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Persons employed in this occupation in the United States:
2004: 237,300
Projected 2014: 276,500

Persons employed in this occupation in Iowa:
2002: 1,380
Projected 2012: 1,460

2004 Median National
Annual Wages: $65,300
2004 Median Iowa
Annual Wages: $61,000

***Source: America's Career InfoNet

I am attracted to a career as a civil engineer because
 the salary is great. 68
 I like math and science classes. 55
 it provides the opportunity to work 14
 both inside and outside. 40
 I like to meet deadlines. 6
Thank You


The road to a career as a civil engineer had a few detours for this determined individual. Barb began her journey immediately after high school when she started college. But marriage and children interrupted her college plans, and 30 years after graduating from high school Barb started college a second time. She started by taking basic math and science classes at a community college at night. Then she entered a state university and earned an engineering degree in four and a half years.

Work Experiences and Internships:

While in high school Barb worked in a dress shop selling clothes. She also worked in the concession stand of a movie theater, where she sold candy and ordered supplies. Later Barb worked in a county sheriff's office before she chose her civil engineering profession. In that job she acquired skills -- operating office equipment, writing reports and getting along with co-workers -- that carried over to her new career. While in college she worked part time for the college of engineering and for the Department of Transportation.

Activities and Organizations:

In high school Barb was involved in music activities. While attending college Barb joined the student chapters of the Society of Women Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers. She has continued to be an active member of both organizations now that she is in the workforce.

Setbacks and Obstacles:

According to Barb, her biggest obstacle in earning a degree in civil engineering was herself! She wasn't sure she could do it. She enrolled in community college math and science courses just to improve her skills. Barb also felt uneasy using computers, but as she advanced through her college classes she began to gain self-confidence.


Early in her education Barb's teachers and parents motivated her to pursue her education. Later Barb was motivated by her eagerness "to learn new things." She wanted to prove to herself that she could accomplish her goals.


Barb's early dreams revolved around careers that developed her interests in music and English. When she was in high school she felt her only choices were teaching or nursing. After she began to meet women who were involved in other careers, she became aware that she had additional choices.

Next: A day in the life of an Civil Engineer.



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