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Civil Engineering

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Civil Engineering Major

21,193 yearly degrees
#54 in popularity
$99,000 median salary

Civil engineering is a major that typically falls into the Engineering category.

There are 21 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in civil eng, 280 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 235 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 145 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Civil Eng Degree?

Civil engineering runs middle of the road when it comes to popularity, ranking #37 out of all the majors we track. In 2017, about 13,800 graduates completed their bachelor’s degree in this major. This major attracts more men than women. About 74.5% of the graduates in this field are male.

Racial Distribution

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

  • Asian: 7.9%
  • Black or African American: 3.8%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 13.4%
  • White: 58.7%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 10.4%
  • Other Races: 5.8%

Civil Engineering Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in civil eng. About 10.4% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending civil eng majors to the U.S. are China, India and Saudi Arabia.

What Will You Learn as a Civil Engineering Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to civil eng to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Civil Eng Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

Important Knowledge Areas for Civil Engineering Majors

Skills for Civil Eng Majors

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to civil eng:

Important Skills for Civil Engineering Majors

Abilities for Civil Eng Majors

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a civil eng student include the following:

Important Abilities for civil eng Majors

What Can You Do With a Civil Eng Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with civil eng:

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

Civil Engineering Major Salary

Average salaries range from $94,000 to $149,000 for careers related to civil eng. 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, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for a Civil Eng Major  ( 94000 to 149000 )
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )

The area of the country you choose to work in will also affect your career and salary prospects. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Civil Engineering Major Jobs

Some careers associated with civil eng require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

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

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Civil Engineering
Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Less Than a High School Diploma 0%
High School Diploma or Equivalent 0%
Post-Secondary Certificate 1.2%
Some College Courses 0%
Associate's Degree or Equivalent 0.7%
Bachelor's Degree 61.8%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 6.7%
Master's Degree 18.9%
Post-Master's Certificate 1.8%
First Professional Degree 1.5%
Doctoral Degree 6.7%
Post-Doctoral Training 1.1%

Online Civil Engineering Programs

There are 280 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, with 2 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Many learners are drawn to online programs due to the ease of use and flexibility. Students should be warned that those who enroll in online programs can take longer to graduate than average and are more likely to drop out.

Is a Civil Engineering Major Worth It?

The median salary for a civil eng grad is $99,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 156% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,210,200 after 20 years!

civil engineering salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period


Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: Master Sgt. Roger Parsons via License

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