While both civil and mechanical engineering involves designing and constructing, careers in these engineering branches differ in the projects they work on.
If you are interested in a mechanical or civil engineering career, it is important to understand their individual duties and requirements so you can pursue the right career for you.
In this article, we define mechanical and civil engineering and explore their differences.
Table of Contents
What is mechanical engineering?
Mechanical engineering is a profession that uses science, math, and physics to design, build and also maintain machines and equipment ranging from power tools to elevators.
Mechanical engineering includes a variety of concepts, including:
It is important for mechanical engineers to understand all of these concepts in order to design machines and equipment that benefit society. Industries that employ mechanical engineers include:
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Possible Jobs for a Mechanical Engineer
A mechanical engineer’s job responsibilities might, howe er include:
Most mechanical engineers work in offices and visit sites that create or use their devices. They use advanced software programs to create and analyze their designs. Mechanical engineers work closely with architects and other engineers to design devices and achieve project goals.
What is civil engineering?
Civil engineering is a profession that focuses on designing, building, and maintaining infrastructure and projects that benefit communities or the environment. This branch of engineering includes specialties such as:
Civil engineers can also work for governments, cities, companies, the public sector, or particular individuals. The projects they might work on include:
Possible Jobs for a Civil Engineer
some job responsibilities you might get into for studying civil engineering over mechanical engineering, include:
Civil engineers also collaborate with a variety of construction and engineering professionals and meet with officials and clients to discuss project goals and statuses.
Differences between mechanical vs. civil engineering
Here are the key differences between mechanical and civil engineering:
Mechanical and civil engineering candidates follow similar paths, including earning four-year bachelor’s degrees, passing engineering exams, and becoming licensed. The subjects they study and the degrees they get, however, differ.
Most mechanical engineers follow these steps before entering their field:
Mechanical engineers might also pursue master’s or doctorate degrees if they want to specialize in a certain area or transition to teaching or research.
Most civil engineers, however, follow these steps before entering their field:
Civil engineers who choose to pursue a master’s degree are more likely to earn management-level jobs and advance in their careers.
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Civil Engineering vs Mechanical Engineering Salary Key Skills
Key mechanical engineering skills include:
Civil engineering skills include:
Mechanical engineers use creative skills to construct complex designs, whereas civil engineers usually follow a clear and accepted path for working on projects.
The projects mechanical and civil engineers work on vary in size and scope. The main differences include:
While both mechanical and civil engineers work in offices and visit job sites, civil engineers might spend more time on-site supervising projects or traveling between job sites.
Mechanical engineers collaborate primarily with other engineers, but civil engineers collaborate with architects, government officials, construction managers, and urban planners.
Mechanical engineers are more likely to design devices for individuals, companies, or the private sector, while civil engineers create plans that benefit large groups, communities, and the public.
Because they design buildings and infrastructure for public use, civil engineers follow state and federal regulations and seek approval for all steps of their projects. Mechanical engineers have less regulation over their designs.
Civil Engineering vs Mechanical Engineering Salary
Mechanical engineers have a national average salary of $95,029 per year, while civil engineers have a national average salary of $87,201 per year.
Earning potential varies by geographical location, level of education, amount of experience, and specialization.
Civil Engineering vs Mechanical Engineering Salary Career path
Mechanical engineers have the ability to expand their knowledge and expertise throughout their careers. They can more easily transfer their skills to other engineering branches than civil engineers.
Civil engineers typically specialize in one area, and after working many years on job sites and in offices, they might leave the industry to teach engineering or do research.