Civil engineering technology programs train students to be "doers" rather
than designers. Students learn how to help take the designs for roads, bridges
and schools and bring them to life.
Technicians and technologists tend to be more hands-on than engineers.
They may take part in estimating costs, specifying materials, preparing drawings
or surveying land.
Civil engineering technology programs are offered at technical institutes,
junior, community or career colleges and some colleges and universities. Programs
are accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation
Board for Engineering and Technology (TAC-ABET).
Two-year programs mostly offer graduates an associate's degree of applied
science (AAS). Students are considered civil engineering technicians upon
Some colleges and universities also offer four-year programs in civil
engineering technology (CET). These programs usually include opportunities
for specialization, co-op programs and a greater concentration on liberal
arts classes. Graduates of these programs are technologists. They usually
rate a slightly higher salary than technicians.
Tim Collins is the dean of the school of technology at Michigan Technological
University. He says a CET program will include a good mix of math, English
and science classes. Classes might cover topics like soils and strengths,
concrete and asphalt studies, construction planning and estimating, and hydraulics.
Be prepared for a heavy workload. "There are 30 hours a week of
class and that includes a lot of labs," says Jacqueline Gaudet. She is an
instructor in the civil and structural engineering technology department at
a technical college.
Homework can also take two or three hours per night. "There are also frequent
group projects or group assignments which involve meeting with other students,"
says Maureen Valentine, a professor of civil engineering technology at Rochester
Institute of Technology.
Gaudet suggests high school students study math (particularly geometry,
calculus and algebra), physics, communications and English. She adds that
science fairs and having some idea of how to use a computer would also be
Besides tuition, you can expect to pay for textbooks. You may also need
a computer and a good calculator.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Engineering
Engineering -- Your Future
From the American Society for Engineering Education
Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
Get a list of accredited engineering technology programs in the