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Engineering Civil engineering! still worth it?

  1. Jan 25, 2012 #1
    civil engineering! still worth it??

    I've always like civil engineering. Bridges and highways fascinate me. I was thinking about majoring in it but everyone keeps telling me stuff like " don't do it you will find no jobs.. Low salary.. Too much stress.. Not well respected..etc"

    I'm a strong believer that money isn't everything. But I'm sure being a civil engineer will $ake me earn more then enough to support my family!? Will it??

    As for the job market is it true?

    I don't know it seems like after looking through different careers and stuff, I always seem to come back to civil engineering. I also enjoy lecture about civil engineering on youtube!

    I guess the real question is should I still think about pursuing a civil engineering degree after everyone telling me not to?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 25, 2012 #2
    Re: civil engineering! still worth it??

    I also wanted to add that I'm probably going pursue a civil engineering technician degree first then get me Bsc.. Gd idea? ( I'm thinking about working as a tech. For half a year or a year. If I don't like it ill go to uni. The money earned in that year helps too..
  4. Jan 25, 2012 #3
    Re: civil engineering! still worth it??

    Civil engineering has been hit pretty hard by the recession - more than other types of engineering I think. My ex had a hard time finding another job in 2009 and 2010 even though she had a few years experience. I think it's definitely a field that will recover, but it may be slow. Whether that will happen by the time you get your degree, I have no idea. But yes, the money should be decent enough to support a family.
  5. Jan 25, 2012 #4
    Re: civil engineering! still worth it??

    Thank you. I will graduate ( hopefully if everything goes as planned) in 7-8 years.. Do you think thing could change till then?
  6. Jan 27, 2012 #5
    Re: civil engineering! still worth it??

    Civil engineers design more than just bridges and buildings. They design the infrastructure that our society depends upon. Over the last several decades, we have built less and less of this infrastructure, pushing the problem further in to the future. It will come home to roost sooner or later. When it does, you will be in very high demand.

    Another point: Civil Engineering is one of those fields where a Masters Degree actually pays off. It won't hurt your pursuit of a PE. The time spent on a Master's counts as experience toward a PE.
  7. Jan 27, 2012 #6


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    Re: civil engineering! still worth it??

    Yes - civil engineering (and structural engineering) is still worth it! www.asce.org

    We have a lot of infrastructure - much of which needs repairing and upgrading, and there is a lot to be developed.

    For any engineering discipline, I'd recommend at least an MS.
  8. Jan 28, 2012 #7
    Re: civil engineering! still worth it??

    Thanks to all of you!
    I'm really happy about being able to mark an MSCE as experience towards a PE exam.
    You guys are really making it easier to make these though decisions.
    Do you still think its an ok idea to get a civil engineering technologist degree first?
  9. Jan 28, 2012 #8


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    Re: civil engineering! still worth it??

    I'm not familiar with CE technologist degree. Is that something like a 2 year degree.

    I've known folks to get Engineering Technology degrees, but not Civil Engineering technologist.
  10. Jan 28, 2012 #9
    Re: civil engineering! still worth it??

    Personally, if you have a way to pay for the whole thing, I wouldn't bother with the technologist degree. Once you're out of school, it's not easy wrapping your mind around all the subjects you need to get restarted. Furthermore, from where I sit, the need for more fully qualified engineers seems much higher than the need for technologists.

  11. Jan 28, 2012 #10


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    Re: civil engineering! still worth it??

    If you live in the US, CE has possibilities. Previous administrations have neglected infrastructure, and eventually the bill has to come due. We will need CE's more than ever.
  12. Jan 28, 2012 #11
    Re: civil engineering! still worth it??

    Well I live in Canada. Specifically in Montreal Qc..

    Money shouldn't be a problem for school so can't wait for next semester!! Thx again guys
  13. Jan 30, 2012 #12
    Re: civil engineering! still worth it??

    Here are my two cents. I graduated with a bachelor's degree in construction engineering (basically civil with more courses in project management and estimating and such) in 2003. I was in the top 10% of my graduating class, had already passed the EIT, member of Tau Beta Pi and the only member of my class to receive multiple job offers. None of these offers were for jobs doing actual design work. Nine years later I am still looking for a career as a design engineer with no luck. The last position I applied to (entry level bridge engineer) had 29 qualified applicants remaining after the first round of cuts. Having spoken with individuals at several engineering firms, I have concluded that they seem to be filling these entry level positions with drastically over-qualified candiates. The aforementioned bridge engineer position I applied to was ultimately filled by a PE. Essentially, you have a bunch of baby boomers whose retirement portfolio's have tanked and as a result will not be retiring any time soon, thereby displacing new graduates from the workforce. The new graduates had (until recently) been completely unable to make any progress towards their PE license (this probably had much to do with the decision) creating a growing dearth of experienced engineers that will eventually become a massive problem when the previous generation finally leaves the work force. On a separate note, I am also aware that major firms are now outsourcing their civil/structural design work to places like India. They are basically using their American licensed PE to review the work of the out-sourced engineers (which are paid roughly 1/10 of what an American engineer is paid) and utilizing them as a stamp factory. Then you have everyone echoing the same logic that our infrastructure is deteriorating and we have to fund it sooner or later. But in reality we don't. When resources are scare (money) they are funneled to the perceived imminent threats first. Infrastructure is pretty much always last on this list. Indeed, a bill originating with Republican chairman of the house transportation and infrastructure committee actually sought to decrease infrastructure funding by approximately 35% from already low levels. I for one do not see this problem ending any time soon. If I were in a position to start over again, I would avoid this profession like the plague. If you want any sort of stability, go into the medical field. It is the last remaining bastion for the American worker.
  14. Jan 30, 2012 #13
    Re: civil engineering! still worth it??

    Thank you luck dragon for the insight.
    Lately I've been wondering if an Ms or a Phd in psychology would be good for me. Its perfect from every angle except I'm not good at memorizing stuff. Other than that listening to people and trying to help has always been one of my favorite "hobbies".

    Any comments?
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