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Civil Engineering Major

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Civil Engineering

5,612 Master's Degrees Annually
1,232 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#37 in Popularity (Master's)
$99,410 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Civil Engineering Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many civil engineering graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 5,612
Doctor’s Degree 1,232
Graduate Certificate 117

What Civil Engineering Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, civil eng majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Civil Eng Majors

Civil Eng majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

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  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.

Skills for Civil Eng Majors

A major in civil eng prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Abilities for Civil Eng Majors

As a civil eng major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:

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  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

What Can You Do With a Civil Engineering Major?

People with a civil eng degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Architectural and Engineering Managers 5.5% $140,760
Biochemical Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Civil Engineers 10.6% $86,640
Energy Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Engineering Professors 14.7% $101,720
Environmental Engineers 8.4% $87,620
Mining and Geological Engineers, Including Mining Safety Engineers 8.2% $92,250
Petroleum Engineers 15.1% $137,170
Transportation Engineers 10.6% $86,640
Water/Wastewater Engineers 8.4% $87,620

Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering?

5,612 Master's Degrees Annually
30% Percent Women
18% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
Civil Engineering runs middle of the road when it comes to popularity, ranking #37 out of all the graduate majors we track. In 2019, about 5,612 graduates completed their master’s degree in this field. This major attracts more men than women. About 70% of the graduates in this field are male.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of civil eng majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Civil Eng Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 366
Black or African American 111
Hispanic or Latino 431
White 1,987
International Students 2,488
Other Races/Ethnicities 229

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Civil Eng. About 44.3% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • India
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Iran
  • Kuwait

How Much Do Civil Engineering Majors Make?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that civil engineering students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree made a median starting salary of $67,800 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $65,100 (25th percentile) and $70,200 (75th percentile).

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We don’t know for sure if all of these people took jobs related to civil eng so take that into consideration.

Salaries According to BLS

Civil Eng majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $93,720 to $148,970 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Civil Engineering Major  ( 93720 to 148970 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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Some degrees associated with civil eng may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

Find out what the typical degree level is for civil eng careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 1.2%
Some College Courses 0.0%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 0.7%
Bachelor’s Degree 61.8%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 6.7%
Master’s Degree 18.9%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 1.8%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 1.5%
Doctoral Degree 6.7%
Post-Doctoral Training 1.1%

Online Civil Engineering Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 300 schools offered some type of civil engineering program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 7 1
Certificate (1-2 years) 3 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 20 1
Bachelor’s Degree 37 10
Post-Baccalaureate 7 1
Master’s Degree 236 40
Post-Master’s 10 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 144 3
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 1 0

Is a Degree in Civil Engineering Worth It?

The median salary for a civil eng grad is $99,410 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 149% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,190,200 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to civil eng.

Major Number of Grads
Mechanical Engineering 47,405
Electrical Engineering 31,384
Computer Engineering 15,891
Chemical Engineering 14,406
Biomedical Engineering 12,001
General Engineering 11,739
Industrial Engineering 9,410
Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering 7,069
Materials Engineering 3,538
Systems Engineering 3,491
Other Engineering 2,982
Environmental Engineering 2,850
Petroleum Engineering 2,269
Operations Research 1,745
Agricultural Engineering 1,554
Engineering Science 1,515
Architectural Engineering 1,019
Nuclear Engineering 1,014
Engineering Physics 979
Robotics Engineering 943
Manufacturing Engineering 932
Construction Engineering 865
Marine Engineering 481
Geoscience Engineering 424
Polymer & Plastics Engineering 387
Biological Engineering 374
Textile Engineering 366
Ocean Engineering 346
Mining Engineering 340
Engineering Mechanics 314
Metallurgical Engineering 235
Biochemical Engineering 118
Ceramic Engineering 101
Surveying Engineering 89
Electromechanical Engineering 65
Forest Engineering 52
Paper Science & Engineering 44

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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