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How do you become a civil engineer?

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Quick Answer

Civil engineers must earn a bachelor's degree in civil engineering or civil engineering technology to gain employment in the field. In most states, civil engineers must also earn a professional engineering license to sell services directly to the public or complete public works projects.

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Most states require civil engineers to earn a civil engineering degree from a program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Coursework in this degree program includes math, engineering mechanics and systems and fluid dynamics. Degree programs often include classroom study, lab work and field work to provide students a thorough understanding of the field. To advance, students should also consider earning a master's degree in civil engineering. Civil engineers typically work in teams, or may advance to managing project teams in construction, maintenance or other design aspects.

In addition to earning a degree, students must also pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam and complete an internship at a public firm or government agency to qualify for a professional engineering license. Depending on state requirements, students may have to complete additional state-specific exams and on-the-job training as well. Some employers prefer to hire or promote those with advanced degrees in civil engineering and high-level engineering licenses.

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