Only 14 percent of engineers are women, according to a 2012 U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee report. The increased participation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is integral to curbing the shortage of STEM workers in the United States. Civil engineering is one of those fields needing career-minded women. A civil engineer designs and oversees large construction projects, such as buildings, airports, roads, bridges and water supply systems. Career goals for successful engineers revolve around education, licensing, certification and experience.
Get Advanced Education
At minimum, civil engineers need a bachelor's degree in civil engineering or a related area. However, advanced education is increasingly important in this field. One in every five civil engineers has a master's degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A master's degree or post-secondary certificate in engineering is especially important if you want to work in a management-level position.
A license is an essential goal for civil engineers who want to work in a supervisory capacity and to provide services to the public. Every state and the District of Columbia requires civil engineers to be licensed to be in control of a project or supervise other civil engineering professionals. State licensing prerequisites vary. However, all states require civil engineers to earn an engineering degree from an accredited institution and pass the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination.
Civil engineering certification is optional, but recommended for anyone who wants to boost her career. Certification is an advanced qualification beyond a license. It establishes you as a leader in the engineering field, and clients and employers alike recognize the designation. The American Society of Civil Engineers awards certification. They partner with multiple organizations, such as the Academy of Coastal, Ocean, Port & Navigation Engineers, the Academy of Geo-Professionals, and the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers, to grant Certificates of Special Knowledge. Certification requirements vary by certificate and program.
Gain Work Experience
Work experience is essential to earn a license in some states. It is also necessary to advance to management positions or earn certification. Both a license and experience are required to work in a supervisory capacity. Work experience can be gained through internships during your education and through formal apprenticeships and engineering jobs after graduation. Many schools offer career placement as part of their engineering programs.
- U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee: STEM Education: Preparing for the Jobs of the Future
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Civil Engineers: What Civil Engineers Do
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Civil Engineers: How to Become a Civil Engineer
- American Society of Civil Engineers: Civil Engineering Certification
- Purdue University: Industry Opportunities and Career Placement
- Milwaukee School of Engineering: Career Services at MSOE
- University of Miami College of Engineering: Career Planning and Placement
Karen Schweitzer is a writer and author with 10-plus years of experience. She has written 11 non-fiction books and currently works as a senior editor for Education-Portal.com. In her spare time, she blogs and assists clients with article writing, editing, proofreading and other projects.