Steps on How to Become a Civil EngineerSTEP 1:
Understand what a civil engineer does. Basically, this is the side of engineering concerned with designing, building, and maintaining public works. Civil engineers focus on structures and facilities such as transportation routes, features (tunnels, bridges, flyovers), and hubs (such as airports and bus interchanges), water treatment (sewage, dams, pipelines, etc.) government buildings (police and fire stations, major office buildings, etc.), and other structures required on a large public scale. In some countries, such as the United States, civil engineering also involves military engineering. Another way of looking at what a civil engineer does is to see it as a role of reducing complex ideas initiated by policymakers, chief executives, and other such people into concrete reality.
It's a job that pays a reasonably high income due to the level of skills and expertise required, and the ongoing responsibilities to ensure safe, accurate, and enduring engineering outcomes.
Civil engineers can work in a variety of work environments, including in the public sector, as contractors, consultants, or even as part of a firm that undertakes work outsourced from municipalities and government. Civil engineers also work with architect firms and construction firms. Throughout the lifetime of a civil engineer career, you might vary your employment circumstances considerably to work around different needs and interests; the good thing is that your qualifications will allow you much flexibility.
Within civil engineering there are different roles open to you. For example, in the United Kingdom, you can become an engineering technician, an incorporated engineer, or a chartered engineer. Your personal interest in where to specialize will be something to consider as you pursue your studies and the different options offered through the course, so be sure to ask what's available in your country or region.
Assess your skills. Civil engineering requires good mathematics, design, and science skills. In addition, having a "big picture" mentality, creativity, the ability to function as a member of a team, the ability to work without supervision and to handle high levels of responsibility, the ability to clearly and concisely communicate your ideas both verbally, and through the use of writing and images, are all important, well-rounded features to ensure a successful civil engineering career.
If you're still at school, appropriate subjects to focus on most include mathematics, design and technology, information technology, and physics, with economics, geography, and geology also being of help.
At school and during university, participate in engineering style competitions with teams, such as model bridge building competitions. These can increase your knowledge of how things work structurally and will give you a taste of how to work as a team.
Contact the universities offering civil engineering degrees that interest you to find out what their exact requirements are. The requirements are constantly updated to reflect new technologies and methodologies.
If you have already left school and haven't taken the appropriate subjects during school, you may need to undertake bridging courses or aptitude tests to prove that you're able to undertake the subjects offered in a civil engineering degree.
Choose a study program. In general, in most countries civil engineering requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, which will usually take about four years. Depending on where you study, you may also need to take a formal certification course at the end of the degree, and in some countries, being licensed (licensure) is a prerequisite to being allowed to work or as or call yourself a "civil engineer".
Choose a program that has courses in the specific areas you are interested in. These can include design, hydraulics, construction, earthquake engineering, soil mechanics, computer methods, construction management, structural mechanics, etc.
Consider whether you want to take some courses outside your own country, to expand your knowledge of what is happening in civil engineering elsewhere, such as in a country that has very different geological concerns from your own. You might need to have proficiency in another language to be able to do this. Find out what's possible by talking with your university course guidance.
Ensure that you take courses outside of your intended field. It is possible you will find a different field that you prefer, so try to choose broadly to get a good feel for the different areas open to you within civil engineering.
Expect field trips to form a part of your degree. Being given the opportunity to apply the theory to real-life examples will help you to grasp the principles faster and will probably increase your enthusiasm for your chosen career as well.
Start thinking about how to specialize as your degree studies move on. From the start, find out all you can about the different types of civil engineering options open to you so that you're alert to what might end up being of most interest to you. Specializations might include coastal engineering, environmental issues, traffic and transportation, structural engineering, highway construction and maintenance, and so forth.
Get an internship. While in school, if it at all possible, obtain an internship in the civil field that most interests you. Most engineering firms have some type of internship program. The experience you gain is invaluable not only to helping you establish and clarify your career goals, but also in gaining valuable experience for your resume which will make you a highly desirable entry level engineer. Construction experience (internship) in your field of interest may have as much, if not more, value for your future career as a civil engineer as good results in your degree.
If you're in the United States, you'll need to undertake some specific examinations. They are as follows:
During your study (preferably in your junior or senior year): Register for and take the FE/EIT (engineering in training) exam. This exam is an important step in your professional development. It tests on basic knowledge of engineering principles. Additionally, it is typically a prerequisite for the PE Exam (see next).
When you have graduated and started working: Ensure that you begin preparation for the PE exam. Regardless of what field of civil engineering you work in, becoming a PE will provide you more opportunities and greatly increase your chances of advancement.
Similar external examination, external testing, or licensing is available in other countries. Ask your university or professional engineering association for details early on.
Join the relevant professional organization that caters for civil engineers in your country. Once you're working as a civil engineer, belonging to such an organization is the means for staying updated as to new developments, helps with your networking opportunities, and enables you to give back your knowledge to other engineers through seminars, etc., and through teaching in universities. In the United States, the relevant organization is the ASCE, or the American Society of Civil Engineers.