Tips for Getting Into Civil Engineering

Civil engineers design, build and shape the world around us. They’re involved in the construction and maintenance of public works such as bridges, dams, roads, railways, pipelines, airports, hospitals and schools. You can choose to specialise in a particular area such as buildings, highways and transportation, rail or waste management.

Some suggestions to begin with civil engineering

Attend a civil engineering open event

If you want to be sure that a career in civil engineering is right for you, an open day is a wonderful way to start. They’re entertaining, generally free, offer you an idea of what the job entails, and give the discipline some real-world perspective. Events like this also allow you to meet like-minded people, connect with potential employers, and discuss your training and career.

Attend a civil engineering open event
Attend a civil engineering open event

By attending, you will meet students studying the course you’re interested in, hear about course modules and what they involve, take a tour of the campus and, if you’re lucky, have a go at some hands-on activities.

Research your entry route

Your next step should be to find out how you’re going to get there. You will need to have the relevant qualifications. Studying for a civil or structural engineering degree is the more academic, and by far the most popular, route into the profession

If the university isn’t for you, an engineering apprenticeship is an excellent alternative. As an apprentice, you will be paid while learning. It will take longer to become credentialed, but you will acquire essential hands-on experience along the way. Civil engineering apprenticeships are available at a number of levels with a variety of businesses.

Find the right course

Going along the most typical path of a university diploma, you will learn that no two degree programs are alike and that there are a variety of institutions and courses to select from.

Find the right course
Find the right course

Use all the resources available to you when deciding which programme to study. You need to gain an understanding of the wider context of the civil engineering department at your chosen institution. 

Get some work experience

Some degree courses provide a year in industry, which can help you to build contacts. However, if your programme doesn’t offer this opportunity you will have to seek experience of your own.

Get some work experience
Get some work experience

Civil engineering work experience and internships help you to stand out from the crowd. Nothing will give you a better idea of what your career could look like than meeting and working alongside people already doing it.

Study for a Masters

Gaining a postgraduate qualification is essential if you’re aiming for chartered status and the majority of civil engineers study at the masters level. It’s possible to combine undergraduate and postgraduate study by undertaking a specific program, which typically lasts four years.