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Career and Education Opportunities for Civil Engineers in Columbia, Maryland

Civil engineers can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Columbia, Maryland area. About 6,090 people are currently employed as civil engineers in Maryland. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 23% to 7,460 people employed. This is not quite as good as the national trend for civil engineers, which sees this job pool growing by about 24.3% over the next eight years. Civil engineers generally perform engineering duties in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of building structures, and facilities, such as roads, railroads, airports, bridges, harbors, channels, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, power plants, water and sewage systems, and waste disposal units.

A person working as a civil engineer can expect to earn about $35 hourly or $73,960 per year on average in Maryland and about $35 hourly or $74,600 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for civil engineers are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Engineering in Maryland and not quite as good as general Engineering category earnings nationally. Civil engineers work in a variety of jobs, including: structural steel engineer, irrigation engineer, and maintenance engineer.

There are 109 schools of higher education in the Columbia area, including nine within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree to start your career as a civil engineer. The most common level of education for civil engineers is a Bachelor's degree. It will take about four years to learn to be a civil engineer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Civil Engineer

Civil Engineer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, civil engineers perform engineering duties in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of building structures, and facilities, such as roads, railroads, airports, bridges, harbors, channels, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, power plants, water and sewage systems, and waste disposal units. They also includes architectural, structural, and geo-technical engineers.

Civil engineers oversee and direct staff members and the construction, operations, or maintenance efforts at project site. They also furnish technical advice regarding layout or program modifications and structural repairs to industrial and managerial personnel. Equally important, civil engineers have to estimate quantities and cost of materials or labor to establish project feasibility. They are often called upon to analyze survey reports and other topographical or geologic data to develop projects. They are expected to inspect project sites to track progress and insure conformance to layout specifications and safety or sanitation standards. Finally, civil engineers conduct studies of traffic patterns or environmental conditions to pinpoint engineering problems and assess the potential impact of projects.

Every day, civil engineers are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they think through problems and come up with general rules.

It is important for civil engineers to formulate and layout transportation or hydraulic systems and structures, following construction and government standards, using layout software and drawing tools. They are often called upon to direct or participate in surveying to lay out installations and establish reference points and elevations to guide construction. They also test soils and materials to establish the adequacy and strength of foundations or steel. Somewhat less frequently, civil engineers are also expected to ready or present public reports on topics such as bid proposals, deeds, environmental impact statements, or property and right-of-way descriptions.

They also have to be able to compute load and grade requirements, water flow rates, and material stress factors to establish layout specifications and conduct studies of traffic patterns or environmental conditions to pinpoint engineering problems and assess the potential impact of projects. And finally, they sometimes have to test soils and materials to establish the adequacy and strength of foundations or steel.

Like many other jobs, civil engineers must be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:

  • Aerodynamics Engineer. Perform a variety of engineering work in designing, constructing, and testing aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft. May conduct basic and applied research to evaluate adaptability of materials and equipment to aircraft design and manufacture. May recommend improvements in testing equipment and techniques.
  • Agricultural Engineer. Apply knowledge of engineering technology and biological science to agricultural problems concerned with power and machinery, electrification, structures, soil and water conservation, and processing of agricultural products.
  • Architect. Plan and design structures, such as private residences, office buildings, and other structural property.
  • Biomedical Engineer. Apply knowledge of engineering, biology, and biomechanical principles to the design, development, and evaluation of biological and health systems and products, such as artificial organs, prostheses, instrumentation, medical information systems, and health management and care delivery systems.
  • Chemical Engineer. Design chemical plant equipment and devise processes for manufacturing chemicals and products, such as gasoline, synthetic rubber, and pulp, by applying principles and technology of chemistry, physics, and engineering.
  • Civil Engineering Technician. Apply theory and principles of civil engineering in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of structures and facilities under the direction of engineering staff or physical scientists.
  • Computer Engineer. Research, design, and test computer or computer-related equipment for commercial, industrial, or scientific use. May supervise the manufacturing and installation of computer or computer-related equipment and components.
  • Electrical Engineer. Design, develop, or supervise the manufacturing and installation of electrical equipment, components, or systems for commercial, industrial, or scientific use.
  • Electronics Engineer. Research, design, and test electronic components and systems for commercial, industrial, or scientific use utilizing knowledge of electronic theory and materials properties. Design electronic circuits and components for use in fields such as telecommunications, aerospace guidance and propulsion control, acoustics, or instruments and controls.
  • Fire Prevention Research Engineer. Research causes of fires, determine fire protection methods, and design or recommend materials or equipment such as structural components or fire-detection equipment to assist organizations in safeguarding life and property against fire, explosion, and related hazards.
  • Health, Safety, and Environment Manager. Plan, implement, and coordinate safety programs, requiring application of engineering principles and technology, to prevent or correct unsafe environmental working conditions.
  • Industrial Engineer. Design, develop, and evaluate integrated systems for managing industrial production processes including human work factors, quality control, inventory control, logistics and material flow, cost analysis, and production coordination.
  • Landscape Architect. Plan and design land areas for such projects as parks and other recreational facilities, airports, and commercial, industrial, and residential sites.
  • Manufacturing Engineer. Apply knowledge of materials and engineering theory and methods to design, integrate, and improve manufacturing systems or related processes. May work with commercial or industrial designers to refine product designs to increase producibility and decrease costs.
  • Materials Engineer. Evaluate materials and develop machinery and processes to manufacture materials for use in products that must meet specialized design and performance specifications. Develop new uses for known materials. Includes those working with composite materials or specializing in one type of material, such as graphite, metal and metal alloys, ceramics and glass, plastics and polymers, and naturally occurring materials.
  • Mechanical Engineer. Perform engineering duties in planning and designing tools, engines, and other mechanically functioning equipment. Oversee installation, operation, and repair of such equipment as centralized heat, gas, and steam systems.
  • Product Safety Engineer. Develop and conduct tests to evaluate product safety levels and recommend measures to reduce or eliminate hazards.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Civil Engineer Training

Howard University - Washington, DC

Howard University, 2400 Sixth St NW, Washington, DC 20059-0001. Howard University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 10,696 students and an admission rate of 49%. Howard University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Civil Engineering which graduated eleven and one students respectively in 2008.

University of Maryland-Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD

University of Maryland-Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250. University of Maryland-Baltimore County is a large university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 12,268 students and an admission rate of 72%. University of Maryland-Baltimore County has a master's degree and a doctor's degree program in Civil Engineering which graduated one and one students respectively in 2008.

University of the District of Columbia - Washington, DC

University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008. University of the District of Columbia is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,339 students. University of the District of Columbia has a bachelor's degree program in Civil Engineering which graduated nine students in 2008.

George Washington University - Washington, DC

George Washington University, 2121 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052. George Washington University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,027 students and an admission rate of 37%. George Washington University has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Civil Engineering which graduated eleven, ten, and five students respectively in 2008.

Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N Charles St, Mason Hall, Baltimore, MD 21218-2688. Johns Hopkins University is a large university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,049 students and an admission rate of 26%. Johns Hopkins University has bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Civil Engineering which graduated fifteen, zero, eight, and two students respectively in 2008.

Catholic University of America - Washington, DC

Catholic University of America, 620 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20064. Catholic University of America is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,705 students and an admission rate of 81%. Catholic University of America has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Civil Engineering which graduated seventeen, six, and one students respectively in 2008.

University of Maryland-College Park - College Park, MD

University of Maryland-College Park, , College Park, MD 20742. University of Maryland-College Park is a large university located in College Park, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 37,000 students and an admission rate of 39%. University of Maryland-College Park has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Civil Engineering which graduated sixty-five, twenty-nine, and twenty-one students respectively in 2008.

George Mason University - Fairfax, VA

George Mason University, 4400 University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444. George Mason University is a large university located in Fairfax, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,800 students and an admission rate of 63%. George Mason University has bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, and master's degree programs in Civil Engineering, Other Specialties which graduated thirty-five, one, and eleven students respectively in 2008.

Morgan State University - Baltimore, MD

Morgan State University, 1700 East Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore, MD 21251-0001. Morgan State University is a medium sized university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,554 students and an admission rate of 34%. Morgan State University has a bachelor's degree program in Civil Engineering which graduated twenty students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Planning and Scheduling Professional: The PSP certification is to recognize specialists who meet a demanding set of planning and scheduling criteria by a rigorous examination, experience, education and ethical qualificaion.

For more information, see the AACE International (Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering through total cost management) website.

Certified Forensic Claims Consultant : AACE International's Certified Forensic Claims Consultant (CFCC) certification program is designed to establish credentials to recognize your professional expertise.

For more information, see the AACE International (Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering through total cost management) website.

Certified Construction Manager: The Certified Construction Manager (CCM) is someone who has voluntarily met the prescribed criteria of the CCM program with regard to formal education, field experience and demonstrated capability and understanding of the CM body of knowledge.

For more information, see the Construction Management Association of America website.

Electrical & Instrumentation Pipeline Technician: Topics covered on exam include: Pipeline E & I Safety, Electrical Theory & General Knowledge, Inspect Test and Calibrate Pressure Switches and Transmitters, Test Overfill Protective Devices, Inspect and Calibrate Overfill Protective Devices, Verify or Set Protection Parameters for Programmable Controllers and/or other Instrumentation Control Loops, Actuator/Operator Adjustment, CPM Leak Detection, Maintain Fixed Gas Detection Equipment.

For more information, see the National Center for Construction Education and Research website.

Certified Ground Water Professional: The Ground Water Professional certification program began for AGWSE members in 1986.

For more information, see the National Ground Water Association website.

Highway Surveys: This certification program is for engineering technicians involved in field and/or office aspects of highway surveying.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Highway Traffic Operations: This certification program was designed for engineering technicians involved in traffic studies and traffic control.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Highway System Maintenance and Preservation: This certification is designed for engineering technicians who perform and inspect highway system maintenance and preservation work; the program is applicable to both private and public sector technicians.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Certified Transfer Station Technical Associate: This certification was developed to address the increased interest in transfer stations and provide transfer station managers and others the opportunity to learn more about transfer station design and operation.

For more information, see the Solid Waste Association of North America website.

Traffic Signal Operations Specialist: The Traffic Signal Operations Specialist (TSOS) certification program is designed for candidates who have a wide range of education and experience with traffic signals, including engineers and technicians/technologists.

For more information, see the Transportation Professional Certification Board, Inc. website.

LICENSES

CIVIL ENGINEERS

Licensing agency: Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
Address: Board for Professional Engineer, 500 North Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

Phone: (410) 230-6260
Website: Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Board for Professional Engineer

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.