Master’s in Civil Engineering Career Guide
What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Civil Engineering?
Individuals who enjoy designing and developing infrastructure
projects can benefit from the online master’s degree in civil
engineering program. From small projects like individual roads and homes
to large projects like bridges and railways, civil engineers need the
knowledge obtained from an advanced degree to broaden their career
opportunities. Online degrees are often beneficial for those who prefer
to continue working while going to school. Taking classes online also
makes it easier for those who don’t live close to a college or
university that offers a master’s in civil engineering. No two online
master’s in civil engineering programs are the same, so it’s important
to do your research and locate the one that best meets your goals.
Concentrations Offered for an Online Master’s in Civil Engineering
|CONCENTRATION||DESCRIPTION||POTENTIAL CAREERS FOR THIS CONCENTRATION|
|Construction Engineering and Management||Exposes students to advanced areas of study on planning, financing, procuring, constructing and managing all building environments.||Architectural technologist, CAD technician, environmental engineer, financial manager, management consultant and planning and development surveyor|
|Environmental Engineering||Focuses on how today’s scientists can find more efficient ways to treat waste and pollution in the air, water and soil.||Engineering technician, environmental engineer, engineering manager and environmental sales engineers|
|Geotechnical Engineering||Explores the types of materials used in construction and the issues that can cause problems, including erosion and earthquakes. Other topics may include contamination and natural hazard assessments of property.||Building services engineer, construction manager, engineering geologist, patent attorney and quality surveyor|
|Hydrology and Hydrodynamics||Provides information on the physical, chemical and biological processes in freshwater systems.||Water resources engineering, coastal engineering, environmental restoration, risk management and design of hydraulic systems|
|Structural Engineering and Mechanics||Students learn about structural analysis and design, the behavior of structural systems, engineering science, earthquake engineering and computer-aided engineering.||Building control surveyor, CAD technician, consulting civil engineer, design engineer, nuclear engineer and structural engineer|
|Transportation Engineering||Covers the planning, design, analysis, operation and management of transportation systems.||Traffic analyst, transport engineer, software engineer, CAD business process engineer and service delivery engineer|
Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Civil Engineering
Each curriculum is made up of common core classes and electives based
on your individual interests or concentration. Some programs offer
courses completely online while others may require you to take labs and
even tests on campus. Students should be prepared to take a capstone
course related to their concentration. Some of the most common classes
you are likely to encounter include:
|Water Treatment Process||Prepares students to take and pass the water treatment operator certification examination. Topics include environmental systems, safety procedures, contamination disposal and thermal processes.|
|Sustainable Building Systems||Provide students with the knowledge to deepen their understanding of sustainable products.|
|General Chemistry||An overview of advanced chemistry topics, including organic chemistry and biochemistry.|
|Thermodynamics||Covers the topics of mass and energy conservation principles and the behaviors of pure substances.|
|Business Management||Equips workers for entry into management or supervisory positions.|
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s in Civil Engineering?
An online master’s in civil engineering requires approximately 30
credit hours of coursework, which take approximately 18 months to two
years to complete on a full-time schedule. Those who choose a fast-track
may complete the coursework in as little as a year. Part-time students
may take as much as five years to graduate.
Another factor that may affect completion time is whether classes are
offered as self-paced or through cohort learning. With cohort learning,
students enter the program at the same time and graduate together. Some
classes may be offered only once per year or every other year, which
can extend the time of completion. With self-paced classes, a student
can take as many or as few classes at a time to graduate ahead of time.
Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Civil Engineering Prepares For
|Professional Engineer||To receive the PE certification, engineers must work under a PE for at least four years and pass two intense competency exams. Individuals may receive this certification after graduating from undergraduate school or while in graduate school.|
|Envision Sustainability Professional||This certification is given by the American Council of Engineering Companies, which recognizes accomplishments, career experience and education by industry professionals.|
|Diplomate, Geotechnical Engineering Certification||This certification ensures you have specialized knowledge and skills in geotechnical engineering.|
|Diplomate, Water Resources Engineer||The D.WRE is available to professional engineers who have earned certification as a specialist in the field of water resources with advanced education, experience and expertise.|
Accreditation for Online Master’s in Civil Engineering
Accreditation for an online master’s in civil engineering affects
your ability to get federal financial aid and may affect your ability to
get a job with a reputable firm. There are two types of accreditation:
regional and national. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious. A
program with regional accreditation is held to the highest industry
standards. National accreditation is usually given to two-year colleges,
faith-based organizations and trade schools. Many employees look for
individuals who have graduated from a college or university with
regional accreditation. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation coordinates the process for colleges and universities that are within the United States.
Employment Outlook for Master’s in Civil Engineering Graduates
Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s
Each discipline of civil engineering has guidelines, trends and
minimum requirements for employment. Some employers may not require a
master’s degree for employment, but if you plan on advancing your
career, an online master’s in civil engineering can increase your
options. Structural engineers that deal with highly complex situations
require a master’s degree. An advanced degree is critical to your
advancement in management and technical applications.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, graduates with a master’s degree made $12,000 more per year on average above those with a bachelor’s degrees. The type of industry you work can affect your yearly salary.
Engineers are employed in a wide variety of industries. Industries with the highest concentration are as followed.
An online master’s in civil engineering can help open doors to other
career paths. While most individuals gravitate to construction and
government positions, there are a variety of industries where a
background in civil engineering may be beneficial.
|JOB TITLE||JOB DESCRIPTION||MEDIAN SALARY||PROJECTED GROWTH RATE|
|Environmental Engineer||Environmental engineers use the principals of engineering, biology and chemistry to work on solutions to common environmental problems.||$86,800 per year||8%|
|Quantity Surveyor||A quantity surveyor is one who works in the construction industry with expert knowledge on budgeting and contracts for a project.||$61,140 per year||11%|
|Urban Designer||Urban designers analyze plans and programs to help develop communities to help accommodate population growth. They often work to find ways to revitalize physical facilities in towns, cities and counties.||$71,400 per year||13%|
|Construction Manager||Construction managers plan, inspect, monitor, review, and oversee construction projects from conception to completion. They are responsible for making sure the building is up to code and safe, and completed within a specific budget and deadline.||$76,000 per year||15%|
Professional organizations bring together individuals who are engaged
in the same profession or those with similar work interests. These
groups can brief you on important industry trends, legislative rulings
and advances in technology in your field. Consider these top
organizations for those with an online master’s in civil engineering.
American Society of Civil Engineers:
The ASCE represents over 150,000 members in civil engineering
worldwide, and it is the oldest engineering society. The group offers
technical and professional conferences and continued education, and it
is the largest publisher of civil engineering content.
American Society for Engineering Education:
The ASEE is the only professional organization that’s committed to the
needs of engineering educators. The organization provides career
assistance, publications, continued education and fellowships.
International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering:
Representing the professional body of engineers, academics and
contractors in geotechnical engineering, the ISSMGE connects industry
professionals to one another, provides update information in the field
and organizes annual conferences.
Dedicated to informing, educating and connecting the materials
community, the ASM International is the world’s largest association of
materials-centric scientists and engineers.
Earthquake Engineers Research Institute: This national, non-profit organization works to reduce risks by advancing the science and practice of earthquake engineering.
Financing Your Online Master’s in Civil Engineering
Graduate students focusing on a master’s degree in civil engineering
can find assistance through the federal government and various public
and private organizations. Start by filling out the Free Application for
Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This provides you with the various loans,
grants and scholarships that are available through the federal
government. Consider starting with these resources for financial
|Financial Aid for Graduate Students|
|Knowing Your Options|
|Civil Engineering Scholarships|
Deadline: April 10
Eligibility: Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, demonstrate a financial need and be enrolled in a college in the state where the applicant lives.
Award: Scholarship covers tuition fees, living allowance and health insurance
Deadline: November 30
Eligibility: Applicants must be interested in an advanced degree in engineering.