Associate’s Degree in Civil Engineering

By Brandon Mario D`Souza

Updated March 21, 2024

Brandon Mario D’Souza

Brandon is a registered social worker with Social Work England. He obtained his master’s in social work (personnel management & industrial relations) and used it in fields such as water treatment, construction, software, and education. Then he transitioned to the health and social care sector with an M.Sc. in health psychology. Brandon loves to write, cook, and play musical instruments (piano, guitar, melodica, ukulele, and kazoo) and enjoys the calmness and serenity of nature.


Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.

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Civil engineering is one of the STEM fields focused on designing environments that the general public would require, such as dams, canals, highways, and so on. The associate’s degree in civil engineering is a program that students can take up at the under-graduation level. Students will get a basic knowledge of civil engineering with an associate’s degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the job outlook (2021-31) for the civil engineering field as 7%, which is as fast as the average. The curriculum for this program would prepare the student to work professionally in areas centered around civil engineering, like urban planning, geotechnology, environment, and so on.


Best Associates Degree in Civil
Engineering Programs

Finding the best online associate degree in civil engineering could be challenging for students. When looking for top programs, prospective students should factor in the availability of technical facilities, teaching staff quality, college infrastructure, graduation rate, and accreditation. Some civil engineering programs include the development and applications of virtual reality, scanning, and so on. Students could also check the accessibility of such technological resources while choosing colleges. Based on these factors, Find Best Degrees teams have curated a list of the best associates degree in civil engineering programs in the United States:*

Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) is a public community college founded in 1966 in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The college offers associate degrees, certificates, diplomas, or transfers to a four-year institutions through more than 150 programs.
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Community College of Allegheny County 800 Allegheny Ave, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15233

Universities and programs are ranked by various factors, such as affordability, curriculum and coursework, reputation and availability, program length, statistics, the potential of employment, and return on investment for the students. For a more in-depth analysis, please read about our rankings methodology page

What to Expect from the Associate’s Degree in
Civil Engineering Program

The associate’s degree in civil engineering online is a two-year program that would help students understand the basis and practical application of engineering principles, civil engineering technology, and construction technology. However, if a student decides to earn their degree online, they can complete the program earlier than the stipulated time. The program’s time frame would also depend on the number of classes students can finish in a particular semester or quarter.

This degree is offered in both offline and online modes. The online associate degree in civil engineering is a good choice for students who want flexibility in their schedules and have other personal obligations. This program ranges from 60 to 65 credits, depending on the different curricula and institutions. The program’s curriculum allows students to develop the necessary skills to emphasize the fundamentals of civil engineering and design scientific and technical aspects of planning, surveying, environmental systems, and so on. Students would be required to conduct laboratory testing on civil engineering materials, conduct field and laboratory testing, and use computer applications to solve problems related to technical issues.

A student of this associate’s program learns how to work as an engineering technician and can help assist engineers in many ways. The potential salaries would depend on the engineering specialty chosen during the associate degree. Furthermore, students who have completed an associate in science in civil engineering can enroll for a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering technology or a bachelor of science program in construction management.

As part of the associate program, prospective students are expected to complete specific core courses and electives in civil-engineering topics. Some sample core courses that one can expect from an associates degree in civil engineering online program are:

  • Civil Engineering Construction Overview
  • Plan Reading
  • Infrastructure
  • Introduction to Construction and Civil Drafting
  • Materials Testing and Quality Control
  • Workplace Communication
  • Introduction to Surveying
  • Introduction to 3D Modeling for Civil And Construction
  • Communicating In Teams and Small Groups
  • Introduction to Intercultural Communication
  • Environmental and Sustainable Design
  • Civil Documents and Design

In addition to the courses related to engineering, students will have other educational requirements, general and electives, that will need to be completed; these requirements will vary from institution to institution. These classes may not be related to engineering but are included for a well-rounded basic understanding of real-life situations. These could consist of courses like language, fine arts, etc.

Students will also be required to choose one or more technical electives during their associate degree program, which include technician drafting and graphic communication, construction methods and materials, introduction to business, building information modeling, accounting fundamentals, and so on.

Read more about associate degrees in the guide to associate degrees online.

Degree Types for Associate’s Degree in
Civil Engineering Programs

There are three types of associate degrees in civil engineering programs across the United States. These are the Associate of Arts Civil Engineering, Associate of Science Civil Engineering, and Associate of Applied Science Civil Engineering. All these types of degrees will have certain similarities in their coursework as they focus on structural engineering. The program’s curriculum would differ depending on its focus.

Associate of Arts Civil Engineering

The Associate of Arts in Civil Engineering or AA Civil Engineering program provides students with the skills and knowledge they would need to work in the field of civil engineering in areas that involve estimating, construction, surveying, and drafting. This program emphasizes the practical application of engineering principles and construction technology and helps students develop a mindset to become integral members of the construction and engineering teams.

Associate of Science Civil Engineering

The Associate of Science in Civil Engineering or AS in Civil Engineering deals with constructing, designing, and maintaining bridges, canals, roads, buildings, drinking water, seaports, infrastructure for a cleaner environment, and other natural and physically built structures. This degree is designed for students who want to transfer to a four-year college. The curriculum would prepare students to work professionally in civil engineering areas like transportation, environment, urban planning, geo-technology, infrastructure, engineering consulting, and construction and architecture.

Associate of Applied Science Civil Engineering

The Associate of Applied Science in Civil Engineering or AAS in Civil Engineering prepares prospective students to be employed in various entry-level positions in engineering technology. This two-year degree program aims to provide technical education and skills related to the profession, which would help them gain job advancement. This degree is available in specific occupational areas like health sciences, engineering, and business. It will help students with the practical skills and expertise to conduct surveying, site evaluation, soil testing, and inspection.

Areas of Specialization for Associate’s Degree in
Civil Engineering Programs

Specializations help students in becoming an expert in their particular fields. Specializing in one area of an associate’s degree in civil engineering increases one’s pay and career prospects. Students would have limited options for specializations as this is an entry-level program. Here is a list of available specializations in the field of civil engineering, in general, to help students understand the options of expertise available in this field:

Area of Specialization Description Career Options
Engineering MechanicsEngineering mechanics specialization deals with the behavior of fluids and solids when subjected to displacements, loads, or other boundary conditions. Some of the courses taught under this program are continuum mechanism, large deformation kinematics, shells and plates, etc.Data analysts, sales engineers, and various roles in construction.
Construction Engineering and ManagementThe specialization of construction engineering and management helps students learn about construction and manage the design and operation of infrastructure systems and sustainable buildings in the rapidly developing global construction industry.Various roles in private or government agencies to work for infrastructure improvement projects.
Energy-Water-Environment SustainabilityThis concentration is focused on supporting and providing sustainable solutions for production, exploration, use of energy and delivery, and their connection with water and the natural environment.Various roles in water resource and environmental engineering.
Environmental Engineering and ScienceThis program prepares students to increase their critical role in addressing the challenges of air, water, and land pollution. Sustainable engineering practices are this program’s primary focus for developing and developed societies.Associate environmental specialists and environmental scientists.
Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure SystemsThis program addresses the emerging approaches to systems of infrastructure that focus on sustainability and resiliency of interrelated infrastructure like geotechnical, structural, and water collaborations in urban environments.Infrastructure engineers and sustainable and resilient infrastructure analysts.
Transportation EngineeringThis program offers expertise in the pavement, transportation, and railroad systems engineering. It is a comprehensive program based on dynamic research with strong ties to government agencies.Transportation design engineers and transportation engineer associates.
Water Resources Engineering and ScienceThis program prepares students for designing, planning, operating, and managing surface and groundwater systems, enhancing and preserving watershed design, environment, and construction of conservation of water resources and water control facilities.Water resources engineers and water resources modelers.

Some of the other specializations students could consider are:

  • Construction Engineering and Management
  • Computational and Data-Driven Engineering Mechanics
  • Forensic Engineering
  • Structural Engineering
  • Highway Construction and Design
  • Infrastructure Design
  • Land Surveying
  • Engineering Materials
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Hydraulics
  • Technical Mathematics
  • Auto CAD

Why should I do an Associate’s Degree in
Civil Engineering?

There are many benefits of doing an online associates degree in civil engineering. One can gather more information in the guide to associate programs. Students learn about materials, soil testing, design, highway technology, and construction techniques in the associate degree in civil engineering. This program helps students develop, design, construct and supervise construction projects, which can be very impactful on mankind. One could learn how to manage vast projects, including building flexible pavements, culverts and drains, structural designs like dams, buildings, foundations, etc.

This civil engineering associate program benefits students who want to work in various civil engineering jobs and major infrastructure projects involving the operation and maintenance of roads, construction, manufacturing, and industrial plants. Many associate degrees in civil engineering jobs are available as site engineers, cartographers, civil engineers, and CAD operators. Students can get to work in transportation departments, utilities, government agencies, and construction firms.

Many different disciplines require professionals with the knowledge of civil engineering; therefore, a civil engineering associate’s degree is a gateway to starting one’s career in this field or pursuing education further. By the time students finish their associate’s civil engineering degree online, they will be able to display the following skills:

  • Use knowledge and expertise to design civil projects, including structures like dams, homes, power plants, airports, bridges, railways, pipelines, etc.
  • Demonstrate ability to work in an accurate, precise, and transparent manner showing utmost professionalism.
  • Demonstrate a strong background in academics and show expertise in field-specific content.
  • Use effective materials and understand surveying techniques to complete the design and construction process.
  • Apply understanding of math and physics to programs related to engineering.
  • Effectively communicate the technical concepts, information, and solutions to different stakeholders.
  • Actively participate in construction companies and assist engineers in tasks like soil and material testing, project layout, supervision of projects, and construction cost estimation in their respective fields.
  • Show fundamental knowledge and expertise in civil engineering, urban development, transportation, environmental planning, and soil engineering and develop frameworks for an organization with specific needs.

Free Courses for Associate’s Degree in
Civil Engineering Students

There are many free associates in civil engineering courses available over the internet. These free courses are not accredited and seldom lead to any licensing or certification recognized by institutions or employers. Nonetheless, such courses provide additional knowledge, skills, and expertise on the subject and could be useful for assignments, examinations, or research. Here are a few courses students can explore:

Course Description Provided by
The Art of Structural Engineering: BridgesIn this course, students learn the art and science behind engineering. The course focuses on the social and economic context of bridge design and the interconnectedness between form and forces. One also learns how to analyze bridges from three different perspectives of elegance, economy, and efficiency.edX
Construction Management SpecializationThis course teaches students how to develop and understand the foundations of scheduling techniques and project planning. They learn about maintaining sustainability, key project scheduling techniques, monitoring project cash flow, and types of cost estimates. Students gain compressive knowledge of their industry and the latest industry trends.Coursera
Modern Building DesignIn this course, students learn about technology, climate change, and regulations and their impact on changing modern building design and practice in construction. The course explores emerging trends and highlights how the education and construction sectors can be impactful.FutureLearn

How to get into the Associate’s Degree in
Civil Engineering Program?

Admissions requirements could vary from college to college, but there are certain basic requirements that students must have to enter a program. Students who are in high school and want to enroll in associates in civil engineering online should have sound knowledge of English and general mathematics. They would also be required to submit their ACT or SAT scores to each college to which they consider applying. Here are some typical requirements for a civil engineering associates degree:

  • Admissions form
  • Application form with prescribed fee
  • Grade point average or GPA of 2.5 or more (students with at least a C grade in Math and English are preferred)
  • ACT or SAT scores (differs by school)
  • A Statement of Purpose or Personal Statement
  • Proof of English language proficiency (if one is not a native English speaker)

Students must note that admission requirements to college programs differ, and they should check with the admissions office about their specific requirements.

How Long does it take to complete the Associate’s Degree in
Civil Engineering Program

The associate degree in civil engineering online is 60 to 65 credits, depending on the program curriculum. It takes about two years to complete the program if the student chooses a full-time mode of study. However, if one chooses to earn their credentials online or in a hybrid mode where there are both online and off-campus classes, one might be able to complete the degree earlier. Students working part-time or full-time or having other responsibilities to attend mostly prefer online programs. The length of civil engineering associate programs would also depend on the internship or field experiences a student must complete, as practical experience is a very important factor in these programs. How many classes a student takes per semester or quarter would also affect the program’s completion speed.

Accelerated Associate’s Degree in
Civil Engineering Programs

An accelerated associate program is an associate-level college program that would meet the degree requirements in a shorter time frame. It allows students to complete the program in a fast-track format. A typical accelerated civil engineering associates degree could last between 15 to 18 months in a 10-week format. This time frame can also vary from program to program and depends on the academic requirements or learning format.

Accreditations for Associate’s Degree in
Civil Engineering Programs

Accreditation is the process that verifies the quality and legitimacy of a program. Studying from an accredited college assures students that the program’s curriculum will be of high quality and that the institution will maintain high teaching standards, which will help students achieve professional success. When selecting an associates degree in civil engineering, students need to strategically select from civil engineering programs holding national or regional accreditation; most colleges receive regional accreditation. The institution’s accreditation status can be checked on the websites of the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The six regional accredited bodies are:

Additionally, many online colleges have national accreditation from Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), signifying that the school’s online students receive learning at par with on-campus students. Most of the top civil engineering programs would also have received programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology or ABET.

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

To understand more about accreditation, students should refer to the Guide to College Accreditation.

How to Pay for an Associate’s Degree in
Civil Engineering?

An associate’s degree in civil engineering from a community college is more budget-friendly, as compared to a four-year university degree. However, some students may find the educational expenses, cost of tuition, and other miscellaneous expenses related to the program, to be exhaustive of their finances. Students often take up part-time or full-time jobs to fund their studies. Other than that, there are a variety of funding options available to students, which would include:


Scholarships are forms of monetary awards that do not need to be repaid unless the students fail to meet the award’s criteria. They are awarded by community groups, state governments, individuals, nonprofits, etc.


Grants are merit-based and need-based and can be awarded by federal and state governments, educational institutions, nonprofits, and businesses. Grants also do not require to be repaid.


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA is an application form for federal financial aid available to prospective or current college students. Students can refer to the FAFSA student aid guide to understand how and why to apply.

Federal Direct Loans

Federal direct loans are of low interest and are funded by the government. Therefore, students do not need to worry about repaying debts till the time they graduate from their programs or if they are unemployed.

Private Student Loans

Banks or other financial institutions often offer student loans to students who do not qualify for federal aid or other funds. With many students falling into accumulated debt, knowing about grants to pay off student loans and donors that pay off student loans would be prudent.

FAQs Related to the Associate’s Degree in
Civil Engineering Program

What is civil engineering?

Civil Engineering is a professional discipline in engineering that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the naturally and physically built environment. It includes the design and building of public works like bridges, roads, etc.

What jobs can you get with an associate’s degree in civil engineering?

What role does civil engineering play?

How does doing an associate’s degree in civil engineering help students?

What are the education paths for civil engineering associate degree students?

What is the job outlook for the field of civil engineering?

What curriculum does the program for an associates degree in civil engineering provide?

Career Opportunities and Salaries after an Associate’s
Degree in Civil Engineering

An associate’s degree in civil engineering will be beneficial for individuals looking for entry-level jobs or wanting to continue their academics in the field of civil engineering. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the employment outlook of civil engineers is expected to grow 7% from 2021 to 2031, which is as fast as the average for other occupations. There are continued investments in the U.S. infrastructure, and hence civil engineers will be required to manage projects that must meet society’s need for upgrading bridges, water systems, roads, buildings, or other structures. Civil engineers are also required to oversee renewable-energy works. Many public projects also come under the management of professionals from civil engineering fields. Here are some typical roles civil engineers could take up:

Occupation Job DescriptionSkills RequiredMedian Annual SalaryJob Growth (up to 2030)
Civil Engineering Technologists and TechniciansCivil engineering technologists and technicians work in different office settings and help plan and design projects. They visit job sites to test, collect materials and observe work as project inspectors.Observational skills, problem-solving skills, math skills, critical-thinking skills, decision-making skills, writing skills$58,3200% (little or no change)
DraftersDrafters use different software to convert the designs of architects and engineers into technical drawings. They spend much of their time in offices and are also required to collaborate with engineers and architects.Interpersonal skills, math skills, time-management skills, technical skills, detail-oriented, creativity$60,290-3% (decline)
Surveying and Mapping TechniciansSurveying and mapping technicians usually collect different data to make maps of the earth’s surface. Mapping technicians produce maps from geographic data.Listening skills, problem-solving skills, decision-making skills, physical stamina, detail-oriented$46,9104% (as fast as average)
Environmental Engineering Technologists and TechniciansEnvironmental engineering technologists and technicians design and implement plans that environmental engineers would develop. They collect and analyze groundwater and other elements for pollution or treatment monitoring.Communication skills, reading skills, critical-thinking skills, problem-solving skills, observational skills$48,3904% (as fast as average)
Geological and Hydrologic TechniciansGeological and hydrologic technicians support engineers and scientists in exploring, monitoring, and extracting natural resources. They also perform scientific testing on samples to assess their composition and properties.Communication skills, analytical skills, interpersonal skills, critical-thinking skills, physical stamina$50,0804% (as fast as average)

Certifications and Licensing for Associate’s Degree
in Civil Engineering Students

Professional certifications in the field of civil engineering will provide the right credentials for students to expand their careers. Advanced credentials would reflect the technical and academic competence of students who have completed an associate degree in civil engineering online or offline. Most of the certifications in this field would be accessible to students with a higher degree, like a bachelor’s or master. However, here are some certifications which an individual in the civil engineering field could choose to complete:

Safety & Health Fundamentals Certificate Program

This certification is provided to support Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) mission to train private and public sector employees in occupational health and safety to decrease incident rates for employees. The certification will add to the knowledge that participants have about incident investigation, fall hazard awareness, safety and health management, etc.

Project Management Professional

This certification recognizes project managers with the skills to manage projects and provide project leadership experience and expertise. The certification validates that the individual is highly skilled in motivational processes, project expertise, and developing an efficient business environment.

Certified Construction Manager

This certification recognizes that professionals have an aptitude for construction management and can voluntarily meet the criteria prescribed by the construction management certification program. Individuals with this certification would be understood to meet high levels of field expertise, demonstrate the capability of developing construction projects, and display other necessary skills in this area.

Students can also refer to professional certifications from the American Society of Civil Engineers. These certifications recognize that civil engineers can demonstrate advanced skills and knowledge in their respective areas.

Additional Resources for Associate’s Degree in
Civil Engineering Students

Joining a professional organization or association benefits students who want to attend conferences, get trained, seek networking opportunities, do research, and access other resources. Such organizations also help students to understand their field apart from academic and college training and get a practical overview of the field. Students pursuing an associates degree in civil engineering should check for valid organizations that could boost their professional growth. Some such organizations that could be useful to aspiring civil engineers include:

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is one of the older national engineering societies in America. It represents many civil engineers worldwide, and being a member of this organization can help students access world-class seminars, courses, magazines, certificate programs, and many other services.
Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW)Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) is an international and non-profit network of professionals integrated by their passion for technical sustainability. They foster cultural, technical, and educational exchanges. They do many internships and summer work with international NGOs, which could benefit students extensively.
Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA)Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) focuses on utilizing design-build projects to deliver methods that would shape the built environments. They foster interdisciplinary communication and education in multidisciplinary facilities by delivering sponsored events and lectures.
Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI)The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) is a non-profit, national, and technical society for engineers, architects, etc. The purpose of this organization is to provide advanced earthquake engineering research and promote measures to mitigate the effects of earthquakes.
American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) is a non-profit organization that fosters education in engineering and engineering technology. It promotes excellence in the field of research, public service, and practice. It also provides quality services and products to its members.

Author Bio:

Brandon Mario D’Souza

Brandon is a registered social worker with Social Work England. He obtained his master’s in social work (personnel management & industrial relations) and used it in fields such as water treatment, construction, software, and education. Then he transitioned to the health and social care sector with an M.Sc. in health psychology. Brandon loves to write, cook, and play musical instruments (piano, guitar, melodica, ukulele, and kazoo) and enjoys the calmness and serenity of nature.


Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.


The average tuition (based on degree type for in-state students), average graduation rates, and rankings are based on data from various sources, including the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and are variable over time. All rankings and statistics are subject to change. The rankings are solely the opinion of Find Best Degrees (FBD) and are based on our proprietary methodology. They do not represent the views of the institutions or organizations mentioned, nor do they represent any official government census or survey. Furthermore, any views or opinions expressed on this page are of FBD’s researchers and teams. Unless otherwise specified, they do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the individuals, institutions, or organizations mentioned. This page’s content is provided solely for informational purposes, with data drawn from various sources, including IPEDS. FBD and its employees make no guarantees regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information found on this page or by following any link. FBD will not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this material nor any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the exposure or use of this information. Although the information on this page is/was correct at the time of publication, readers should exercise caution because some or all of the provided information may have changed over time, potentially resulting in inaccuracies. For more information, please read our Terms of Service. Trademarks and logos are the property of their registered owners.