How to Become a Civil Engineer

Civil engineers are builders. They create structures and surfaces that we use for living, business and  transportation. In order to become a civil engineer you will need to complete a four year undergraduate degree in civil engineering, as well as become a licensed, professional engineer.

Education and Licensing

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics’ College Navigator, there are over two hundred post-secondary institutions in the United States that offer programs in civil engineering.

Once you have completed your four-year degree in civil engineering, you will need to pass an examination to become a professional engineer. All licensed engineers are professional engineers in good standing, and a license is required in all fifty states to work as an engineer.

Tips and Advice

If you are considering a career in engineering, you will need to take mathematics and physics courses, in addition to any of the other requirements. If you are currently in high school, you should consider spending your summer at engineering camp. There are a wide variety of summer camps available in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as in healthcare, and some of these camps may offer pre-college credit. You can find out more about these camps, the varieties and the states where they are available, on the website of Sloan Career Cornerstone Center. Working at one of these camps during the summer months between your first and second year of college is a great opportunity that looks good on a resume.

While in college, you should become a student member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. The American Society of Civil Engineers provides access to a career center, ongoing professional development opportunities and access to salary surveys.

Many engineering firms also come to college campuses to recruit engineers for summer and graduate positions, so you should attend career fairs and any information sessions offered by employers that come to your campus. Getting out to these events will tell you when they are hiring, the types of experience they look for on resumes, give you an opportunity to meet with other engineers that work for these companies and find out about the projects that they are working on. There are summer positions available to first-year engineering students with reputable and established engineering firms.


Civil engineering is associated with construction of buildings. A building can be used for human habitation or business, to assist in transporting goods, people and services, as well as designing roads, highways and bridges.

Structural engineering provides us with dams, hydro electrical plants, levies and tunnels, projects that contribute to our safety and comfort. The majority of civil engineers are engaged in some form of construction of a multitude of structures that people use in their everyday lives.

Civil engineers work in bioengineering to design and manufacture medical products. They can also work in water resources to help plan and build systems to transport water or remove waste water.

A new field of civil engineering works to design and create buildings that humans will use to in other planets, such as Mars. This line of engineers creates human habitations and workspaces demonstrate that the need for civil engineers will continue far into the future.