A civil engineer is different from a construction manager. A civil engineer is more focused on the design aspect of the work, so that the highways, buildings, bridges, dams, and other infrastructures work effectively and safely. On the other hand, a construction manager focuses on methods, procedures, and personnel management so that the construction project is completed within the budget and on schedule. But if you combine the functions of a civil engineer and a construction manager, what you have is a construction engineer.
What is Construction Engineering?
Basically, it’s a field that focuses on the design, planning, and construction of various infrastructures such as homes and buildings, airports, roads, highways, railroads, bridges, and dams. A construction engineering student learns the infrastructure design aspects just like in civil engineering, but they also take construction management courses so they know how to conform to building requirements.
In high school, prospective applicants need high marks in the sciences, especially in physics and mathematics. Having some experience in construction work won’t hurt either, especially when a university offers limited slots for its construction engineering program.
In college, a construction engineering student takes basic science and math subjects, along with other engineering and technology courses. In addition, they also get a major load of business courses to supplement the science part of their job.
While basic principles are discussed in a classroom setting, practical applications are also covered thoroughly. Students receive numerous hands-on experiences in laboratory settings, while the school usually offers several field trips to students to expose them to real world conditions.
After graduation, the construction engineer (unlike a construction manager) can apply for a Professional Engineer license. When they pass the licensure exam, they then earn the title of Engineer.
Once a graduate passes the licensure exams for engineers, the possibilities of employment are rather numerous. They can work for general contractors and subcontractors, suppliers, developers, home builders, and even government agencies.
They can work on all types of construction projects, including structures, utilities, industrial buildings, homes, commercial buildings, highway construction, and other civil projects.
New graduates can get entry-level positions that allow them to work with project managers, and they can help with conceptual designs and cost estimates of the planning and construction of various projects. They can also assist construction managers as project engineers by helping on the management side. They can prepare regular budget reports, process change orders and prepare purchase requisitions. With a professional engineering license, they can even sign off on structure designs.
Construction engineering graduates can also become projects managers, office or field engineers, estimators, or inspectors for oversight divisions or government agencies.
Top Universities for Construction Engineering
The best universities that offer an undergraduate program in this specialized form of civil engineering include Colorado State University, University of Florida, University of Nebraska Lincoln, Texas A&M University, and Oregon State University. Other schools you may want to consider are University of Akron, Kansas State University, Western Carolina University, Georgia Southern University, and Iowa State University.