Civil Engineering is among the oldest areas in the field of engineering. It involves the actual construction of homes, commercial buildings and infrastructure systems needed to support human civilization. Civil engineers work on water systems, roads, airports and transportation systems to ensure that they operate safely and efficiently. They also ensure that products are manufactured properly so that they can do the job for which they are made. Civil engineers are critical to making society function. In remote, growing states like Alaska, the need for well-trained civil engineers is expected to expand as the population grows and new construction increases.
Civil engineers are formally trained, generally acquiring a bachelor’s or master’s degree, though associate degrees are also available. Coursework for civil engineering requires an emphasis on math and sciences including:
- applied engineering
- computer technology
Specialized courses in reinforced concrete, steel, masonry, timber and other materials are also included. Students are given opportunities to focus on specific areas of the civil engineering field. Continuing education is also an important aspect of civil engineering with live webinars and face-to-face seminars being conducted by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
In the state of Alaska, civil engineers must submit an application and take an examination to qualify for licensing. A fee is required to take the examination. The board of licensing meets four times each year to determine qualifications for candidates. Alaska does not have automatic comity to accept registrants from other states.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the need for qualified civil engineers will increase 19 percent from 2010 to 2020 throughout the United States. The continuing need for infrastructure repairs across the United States will help to keep demand high for this specialty.
In 2010, the median annual salary for civil engineers was $77,000. This figure can be considerable higher for civil engineers with advanced degrees who have acquired management positions. In Alaska, the average salary for civil engineers is between $55,000 to $66,000 though some variation exists for those with years of experience.