Civil Engineering Education and License

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Civil Engineering Education and License


Civil engineers typically possess an academic degree in civil engineering. The length of study is three to five years, and the completed degree is designated as a bachelor of engineering, or a bachelor of science. The curriculum generally includes classes in physics, mathematics, project management, design and specific topics in civil engineering. After taking basic courses in most sub-disciplines of civil engineering, they move onto specialize in one or more sub-disciplines at advanced levels. While an undergraduate degree (BEng/BSc) normally provides successful students with industry-accredited qualification, some academic institutions offer post-graduate degrees (MEng/MSc), which allow students to further specialize in their particular area of interest.

In most countries, a bachelor’s degree in engineering represents the first step towards professional certification, and a professional body certifies the degree program. After completing a certified degree program, the engineer must satisfy a range of requirements (including work experience and exam requirements) before being certified. Once certified, the engineer is designated as a professional engineer (in the United States, Canada and South Africa), a chartered engineer (in most Commonwealth countries), a chartered professional engineer (in Australia and New Zealand), or a European engineer (in most countries of the European Union). There are international agreements between relevant professional bodies to allow engineers to practice across national borders.

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The benefits of certification vary depending upon location. For example, in the United States and Canada, “only a licensed professional engineer may prepare, sign and seal, and submit engineering plans and drawings to a public authority for approval, or seal engineering work for public and private clients.” This requirement is enforced under provincial law such as the Engineers Act in Quebec.

No such legislation has been enacted in other countries including the United Kingdom. In Australia, state licensing of engineers is limited to the state of Queensland. Almost all certifying bodies maintain a code of ethics which all members must abide by.

Engineers must obey contract law in their contractual relationships with other parties. In cases where an engineer’s work fails, he may be subject to the law of tort of negligence, and in extreme cases, criminal charges. An engineer’s work must also comply with numerous other rules and regulations such as building codes and environmental law.

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“Cite Postgrad”.
“Why Should You Get Licensed?”. National Society of Professional Engineers. Retrieved 11 August 2007.
“Engineers Act”. Quebec Statutes and Regulations (CanLII). Retrieved 11 August 2007.
“Ethics Codes and Guidelines”. Online Ethics Center. Retrieved 11 August 2007.
“Singapore’s Circle Line criminal trial started”. New Civil Engineer. Retrieved 16 November 2013.

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