How to become a better civil engineer

Civil engineering is a high-demand field, requiring ongoing training to advance and thrive in the industry.

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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 and bridges, and water supply to waste, civil engineers keep our systems running effectively and updated 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 all doesn’t go exactly as planned, create and stay on budgets, works with clients and maintain projects as a whole.  

As a civil engineer, you know the value of continuing to broaden and deepen your knowledge to advance in the field.  With a solid base, a master’s 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?

With infrastructure all around us aging and a growing population, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 6 percent job growth over the next 10 years. Experts need 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 EngineersOlssonHNTB Corp. and many more.

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. With jobs available in both the public and private sector, there is a wide range of potential jobs that require civil engineering knowledge. A few examples of concentrations include construction, public health and urban planning.

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

What skills do I need to advance in the civil engineering field?

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 help you hone in on your 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 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 employers to take the next steps with master’s level training. The training this program focuses on will also help prepare you for the P.E. or S.E. exams. While most undergraduate programs focus on two materials, the S.E. exam requires engineers to prove they are competent in at least four. Extending your training with the Master of Civil Engineering at KU gives you the time and training to gain that additional knowledge in one to two years while working 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 two tracks allow for a deep dive into each respective 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

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