Employment of civil engineers is projected to grow 20 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. As infrastructure continues to age, civil engineers will be needed to manage projects to rebuild bridges, repair roads, and upgrade levees and dams.
Moreover, a growing population means that new water systems will be required while the aging, existing water systems must be maintained to reduce or eliminate leaks of drinkable water. In addition, more waste treatment plants will be needed to help clean the nation's waterways. Civil engineers play a key part in all of this work.
The work of civil engineers will be needed for renewable energy projects. Civil engineers prepare the permit documents for these types of projects, verifying that the project will comply with federal, state, and local requirements. With regard to solar energy, these engineers conduct structural analyses for large-scale photovoltaic projects. They also evaluate the ability of solar array support structures and buildings to tolerate stresses from wind, seismic activity, and other sources. For large-scale wind projects, civil engineers often prepare road beds to handle large trucks that haul in the turbines. In addition, they prepare the sites on shore or offshore to make sure that the foundations for the turbines will safely keep the turbines upright in expected environmental conditions.
Although states continue to face financial challenges and may have difficulty funding all the projects that need attention, some of the projects that have been delayed will ultimately have to be completed in order to build and maintain critical infrastructure.