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Preparedness of Civil Engineering Technology Graduates for Design Careers

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

The Civil Engineering Technologist and the Civil Engineer – What’s the Difference?

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.977.1 - 23.977.16



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Paper Authors


Harry G Cooke P.E. Rochester Institute of Technology (CAST)

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Dr. Harry Cooke is an associate professor in the Civil Engineering Technology program at Rochester Institute of Technology where he teaches courses in geotechnical engineering, construction materials, pavements, and mechanics of materials. His research interests include geotechnical engineering, civil engineering materials, and engineering education.

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Todd Dunn Rochester Institute of Technology (CAST)

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Todd Dunn, P.E., is an associate professor in Civil Engineering Technology at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

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Scott B. Wolcott P.E. Rochester Institute of Technology

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Preparedness of Civil Engineering Technology Graduates for Design CareersAbstractOver the last decade there has been growing debate about whether ABET/ETAC accreditedbaccalaureate programs in civil engineering technology are graduating students who are preparedfor civil engineering design careers and professional engineering licensure. The debate has beenaccentuated by a comparison of these graduates to those of ABET/EAC accredited baccalaureatecivil engineering programs. This comparison has become more intense with the establishment ofthe body of knowledge for civil engineering and the “Raise the Bar” initiative for professionallicensure, with the associated BS + 30 requirement for licensure eligibility. The AccreditationBoard for Engineering and Technology (ABET) itself distinguishes between “technologists” whograduate from ABET/ETAC accredited baccalaureate programs and “engineers” who graduatefrom ABET/EAC programs.The objective of this study is to look at the preparedness and ability of graduates from one largecivil engineering technology baccalaureate program to pursue design careers and professionalengineering licensure compared to their civil engineering counterparts. An assessment of thisissue is made by using a survey to obtain the impressions of employers/supervisors at local civilengineering design firms who have experience with both groups of graduates. The survey isdesigned to ascertain the employers/supervisors impressions of the differences between the civilengineering technology and civil engineering graduates in terms of their (1) positions andresponsibilities within the company, (2) technical skills and knowledge when they are first hired,(3) overall engineering design abilities, (4) ability to develop the skill sets needed to become aprofessional engineer, and (5) potential to assume managerial responsibilities.Based on the results of the survey data, informed observations are made concerning the readinessof one group of civil engineering technology graduates to pursue careers in civil designcompared to their engineering counterparts. These observations may, in turn, shed some light onwhether there can be parallel pathways for becoming a civil engineering designer and a licensedprofessional engineer.Note: This abstract is submitted at the request of Tom Lenox, the coordinator of the ASCELiaison Committee’s program for the CE Division of ASEE in 2013. It should be considered forinclusion in the session on Civil Engineering Technologists that Tom Lenox and Jim O’Brien areorganizing and moderating for the Civil Engineering Division of ASEE.

Cooke, H. G., & Dunn, T., & Wolcott, S. B. (2013, June), Preparedness of Civil Engineering Technology Graduates for Design Careers Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22362

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