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Civil Engineer

Odds of Getting In

Let's spit out the good news first. Civil engineers' employment is expected to increase almost 20 percent through 2020, about as fast as all occupations averaged together. Sounds great, right? Well, now we find out why. Our roads, bridges, dams, and levees are falling apart from age. That's right—on their way to toastville. Somebody's got to keep those civil engineers around to fix these crumbling structures.

Now let's throw in the growing United States population. Somebody's got to maintain the water systems so these people can drink something besides lattes and Red Bull. And with your basic biology knowledge, you know the more they drink, the more they have to go. This extra demand on the waste treatment facilities will ultimately mean that more facilities must be built. Guess who designs and oversees the construction of these facilities? Yep, civil engineers!

Of course, someone's got to find the extra cash to fund all these maintenance and construction projects. That's the challenging part, as many states are in tough financial straits already. What about finding private investors to loan the money? Don't count on it. The federal government? Well, perhaps, but that's an entirely different discussion. However, here's the bottom line: The infrastructure repairs, upgrades, and new facilities will have to be funded...even if the state bean counters have to collect pennies on the street corner to pay for it. This leaves the civil engineers sitting pretty...pretty.