How to become a better civil engineer

Civil engineering is a competitive, high-demand field that requires ongoing training and continued education to advance in the industry.

Adult in business attire and hard hat

Working in the public and private sector, civil engineers are involved in creating, maintaining, adapting, and updating the infrastructures we use every day. From roads to railways, bridges, water supply, and waste, civil engineers keep our systems updated and running effectively and efficiently as society and systems change.

Designing and supervising major infrastructure projects and systems takes a mix of technical experience, project management, and leadership skills. Starting with the end in mind, civil engineers not only plan and lead projects, they must be able to problem solve and adjust when things don't go exactly as planned, create and stick to budgets, work with clients, and maintain projects as a whole.  

As a civil engineer, you know the value of continuing to broaden and deepen your knowledge in the field. With a solid base, a master’s degree or certificate program will allow you to focus on the technical side of your field of interest, as well as hone in on the areas where you want to focus.

Where do civil engineers work?

Due to aging infrastructure and a growing population, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of civil engineers will grow over the next 10 years. Companies across the country need experts to plan and manage projects to rebuild, repair, and upgrade bridges, roads, levees, dams, airports, buildings, and many more structures.  

Examples of local engineering and architecture firms include Black & VeatchBurns & McDonnellKiewit Engineering Group Inc.Henderson EngineersOlsson, and HNTB Corp., just to name a few.

What types of civil engineering jobs are available?

Civil engineering has been listed on the top of’s list of master’s degrees for job placement. Typical titles include design engineer, structural engineer, project manager and project leader. There are a wide range of potential jobs that require civil engineering knowledge in both the public and private sector. These potential career sectors include construction, public health, urban planning, and more.

Employers also look for those with experience in various design capabilities such as timber, advanced steel, dynamics, reliability, and more. These design focuses often require additional learning than what is covered in the traditional civil engineering bachelor’s degree.

What skills do I need to advance as a civil engineer?

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the required knowledge to practice structural engineering "...exceeds today's typical civil engineering baccalaureate degree, even when coupled with the practical experience gained prior to licensure." Obtaining a master’s degree or certificate in civil engineering, and completing the Professional Engineering and Structural Engineering exams, are great ways to advance in your civil engineering career. Furthering your education will also help you focus on an area of expertise.  

The Master of Civil Engineering program at the KU Edwards Campus helps prepare you for both the Professional Engineering Exam and the Structural Engineering Exam, and helps students stay abreast of emerging technologies in the field.

Why should I get a master’s degree in civil engineering?

If you are interested in advancing your career in civil engineering, it’s highly recommended by firms and other employers to take the next steps with master’s level training. The training this program focuses on will also help prepare you for the Professional Engineering or Structural Engineering exams. While most undergraduate programs focus on two materials, the Structural Engineering exam requires engineers to prove they are competent in at least four materials. Completing the Master of Civil Engineering program at KU gives you the time and training to gain additional knowledge in one to two years, while offering the flexibility to work in the field full time.

What are some other civil engineering professional development opportunities?

If you’re not ready to commit to a full degree program, KU Edwards Campus offers certificates in structural analysis, as well as structural design and structural forensics. These certificates allow for a deep dive into their respective focus area. Most states require professional development hours to renew a license, and these two concentrated certificates can be the perfect fit as you are working through that process. 

Learn more about the M.C.E. and structural engineering certificates at the KU Edwards Campus.


Civil Engineers – Bureau of Labor Statistics

A day in the Life of a Civil Engineer

cover of the Alumni Survey results

Get Insights from KU Graduates

Download this report filled with statistical and qualitative feedback from more than 500 alumni to help you decide if the KU Edwards Campus is right for you.

Cover to the Tips for a Successful Start PDF

Get started at the KU Edwards Campus

Download your guide for a successful start on your KU Edwards Campus undergraduate or graduate program, including information on financial aid, academic advising and more.

alumni report

Maximize Your Financial Aid

Download your guide for making the most of financial aid at KU Edwards Campus.

Cover to the The Adult Learner's Guide PDF

An Adult Learner’s Guide to Choosing the Right KC University

Helpful tips to choosing the right university in Kansas City.

Cover to the The Adult Learner's Guide PDF

Putting off your academic pursuits?

Download our eBook that addresses and debunks 7 of the biggest concerns adult learners have about returning to school.

Cover to the The Online Learner's guide

Find the right online program for you

Download your guide for tips and questions to ask when researching online learning options.