The best civil engineering associate degrees can set you on the right path toward a civil engineering career. Civil engineering is considered one of the most difficult undergraduate programs to complete, but an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering is a shorter, less intense program that prepares students for entry-level positions in the industry.
Many aspiring civil engineers have found success with civil engineering associate degrees. In this article, we’ll cover schools that offer the best civil engineering associate degrees, how to get accepted to and complete your degree, and get civil engineering associate degree jobs after graduation.
Where Can I Get an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering?
You can get an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering at top schools like Ferris State University, Gateway Technical College, Idaho State University, Jones County Junior College, and Midlands Technical College. You can learn more about these schools and programs below.
What Schools Offer the Best Civil Engineering Associate Degrees?
- Ferris State University
- Gateway Technical College
- Idaho State University
- Jones County Junior College
- Midlands Technical College
What Are the Admission Requirements for an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering?
The admission requirements for an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering program are a high school diploma or GED with official transcripts, standardized test scores like the SAT or ACT, and, for some programs, a minimum GPA of 2.5 or higher. Some schools require you to have an in-person interview, which means you have to visit the campus.
A school’s admissions officer will guide you through the process, especially in submitting financial aid forms and required documents. You should ask them about specific GPA requirements, transcripts, and standardized test scores you need to take to qualify for admission since every school has different admission requirements.
Civil Engineering Associate Degree Admission Requirements
- High school diploma or GED
- Official high school transcript
- Standardized test scores from ACT or SAT
- Minimum GPA of 2.5
- Meeting with admissions counselor
How to Get a Civil Engineering Associate Degree
You get a civil engineering associate degree by successfully fulfilling the graduation requirements of the program, such as a passing grade in general education courses, civil engineering courses, and related electives. Graduation requirements vary at each institution, but you’ll need to take some of each type of these courses. Most programs have a minimum GPA that you have to maintain in order to graduate.
How Many Credits Do You Need for an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering?
You’ll need to complete at least 60 credits of required courses and electives for an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering. The required courses include general education courses in English, science, social studies, and especially math. You’ll also take specific civil engineering courses like surveying, computer-aided drafting (CAD), and construction management.
Civil Engineering Degree Requirements
- 60-70 total credits
- 12-20 credits in general education courses like English, science, social studies, and math
- 20-30 credits in civil engineering courses
- 8-18 credits in electives
- Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0
Best Civil Engineering Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview
|Ferris State University||Associate of Applied Science in Civil Engineering Technology—Highway Emphasis||Higher Learning Commission|
|Gateway Technical College||Associate of Applied Science in Civil Engineering Technology— Highway Technology||Higher Learning Commission|
|Idaho State University||Associate of Applied Science in Civil Engineering Technology||Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET|
|Jones County Junior College||Associate of Applied Science in Civil Engineering Technology||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges|
|Midlands Technical College||Associate of Science in Civil Engineering Technology||Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET|
|Milwaukee Area Technical College||Associate of Applied Science in Civil Engineering Technology||Higher Learning Commission|
|Northcentral Technical College||Associate of Science in Civil Engineering Technology||Higher Learning Commission|
|Pennsylvania College of Technology||Associate of Applied Science in Civil Engineering Technology||Engineering Technology Commission Accreditation of ABET|
|SUNY Broome Community College||Associate in Applied Science in Civil Engineering Technology||Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET|
|Tidewater Community College||Associate of Applied Science in Civil Engineering Technology||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges|
Best Schools for Civil Engineering: Top Civil Engineering Associate Degree Programs
We’ve curated a list of the beset schools for civil engineering and the top civil engineering associate degree programs that each offers. Civil engineering is no exception to the age-old debate about which school provides the best educational program for students. The right school for you will depend on your budget, schedule, and location. Below are the top schools offering the best civil engineering associate degree programs to help you become a civil engineer.
What Is a Civil Engineering Associate Degree?
A civil engineering associate degree is an undergraduate, two-year degree program that teaches you how to design, build, and maintain roads, bridges, airports, water supply systems, dams, tunnels, and underground utilities. This degree program prepares you for entry-level positions in civil engineering.
An Associate Degree in Civil Engineering program provides an excellent introduction to technical engineer jobs. You could be hired as a civil engineering technician upon graduation, or you could transfer to a civil engineering bachelor’s degree program.
How Important Is an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering?
An Associate Degree in Civil Engineering is very important for those who want to start a career in civil engineering without committing to a four-year program. A civil engineering associate degree can help you become a civil engineering technician, and is the first step to becoming a civil engineer.
After completing your associate degree, you can continue to a bachelor’s degree or immediately join the workforce in the private sector or public sector. You can work in construction firms to create roadways, bridges, water treatment plants, and other large building projects or you can work for a government or non-governmental organization.
What Types of Associate Degree Can You Get in Civil Engineering?
The types of associate degrees that you can get in civil engineering are an Associate of Applied Science or an Associate of Science. You can specialize or get a concentration in drafting, surveying, or highway construction.
Is It Better to Get an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science in Civil Engineering?
It is better to get an Associate of Applied Science degree because it will enable you to enter the workforce immediately after graduation. You can choose specialization tracks such as welding or highway technology.
The best type of associate degree for you ultimately depends on your career goals and the specific field in which you want to start your career. Both the Associate of Science and the Associate of Applied Science in Civil Engineering are two-year degrees, but the Associate of Science in Civil Engineering prepares you better to transfer to a bachelor’s degree. You may be required to take additional courses if you decide later to apply to schools that offer bachelor’s degrees.
What Is the Difference Between a Civil Engineering Associate Degree and a Civil Engineering Certificate?
The main difference between a civil engineering associate degree and a civil engineering certificate is the amount of class time. In general, a degree program goes into more detail, takes longer, and better prepares you for a variety of jobs.
An associate degree program is the best choice for students who plan to complete a four-year bachelor’s degree at a university or join the workforce in civil engineering. On the other hand, a civil engineering certificate states that you have completed a certain amount of training in preparation for a specific job.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Degree in Civil Engineering?
It costs an average of $11,391 per year to get an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering. However, the tuition rate of your program will vary depending on the school, your residency status, and the class format of the associate degree program you will be attending.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Civil Engineering Associate Degree?
It generally takes two years for full-time students to complete an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering. Students need to complete at least 60 credit hours, though the exact number of credits depends on what kind of program you choose and the specialization track.
A full-time student takes 12 to 18 credits per semester for four to five semesters. You can opt to take the program full-time or part-time. If you decide to enroll part-time, it will take you longer than two years to complete your associate degree.
How Hard Is It to Get an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering?
As long as you have a knack for math, it is not very hard to get an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering because it only takes two years. Before you know it, you’ll be on track to becoming a professional civil engineer who will design buildings and infrastructure such as highways, bridges, and dams.
Why Should You Get a Civil Engineering Associate Degree?
You should get a civil engineering associate degree if you are interested in civil engineering but are not ready to commit to a four-year program. An associate degree is designed to be completed in two years, which is perfect for those who want to enter the civil engineering field immediately and get started on their engineering career paths.
What Courses Do You Need to Take in an Associate Degree Program in Civil Engineering?
The courses you need to take in an associate degree program are courses such as Construction Basics, Material Testing, Land Surveying, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), and Water Management. The exact courses in civil engineering will vary by school, but these are common classes that you can expect to see in most programs. Below are five courses you will likely be required to take when you pursue an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering.
This course introduces students to the principles and techniques of construction. It is designed to give students a basic understanding of construction methods, cost estimating, blueprint reading, and job site safety. You will be trained to perform the basic duties on a construction site.
In this course, you will learn to examine and analyze structural materials used in construction, such as cement, steel, concrete, and bricks. You will be trained to check the materials’ properties and ensure that they meet safety requirements. This course involves hands-on laboratory work and measurement.
A land surveying course deals with the basic principles of geometry and mathematical calculations as well as the use of lidar and drones. Some programs also cover the legal principles of surveying related to property boundaries.
Computer-Aided Design (CAD)
This course focuses on the use of computer-aided design software such as AutoCAD, Civil 3D, and other design tools. You will learn how to apply technical concepts of design and construction to real-world projects.
This course will help students explore the basic applications and principles of hydrology and hydraulics to design roadway drainage, water and sewer lines, and basins used in modern civil engineering.
Continuing Education Paths for Civil Engineering Associate Degree Graduates
There are quite a few continuing education paths for civil engineering associate degree graduates, including pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree. A civil engineering associate degree can help you land entry-level positions in the field of civil engineering right after graduation. If you want to expand your career options, you can pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering in order to become a licensed civil engineer.
Related Civil Engineering Degrees
What to Look For in the Best Civil Engineering Associate Degree Programs
The things you should look for in the best civil engineering associate degree programs are accreditation, class format, school reputation, curriculum, and career services. Below are the five key factors that make the best civil engineering associate degree programs, and you should consider these factors during your school search.
One of the most important things that you should take into consideration in a school and a civil engineering associate degree program is accreditation. The program must be offered through an accredited institution or potential employers or academic programs might not accept your degree. One of the best accreditations that an engineering program can have is an ABET accreditation.
Another thing to consider is how the classes will be delivered. Most degrees are offered in-person or hybrid, but there are online civil engineering degrees that are perfect for students who want to pursue a degree at their own pace. If you have a full schedule outside of school, check to see if classes are offered on evenings or weekends to avoid schedule conflicts.
You should make sure that the school offering the Associate Degree in Civil Engineering has a good reputation. One way to do this is by reading online reviews and researching more about the school’s history. There are forums and industry-specific sites you can check to see whether a school’s core values and policies are aligned with your educational and career goals.
Look at the program curriculum to see if each civil engineering associate degree program is aligned with your career objectives. Schools post program curricula on their websites that you will have to take. Read up on the course descriptions and see if they suit your interests and goals.
Schools offering Associate Degrees in Civil Engineering should offer career services and job placement assistance. These will help you market yourself and land a job in the field after graduation. The career services department should help you write an effective resume, have mock interviews, and connect you to employers for job openings.
What Is the Most Affordable Civil Engineering Associate Degree?
The most affordable civil engineering associate degree is the Associate Degree in Civil Engineering Technology offered at Northcentral Technical College. In-state tuition and fees cost $4,738.50 per year or $9,477 for a full two-year program. This cost does not include books, supplies, living expenses, or transportation.
Salary and Job Outlook for Civil Engineering Associate Degree Graduates
A career in civil engineering is a rewarding and lucrative option. One way to become successful in this field is to get the right training through an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering. Below, we discuss entry-level civil engineering salaries and the best civil engineering associate degree jobs.
How Hard Is It to Get a Job With a Civil Engineering Associate Degree?
It is not very hard to get a job with a civil engineering associate degree. An associate degree qualifies you for entry-level jobs, and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment for civil engineers is expected to grow by 8% from 2020 to 2030, which is about as fast as average for all occupations.
What’s the Average Civil Engineering Associate Degree Salary?
According to PayScale, the average annual salary for a civil engineering associate degree holder is $75,000. For those who want to advance to higher-level jobs, you can pursue a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering.
What Types of Jobs Can You Get With a Civil Engineering Associate Degree?
The jobs you can get with a civil engineering associate degree are positions like construction project manager, civil engineering technician, or drafter. You can work in construction firms or for the government. An associate degree teaches you the basics of construction management, drafting, and surveying, which you’ll need to succeed in one of these jobs.
Civil Engineering Degree Jobs
- Construction Manager
- Surveying and Mapping Technician
- Civil Engineering Technician
- Public Works Technician
Potential Careers With a Civil Engineering Degree
How Much Money Can You Make With an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering?
You can make between $46,910 and $98,890 per year with an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering. Civil engineers are paid well because they create and maintain infrastructures that keep people safe and comfortable.
If you are looking to start a career in this field, below are the highest-paying civil engineering associate degree jobs and their median yearly salary. We also discuss their job outlook through 2030 and the states where they get paid the most.
Highest-Paying Civil Engineering Associate Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview
|Civil Engineering Associate Degree Jobs||Average Salary|
|Construction and Building Inspector||$61,640|
|Civil Engineering Technologist||$58,320|
|Surveying and Mapping Technician||$46,910|
Best Jobs for Civil Engineering Associate Degree Grads
We’ve compiled a list of the best jobs for civil engineering associate degree grads. Civil engineering is a rewarding career field with a bright future. An Associate Degree in Civil Engineering prepares students for careers where they develop and manage construction projects such as highways, bridges, tunnels, runways, and dams. Check out these high-growth jobs for civil engineers who have earned a two-year associate degree and have some additional work experience.
Best Jobs According to Your Major
Is an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering Worth It?
Yes, an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering is worth it because a civil engineering associate degree offers a quick route to entry-level jobs, and also prepares you to move on to a bachelor’s degree program if you decide you want more education.
An associate degree will also help you move up to supervisory or management positions once you have a few years of work experience. While you might have to compete with four-year degree holders in the job market, experience and strong connections in the industry can help you in your career.
Additional Reading About Civil Engineering
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Civil Engineering Associate Degree FAQ
Yes, there are online degrees in civil engineering. Through online programs, you can save money and time compared to taking traditional in-person classes. Online programs also have more flexible schedules, and many online degrees are self-paced.
The most common interview questions for civil engineers are listed below.
- What drew you to civil engineering?
- What are some issues and problems you solved at your last job?
- What are your considerations when starting a project?
- How will you ensure job safety on the construction site?
Common types of civil engineers include structural, transportation, water resource, construction, municipal engineering, and surveying civil engineers. Environmental engineering and geotechnical engineering are closely related to civil engineering. Civil engineers work on infrastructure that people use in their everyday life.
Yes, civil engineering is a good career path because, according to US News & World Report, civil engineering is ranked 43 out of the best 100 jobs. Civil engineers have above-average opportunities for advancements and salary, an average work environment, and a below-average working schedule and work-life balance. The field of civil engineering can be highly stressful but financially rewarding, with many opportunities for growth.
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