Have you ever wondered "who built this road?" while driving your car?

Civil engineers are the ones who are building these roads! Civil engineers not only build roads, but also build structures that serve the general public, such as dams, bridges, canals, and power plants, to name a few.

An aerial view of a highway running through a city Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

If building something for the general public sounds interesting to you, then consider the career of a civil engineer!

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Duties of Civil Engineering

There are three different phases that go into civil engineering:

Phase 1: Design

This is where you'll design your long-term plan. You'll also assess risks, and check to see if the design fits the budget and meets local regulations.

Phase 2: Build

This is where you start to see the results of your design. You'll test the materials you'll use, check to make sure they meet government standards for building, and oversee the project while it's being built.

Phase 3: Repair

You'll maintain and repair any projects that need attention.

Quiz

You're doing research to see if steel will be appropriate to use to build a bridge. What phase are you on right now?

Where can you be employed?

As a civil engineer, you can work in different settings such as:

  • Consulting/design firms

  • Construction firms

  • Local, state, or federal government

  • Laboratories

  • Research/development firms

  • Law firms

  • Insurance firms

  • College/university

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Types of Civil Engineering

There are many different specializations of civil engineering that you can choose from, such as:

  • Structural Engineering — analyze and design structures to ensure the safety and resistance of stress and force

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  • Environmental Engineeringstudy and address the effects of technological advances on the environment

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  • Transportation Engineering —construction of transportation facilities, often including roads, railways, airports, bike paths, and sidewalks

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  • Water and Wastewater Engineering —plan, design, and manage the construction and operation of water or wastewater supply systems

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What education do you need?

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  • To be a civil engineer, you'll usually need a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, civil engineering technologies, or related fields like construction.

  • You'll need to take programs like civil engineering and civil engineering technology, and take courses that emphasize different subjects and specialities like math, statistics, engineering mechanics and systems, and fluid dynamics.

  • Your courses will involve classroom learning along with both lab and field work, and may include work experience programs.

Close up image of a young man doing some experiment in a lab setting. Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Unsplash

💡Check out a list of the best undergraduate civil engineering programs in the USA and Canada.

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But will it pay the bills?

Flaticon Icon The average base annual salary in Canada is $69,039. (CAD)

Flaticon Icon The average base annual salary in the U.S. is $95,440.

You'll love this career if you have...

  • Communication Skills — you can act as a mediator to communicate clearly and accomplish tasks.

  • Leadership Skills — you have the ability to motivate and effectively lead a team to achieve project goals.

  • Problem-Solving Skills — there are many variables that can hinder the project, such as materials, government standards, and regulations so it is important to have the ability to identify, evaluate and resolve problems effectively.

  • STEM Skills — both mathematical and physics skills are required.

  • Data Computation Skills — civil engineers collect a lot of data and organize them to present them to people with different expertise.

A construction site with two men standing, wearing hard hats and pointing at something in the distance Photo by Mark Potterton on Unsplash

❌ Look for another career if you...

  • aren't interested in studying advanced math and physics.

  • don't want to work long hours in stressful conditions.

  • like working by yourself.

  • don't like structure and timelines.

  • are looking for a remote job.

  • Not the best at organizing.

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⚡Check your knowledge!

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  • shy and prefers working alone

  • likes to engage in artistic activities

  • organized and detail-oriented

  • doesn't like following strict work schedules

  • works part-time as a math tutor

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  • an extrovert who likes to meet new people

  • enjoys being creative and playing with Lego sets in her free time

  • has excellent problem-solving skills

  • leads the debate team at her school

Quiz

Who would be a better fit as a civil engineer?

Take Action

Photo by Compare Fibre on Unsplash Photo by Compare Fibre on Unsplash

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This Byte has been authored by

HM

Hain Moon

Science Teacher