What Are the Pros & Cons of a Construction Engineering Technology Degree?

Civil engineers work on projects such bridge building.

Construction engineering technology degrees help students pursue careers in civil engineering. Civil engineering students learn how to plan and oversee construction projects that are focused on infrastructure. These may include roads, waste systems and energy grids for municipalities and regions. Like any field, there are upsides and downsides to embarking on a construction engineering technology degree.

1 Career Potential

A construction engineering technology degree can help a student join an elite force of workers. According to 2008 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), civil, mechanical, electrical and industrial engineers make up the majority of the engineering workforce. The BLS predicts the field of construction engineering will experience an 11 percent growth rate between 2008 and 2018. However, competition for jobs is expected to be high. In addition, employment may be less than expected if there is a slowdown in civil projects experience due to a lack of infrastructural investments.

2 Consistent Educational Growth

The BLS report on general engineers in the American workforce stresses that consistent education is important for all workers. This means that engineers have to adapt to new technologies as technology and needs change. For example, the growing demand for solar energy requires new engineers who are trained to focus on solar energy. Construction engineers who do not know how a solar energy grid is designed may require additional education and licensing to stay competitive in their field.

3 Regional Differences

Because civil engineering focuses on specific infrastructural issues, some states in the US have higher concentrations of construction engineers than others. For example, civil engineers total 12,590 (or 4.5 percent of the total workforce) in the state of Washington, as of 2010. There are 38,430 civil engineers in the state of California, but they make up only 2.6 percent of their state’s total workforce. There are also variations in pay. A civil engineer in Washington makes an average of $80,690 a year, but a civil engineer in California averages $91,910 per year. Graduates with these degrees need to consider which region of the U.S. has the most jobs and how much the average pay is in that region.

4 Overall

There is potential in the American economy for any student who successfully gains a construction engineering technology degree. Obviously, the student can work within the field of civil engineering. However, the competition, need for training in new technologies, and regional stratification in the occupation may make it hard for some students to find work. Overall, though, there will continue to be demand for individuals with these degrees because infrastructural demand for civil engineers will most likely increase over the next decade.

Mark Fitzpatrick began writing professionally in 2006. He has written in literary journals such as Read Herrings and provides written online guides for towns ranging from Seymour, Connecticut to Haines, Alaska. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Massachusetts.