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A Financial Study of Civil Engineering Profession and Paraprofessions

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Android TA: Course Automation and the Fate of the Professor

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.43.1 - 25.43.15



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Paper Authors


King To Hung Brigham Young University

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King To Hung obtained a B.E.S. in civil engineering from Brigham Young University in 2009 and is currently a M.S. student in Civil Engineering at Brigham Young University. He has served as a Team Captain in a steel bridge competition and is interested in engineering management.

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Fernando Fonseca Brigham Young University

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A Financial Study of Civil Engineering Profession and ParaprofessionsAbstractASCE’s “The Vision for Civil Engineers in 2025” states that in order to keep pace with newtechnologies and rapidly-changing current practices, there is a need to cooperate and partner inthe delivery of baccalaureate, post-baccalaureate, and life-long learning educational activities.Therefore, ASCE is currently considering endorsing the requirement that all those who wouldlike to become civil engineering professionals have a master degree in civil engineering. Aroundthe same time, ASCE’s Executive Committee formed the Paraprofessional Exploratory TaskCommittee (PETC) to better define the role of civil engineering paraprofessionals due to the factthat paraprofessionals in civil engineering may increasingly become a career choice.There have not been any studies regarding the financial benefits, if any, of spending the extratime, effort, and money to obtain a master degree in civil engineering. This research studied theearning differences between professionals and paraprofessionals of six professions: legalservices, physicians, dentistry, accounting, teaching, and land surveying, along with civilengineering with the assumption that a master degree is mandatory.This research used three scenarios: 1) earnings from salary only, 2) earnings from salary andreturn from investing 5% of annual income, and 3) earnings from salary and return frominvesting 10% of annual income, where the investments were assumed to be some secured longterm investment that can yield about 12% growing on average. Civil engineering was comparedto the other professions in terms of percentage, dollars amount, and break even time.This paper will discuss how well, financially, civil engineering professional compare to itsparaprofessional and other professionals. Essentially, the breakeven time for civil engineeringprofessionals is faster than average only if no investments are made; it takes slightly longer thanaverage if a percentage of the annual income is invested. This paper will also discuss howbeneficial it is to become a professional civil engineer compared to other professionals.

Hung, K. T., & Fonseca, F. (2012, June), A Financial Study of Civil Engineering Profession and Paraprofessions Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20803

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