Best Online Civil Engineering Degrees 2021

Earning a degree online can save time and money in a wide variety of majors. Check out the best civil engineering programs online here.

September 30, 2021

reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Best Online Civil Engineering Degrees 2021 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Civil engineering involves the construction and maintenance of large structures, such as roads and bridges. The field dates back to the mid-19th century, when military engineers began to use their skills for civilian purposes. Today, civil engineers work on various construction projects involving interaction between people and the environment.

Typical job duties include studying the relationships between materials, structures, and the environment. Civil engineers need honed mathematical, analytical, and scientific skills. They must also collaborate with engineers from other backgrounds, along with architects who draft initial designs.

Students earning the best civil engineering degrees online develop the academic foundation necessary to enter the field. Associate degrees in civil engineering introduce learners to field-specific topics while satisfying general education requirements. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Online Civil Engineering Frequently Asked Questions

true Q. What is civil engineering?

Civil engineers manage the construction of structures that interact with the natural environment. Job sites often include public works projects such as bridges, roadways, and dams.

true Q. How long does it take to earn a degree in civil engineering?

Associate degrees in civil engineering take approximately two years to complete, and bachelor's programs typically require about four years. Associate degree-holders can usually earn a bachelor's in two additional years of study.

true Q. Can I earn a degree in civil engineering online?

Few schools offer online associate degrees in civil engineering. However, numerous colleges and universities feature online civil engineering programs at the bachelor's and master's levels.

true Q. What is the difference between civil engineering and architecture?

Architects design buildings and structures and work primarily in office settings. Civil engineers analyze architects' blueprints, select materials, and oversee the entire construction process.

How Much Does a Degree in Civil Engineering Cost?

When searching for the most affordable civil engineering program, online learners often choose associate programs. Associate degrees typically cost less than bachelor's degrees because they require approximately half the credits. Degree-seekers often save money by earning an associate degree before transferring to a bachelor's program. Many community colleges charge more affordable per-credit tuition rates than four-year schools.

Students often receive discounted tuition rates by choosing in-state public schools. However, some public colleges and universities charge all online learners in-state tuition rates regardless of residency. Students earning the best civil engineering degrees online can also save money on housing, meal plans, and transportation. Degree-seekers can also reduce childcare costs by studying online, and many schools exempt distance learners from campus fees.

Career and Salary Outlook for Civil Engineering

Students earning the best civil engineering degrees online prepare for entry-level civil engineering positions. Civil engineers typically need at least a bachelor's degree. These professionals direct construction projects, analyze maps and reports, and select building materials. Civil engineers often work alongside government officials, engineers in other specialties, and community stakeholders.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for civil engineers to increase 2% from 2019-2029. Civil engineers earn a median salary of $87,060 per year, which is much higher than the median annual salary for all occupations.

Civil engineers can advance their career by earning a master's degree. Individuals can also become more competitive in the job market by obtaining a state-issued license or a certification from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Career Lowest 10% Median Annual Salary Highest 10%
Civil Engineers Less than $55,380 $87,060 More than $144,560

Source: BLS

Licensing in Civil Engineering

Entry-level civil engineers do not need a state-issued license. However, experienced professionals often earn a license to advance their career. Each state sets unique licensure requirements.

In California, the Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists regulates state licensing. Candidates must first earn a master's degree, obtain three years of professional experience, and gain an engineer in training (EIT) certification. The EIT credential requires a passing exam score. EIT-holders then complete one of seven pathways to become a licensed professional engineer. Engineers renew their license every two years.

Like many states, California participates in licensure reciprocity. Engineers licensed in other states can submit their license and exam results to apply for a California license. Candidates for licensure by reciprocity must also pass a take-home exam covering state laws and regulations.

Accreditation for Civil Engineering Degrees

Colleges and universities with online civil engineering programs should hold regional and national accreditation. The U.S. Department of Education charters accrediting agencies to evaluate the academic quality of postsecondary schools. Regional accreditation is the oldest and most prestigious type of institutional accreditation. National accreditation from the Distance Education Accreditation Commission signifies that a school's online learners receive the same learning outcomes as on-campus students.

The best online civil engineering programs also feature programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, which accredits undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

Courses in a Civil Engineering Program

Learners pursuing the best civil engineering degrees online complete general education requirements and major courses. General education courses impart transferable skills graduates can apply to roles across industries. Major classes cover topics such as subdivision planning, public works inspection and testing, and nontechnical skills for civil engineers. Degree-seekers prepare for entry-level positions and advanced studies.

The following sample curriculum includes a few classes common to civil engineering programs. However, available courses vary by program. Prospective students can contact an admissions counselor for detailed curriculum information.

Scholarships for Civil Engineering

Even after choosing one of the most affordable civil engineering programs online, distance learners often need assistance funding their education. Degree-seekers can explore private scholarship opportunities, which do not require repayment. Typical application materials include transcripts, an essay, and recommendation letters. Students should research each opportunity's application requirements and deadline before applying.

Scholarships for Civil Engineering
Scholarship Amount Who Can Apply

NEWWA Scholarships

Varies The New England Water Works Association awards six scholarships annually, including two awards for associate degree-seekers. Applicants submit a resume, official transcripts, FAFSA results, and a brief essay describing their interest in maintaining New England's waterworks.

Richard L. Brooks Memorial Scholarship

$2,500 Full-time and part-time students pursuing a civil engineering degree can apply for this competitive scholarship from the American Galvanizers Association. Applicants submit a 1,000- to 2,000-word essay on an assigned topic.

SAE/Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies Scholarship

$1,500 High school seniors who participate in the Ford NGL Network or Powered for By STEAM Academy can apply for this award. Candidates need a minimum 3.0 high school GPA and must submit two recommendation letters.

Best Online Civil Engineering Programs 2021

Old Dominion University View School Profile Norfolk, VA $6330

Old Dominion University prepares civil engineering students for licensure and a career immediately after graduating. Offered entirely online, the school's bachelor's degree completion program requires students to take at least 30 credits at Old Dominion. To graduate, students will need a total of at least 120 credits as well as a concentration in construction management, structural design or site development. Courses are offered in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. Tuition for out-of-state students is only slightly higher than that for in-state residents.

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