Civil Engineering or Architecture: What should You Choose as Your Career?

When trying to decide on a career path, there are so many options to wade through. A person who is interested in design and has a level head for mathematics or creativity would probably seek a degree option in civil engineering or architecture. Each career offers a fulfilling and creative environment to stretch their talents and build on their passion. With two different careers looming, what should you choose as your career?

Civil Engineering As A Career

These particular engineers work on the improvement of community infrastructures. They plan, design and monitor new construction as well as renovations. Civil engineers must have a bachelor’s degree as well as state appropriate licensing. A civil engineer has to continue learning and updating their licenses. If seeking a position in management, then a master’s degree is generally required. Read our post on steps to become a civil engineer here.

Engineering is a high paying career with the median pay being $82,710 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those civil engineers who have moved into management positions can expect to earn on average $119,620. Engineering is a relatively stable field, especially civil engineering. Building and maintaining infrastructures will continue no matter the economy. The field of civil engineering did see a large boom; however, it was a career that could sustain a larger number of engineers throughout the world. Developing countries especially have benefited from a larger number on civil engineers working in the field.

Modern Building - Architecture

Crimson Clover, A project by CPDL in Bangladesh. An example of modern residential building design – photo copyright & courtesy: CPDL

Engineers are able to bring to the table their creativity as well as their full understanding of technology and standards. The challenges of creating a functional structure while making it aesthetically pleasing and uniquely interesting is what they seem to thrive on and keeps them reaching higher and higher. They will spend time in both their office and on the job site to ensure that their design is being adhered to as well as quickly formatting solutions for problems that arise. Civil engineers are constantly on the move and constantly learning new techniques and methods. They will work closely with contractors, architects and workers to see their vision come to life. In a sense, engineers are the central figures within the community development. Without them, the communities would not be able to grow and prosper. The infrastructures would crumble and fail.

Architecture – Creativity Plays A Vital Role

This is a career choice that requires at a minimum a Bachelor’s degree, but the truly successful architects continue their education throughout their careers to stay on top of ever changing standards and techniques. Architects must also maintain state appropriate licensing and must pass a rigorous certification exam before obtaining their license. This is a field of work that requires passion or else you will have a difficult time staying in the field.

modern architectural design

creativity plays an important role to become a successful architect – an example of modern architectural design

According to the median salary for an entry level architect is $42,000. An architect with 12 years experience has the potential to earn $113,000. Architects are expected to work long hours and stay on schedule to meet tight deadlines. Their reputations are built mainly on their ability to stay on schedule and produce quality work.

Since architecture is considered to be a part of the construction industry, one thing to remember is that it is extremely dependent on the economy. If the economy falls, then new construction comes to a halt. When the economy rebounds, then new construction will be at a premium. The work is not always steady for an architect; do not count on job security.

Creativity also plays a large role in architecture so does passion. Making things is the sole purpose and the more creative the design, the more renowned the architect becomes. They have control over making the design perfect and every detail of the project. They will work with civil engineers to ensure that the specifications of the design can be met and the building or structure is solid and feasible. In this field, boredom hardly ever plays a role as it is dynamic. There are constantly changing trends and new technologies to contend with and keep architects on their toes.

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michael mwangi
5 years ago

i like that and am looking forward to choose civil engineering as a career choice

Dave Anderson
5 years ago

I can easily see how civil engineering, as well as architecture, are both great career opportunities. With civil engineering, you work from the start to the end of projects problem solving throughout the process. Architecture is more putting your creative designs onto paper and having other people build them. Because of that, I think that different kinds of people gravitate more towards one or the other option based on what your interests are.

Brynne Jones
5 years ago

I’m glad that you included how creativity plays a vital role in architecture. I like how you mentioned that being an architect requires passion, as well as licensing. My cousin is has been trying to decide what he wants to choose as a career pathway. He’s very creative, so considering a job in civil structures could be a good option for him.

5 years ago

My brother told me he’s been looking for a good civil engineering firm, and I think that being able to get some info would be good for him. I’m glad you talked about how a civil engineer needs a bachelors degree. I think that this education would be helpful for my brother, and help him to be able to get his project done!

Khorae Olivier
4 years ago

I like what you said about engineering being a relatively stable field of employment, especially civil engineering. My husband works in construction and is considering going to get his degree in engineering. Thank you for the information about how developing countries benefitting especially from the larger number of civil engineers in the field.