Too late to be a civil engineer

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craig_tus in Tucson, Arizona

95 months ago

I started out in school in 1995 to become an aeronautical engineer. I got distracted and ended up working in the aviation business as a mechanic for about 10-years. 9/11 pretty much has slowly brought this career to it's knees. After talking to the three civil engineer's in my family, I decided to start working towards becoming a CE. I am now 32 years old and have been working as a construction inspector for a municipally owned underground utility. My job includes inspecting new construction of wastewater and water lines and facilities. I have been doing that for the last 2 years.

I am tentavely expecting to have graduated with my BSCE in spring of 2014, at 37 years of age.

Will my age have an impact on the opportunites to get a job as a EIT or eventually a CE? I just finished my math (thru calc 2 and dif equations) as well as physics and chem. I am just about to start the lower-level engineering classes and then the CE specific courses.

I don't want to devote a significant amount of time and engergy into something that I really want if only to have my age keep me from job opportunities.

Anyone have any input or personal experience?


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CE@34yrs in Woodbridge, Virginia

94 months ago

I finished my degree at age 34 and got my EIT about a year before graduating, so your age has no impact. Civil engineering is very much an experience driven endeavor, so as long as you stay in the field you will be fine. The knowledge you gain of how things are constructed as an inspector is valuable in design and construction as you may start your career as a field engineer. At your current job it will be important for you to pay attention to the construction methods and processes used to construct whatever facilities associated with those water and sewer lines. Use your jobsite as a learning experience. Also learn CAD. Don't give up and best of luck. You will still have a good 25yrs to 30yrs after graduation to practice engineering.

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Almighty_Tim in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania

93 months ago

I am a 30 year old licensed Civil Engineer practicing in Pennsylvania. As far as I have seen, there is absolutely no disadvantage of entering this field at a later age. The only issue would be if you are not comfortable around computers. I use autocad, excel spreadsheets, and specialty programs on a daily basis. All of these programs could be learned on the job but it is essential that a new engineer learns them well.

Ironically, I feel that I have the opposite problem. I look much younger then 30 years old. Since Civil Engineer’s are often put in positions of authority, people don’t want to listen to someone who look like they are still in high school.

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Ex_Nuke in Bremerton, Washington

92 months ago

After 20yrs in the Navy I went to college and got my BSCE. I believe that my employers appreciated the experience I brought to the job. Although the grey in my hair did cause a doubletake or two when I was interviewing as a recent college grad.

I am now licensed and enjoy the field very much. I concur with the above advice. Learn AutoCAD and any specialty analysis software that the specialty you choose uses (FEM for structures or continuous hydraulic simulation programs for stormwater).

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