Careers In Civil Engineering
Q: I'd like to tap the experience of the civil engineers and others who work in road/bridge planning/construction/maintenance who use this forum. I'm in my mid thirties, working full time, just started going to the local community college part time at night to earn my AS in Engineering for transfer to the University toward a BS in Engineering. I was a nuclear-power trained electrician in the Navy for nine years before now and I also have eight years of experience as a technical writer. I'm also a big time road/bridge enthusiast. I'm undecided as to my major. From a standpoint of interest, I could easily be happy in Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical, Computer, Civil, or Materials Engineer. However, Civil Engineering would allow me to combine a favorite hobby along with my profession, a situation I'm sure many of you can appreciate. I've done a few searches on Monster.com for CEs and always had a lot of hits come back. So there definitely seems to be work out there. However, many of the positions required some degree of experience in addition to the degree. I suppose I'm really asking how hard it would be for someone in his early 40s with a brand new BS in Civil Engineering with lots of real world experience in electrical power generation/distribution, personnel management/supervision, and technical communication, but zero real experience in road/bridge planning/construction/maintenance, to break into the field?
A: -Try this newsgroup --- sci.engr.civil -The reason for the experience part is that one generally cannot start out as a practicing engineer straight out of college. You have to follow a progression in which you start as an Engineer in Training (EIT). One becomes an EIT after taking the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam as a senior in an accredited civil engineering program, and then graduates. Some agencies and engineering firms call their new hires (ones just starting out) Engineering Interns and require them to be classified as such for one or two years at which point they become EIT's. After 4 years (I think) as an EIT, one is elligable to take the Professional Engineering exam. If you pass this test, you become licensed as a Professional Engineer (PE) in the state in which you took the exam. Professional registration enables you to approve plans and drawings and is usually necessary for employment as a civil engineer. Good luck with your plans. I'm going to take the FE next fall and hopefully get a job in transportation engineering in summer 2003 after five years. It is possible to graduate in four years, but that requires taking 17 or 18 credits a semester, or taking summer classes, neither of which I wanted to do.
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