learn the knowledge and skills needed to give technical help and services to civil and construction engineers while in college.



After completing the minimum three to four years of supervised work experience required of all engineers, you can become a registered civil engineer. Internships and cooperative education initiatives can help undergraduates start constructing their resumes. Thanks to this fieldwork, you may put what you’ve learned in class into practice and gain a sense of what you’ll be doing. After graduation, look for entry-level civil engineering jobs.

If you wish to work as a civil engineering technician or technologist, you should have at least two years of experience. Apprenticeships can help you gain this type of practical experience during or after your academic studies. Companies usually prefer individuals with appropriate job experience, regardless of specialization within civil engineering.

Developing the Necessary Skills

In addition to combining their practical and creative interests, top-tier civil engineers have a wide range of talents that allow them to analyze their environments and translate their client’s wants and needs into workable infrastructure. Among the most in-demand abilities are:

  • Decision-making Civil engineers must continually make decisions because they are in charge of seeing projects through to completion. Decisions might be as huge as replacing a car or as minor as selecting a new doorknob. The best civil engineers can make split-second decisions.
  • Math-minded Civil engineers still need a solid grasp of a wide variety of mathematics, despite the fact that software and technology are being used more frequently throughout the design and planning processes. Calculus, geometry, and trigonometry are the most popular ones.
  • Problem-solving When a large project is launched, there are bound to be snags. To tackle problems that develop as a result of zoning rules, natural settings, or customer preferences, a civil engineer must be able to think critically and creatively.
  • Organization Civil engineers usually oversee contractors and laborers and collaborate with other specialists on projects. The success of the project depends on your ability to juggle multiple responsibilities and keep everyone informed of their specific roles.

Obtaining Professional Licensure

A professional civil engineer’s license is normally required for working in the field. The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) test and appropriate job experience are often necessary, though these details may vary by region or state. Engineers can become licensed by passing the Professional Engineering (PE) test when they have accrued the necessary experience.

Exploring Career Opportunities

The field of civil engineering is developing as a result of technological breakthroughs in building techniques, materials, and tools. Professionals that care about keeping their licenses and staying at the forefront of their fields should prioritize education and training. Graduate programs, conferences, and other in-person opportunities for professional growth are just a few of the many paths open to ambitious civil engineers.

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What do civil engineering technologists and technicians do?

On structural and construction projects, civil engineer technologists and technicians assist scientists and engineers. Consulting firms, construction firms, government agencies, and transportation agencies are common places for them to find work. Specifically, civil engineering technicians are responsible for the following:

  • develop computer-aided designs (CADs) from preliminary concepts and sketches
  • prepare construction specifications, project schedules, and material estimates
  • supervise or conduct field surveys, inspections, and technical investigations of water supply systems and construction projects
  • Here are the specific duties of civil engineering technicians:
  • assist in developing engineering drawings and specifications
  • participate in field surveys, investigations, and inspections
  • complete tasks assigned by civil engineers or project managers

Continuing Education and Specialization

Improvements in construction processes, tools, materials, and practices are driving change in the discipline of civil engineering. Working professionals who wish to keep their licenses and keep up with developments in their fields should make continuing education and professional development a top priority. Those civil engineers who are serious about getting forward in their fields should consider attending graduate school, as well as professional conferences, workshops, and seminars.


Civil Engineers Salary

In May 2020, the median annual pay for civil engineers in the United States was $88,570, as the Bureau of Labour Statistics reported. Employment possibilities are expected to increase by 2% between 2019 and 2029, according to the bureau, which is less than average growth.

According to Horodniceanu, a qualified PE with a Ph.D. in transportation planning and engineering, a civil engineer’s success can be enhanced by a genuine interest in developing innovative solutions to old problems in the field of civil engineering.

Major Challenges Faced by Civil Engineers Worldwide


Health and Safety Hazards

The main source of stress for a civil engineer is health and safety concerns. On construction sites, there are numerous hazards that might cause catastrophic injury. Construction has one of the highest injury rates in the sector, which is unsurprising. Some people are killed in workplace accidents.

Governments regulate the protection of civil engineers in various ways. These rules are in effect at all times. Similarly, when performing dangerous labor, they should never sacrifice safety equipment.

Environmental Challenges

Because construction is an outdoor industry, the environment creates risks to project completion on time. Projects are halted due to extreme weather conditions such as severe rain, snowfall, and heatwaves. As a result, meeting deadlines becomes difficult for engineers. The construction site is often forced to close due to safety issues caused by natural disasters. Such unexpected pauses must become part of a civil engineer’s routine.


Challenges with Managing Contracts

Many contractual conflicts might develop during the course of a project. These can be related to job variations, onsite property damage, and craftsmanship issues. The job of a civil engineer also includes handling such disagreements.

A project also involves several third parties, such as electricians, plumbers, raw material suppliers, painters, and so on. A civil engineer must handle all of them and complete the essential work.

Other Challenges

Here are a few other challenges you’ll face as a civil engineer.

  • The hours are lengthy (often 12-14 each day). It is probable that you will work past midnight.
  • It’s a demanding job with little time off for vacations or sick days.
  • There are hardly any female workers on the construction site. This is a predominantly male-dominated field.
  • Every day, you will deal with a wide range of people, including project managers, staff, customers, and others from outside the organization.
  • Physical exertion is required for the job. The majority of your day will be spent on your feet, standing and watching.
  • Salary ranges are subject to change.
  • It is possible that you will be needed to work at several different construction sites.

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The phrase “civil engineer” refers to professionals who plan, design, build, operate, and maintain physical infrastructure. Any and all sorts of structures, as well as networks for transmitting and receiving information and energy, are examples of infrastructure, as are factories, transportation systems, water supply systems, and municipal water systems. They are predicted to perform as intended and pose no safety risks for at least a half-century of service. Natural disasters that threaten them include droughts, floods, heat waves, high winds, storm surges, forest fires, and accumulated ice and snow. Engineers use a variety of techniques and standards to ensure that infrastructure systems and structures have minimal functional, durability, and safety failures over their useful lives.


Can I work as a civil engineer if I don’t have a degree in civil engineering?

You meet the minimum requirements for IEng if you hold a bachelor’s degree from an authorized institution. It is possible to become an integrated engineer (IEng) with a foundation degree, HNC, or HND rather than a bachelor’s degree.

What percentage of civil engineers are men, if any?

Although civil engineering has traditionally been a male-dominated discipline, recent initiatives aim to change that. More and more women are entering the field of civil engineering, and in response, professionals in the field are striving to make it more welcoming to female workers.

What new directions are taking civil engineers today? 

These days, civil engineers can model their projects digitally utilizing software like CyberCity 3D. After that, the model may be printed out via 3D printing while still preserving the correct scaling for use by Civil Engineers. This cutting-edge piece of technology is making even more complex building processes more manageable.

Can you tell me about the several subfields within civil engineering?

Buildings, roads, and bridges are just a few examples of large-scale structures that fall under the purview of civil engineers. This occupation has been around ever since humans first built up permanent communities. Numerous subfields can be pursued within the larger field of civil engineering:
 •          Municipal and Urban Engineering
•           Transportation Engineering
•           Construction Engineering
•           Structural Engineering
•           Water Resources Engineering
•           Coastal Engineering
•           Earthquake Engineering
•           Environmental Engineering
•           Geotechnical Engineering

What is the job outlook for civil engineering technicians and technologists?

The Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) predicts that the job outlook for technologists and technicians in civil engineering will be “fair to good” in the coming three years. Eight thousand additional positions are anticipated by the group between 2019 and 2028. In addition, it predicts that there will only be 8,800 new applicants to fill the vacant posts.

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