Exploring 3 Career Options For Civil Engineering Graduates

Civil engineering deals with the lifecycle of the built environment, from design to construction to maintenance. It is one of the oldest engineering disciplines and includes many areas of specialization, including structural, transportation and traffic, geotechnical, hydraulics and hydrology, and construction, to name a few. If you’re considering a career in civil engineering, there is a wide range of possible paths to take. Here are three to consider.

Public Sector

Infrastructure systems such as roads, highways, bridges, railways, and water conveyance systems are usually owned and operated by government agencies such as state departments of transportation, cities, and other municipalities. Many civil engineering graduates go on to work for these agencies.

They’re usually responsible for the administration of public infrastructure facilities and overseeing the design, construction, and maintenance. Engineers who work in these roles are expected to manage budgets, interpret specifications, and choose consultants and contractors to design and build projects.

Private Sector

Many civil engineering students join the workforce on the private side. They may go on to work for private firms that specialize in infrastructure design and construction management that are hired by public agencies and other private companies to design facilities and oversee their construction.

Picture yourself working for a firm of civil consulting engineers Northern Virginia and designing major projects. Often civil engineers work in the energy sector for oil and gas companies as well.


Civil engineering is a field that provides many opportunities for research and educating future generations of engineering students. A career in education or academia is a great opportunity for graduates who want to teach and lead research on engineering approaches and building materials, especially as they relate to sustainability. This particular path usually requires completion of a master’s degree or Ph.D.

Although these are some of the most common paths for civil engineering students, there are other options besides these. Your undergraduate program helps you develop skills that can be used in a variety of fields. It is up to you to decide what your career trajectory will be.

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