FAQ

What does a Civil Engineering Technician do?

Civil Engineering Technicians use their technical skills to help build and maintain our infrastructure: highways, dams, bridges, culverts, airports, etc. They use their skills in the area of design, surveying, material testing, inspection and project management to act as the "eyes and ears" for the engineer. Technicians are not the people who physically build the roads (the laborers), they're the people on site making sure it gets done properly, and they are the people behind the scenes who assist in the design process. They are critical to ensuring that our highway projects get built right the first time, and that they last for many years to come.

Where do Civil Engineering Technicians find employment?

Iowa Department of Transportation, county engineering offices, city engineering offices, private material testing labs, private surveying firms, consulting engineering firms, and construction firms make up the bulk of the hiring. But there are many other employers as well, the DNR, Army Corp of Engineers, etc. DMACC graduates have worked all over this country, and overseas, helping build civil engineering projects.

What is the average starting salary for graduates?

Graduates can expect to earn between $35,000 and $40,000.  Anticipated average starting salary - $38,480(2015 Placement Report).  From there, the sky's the limit depending on who you work for and what you're doing for them.  Examples of success stories:  we have graduates working as construction managers, professional licensed land surveyors, and running their own firms.

How long will it take to finish the degree?

If starting in the fall as a full time student:  5 semesters (fall, spring, summer internship, fall, spring)
If starting in the spring as a full time student:  6 semesters (spring, fall, spring, summer internship, fall, spring) 

What is the summer internship?

Students are required to complete an internship prior to graduation.  Most do it between their first and second year.   The CET department helps students find these paid internships ($14-$15/hour).  If a student cannot do the internship between their first and second year, he/she can do it after their last term (as part of their first job).

Are night classes offered?

Some of the general courses can be taken at night, but all CET classes are offered during the day on the Boone Campus.

Can I go part time?

Yes, just make sure you work with an advisor to schedule classes so that the sequencing works.  (Survey I, I, III for example).  Not every class is taught every semester and it's important not to get off track.

What types of courses will students study?

The core of the program includes courses in design, surveying, materials testing, and construction inspection. There are also courses in mathematics, computer applications, and communications. All of the CET courses are hands-on, with lots of time spent in class using equipment and technology. 

Click here to see a full list of courses.

Are there any special qualifications or prerequisites required?

A high school diploma or equivalent is required for entry into the Civil Engineering Technology program, along with completion of any assessments (ACT, ALEKS for math).  Contact the advisor for further information.

What math is required?

The CET department has one math class in its curriculum, MAT773, Applied Math II.  This math class teaches the CET student algebra, geometry and trig applications that will be used in all of the remaining CET coursework.  We teach applicable math, like how to calculate the area of a parking lot, or the volume of a land fill.  Trig is involved because it applies to surveying, where angles are turned and lengths are calculated.

Don't let the math scare you, a good background in algebra is all that's required to be successful in our program, we'll teach you the rest.

How much will books/supplies cost?

Costs for books and materials range from about $250-$600 per semester for full-time students.

Will DMACC help me get a job when I graduate?

Yes!!  Faculty have close ties with industry, and take the placement rate very seriously.  Historically we have 95-100% placement.  Click here to check out the jobs page.

Can students transfer to another school to get a bachelors degree?

They could, and some have, but this degree is intended to be a 2 year degree that places you directly into the work force.  It is not the first 2 years of a 4 year degree. 

Can I become an engineer someday with this degree?

Not unless you go on to get a 4 year degree in Civil Engineering (only 12 credits of the CET degree will transfer to a 4 year engineering college).  We educate technicians, who are the eyes and ears of the engineer.

How can I get more information?

Check out the faculty/contacts page to find out who to contact for more information.