The School was established in October 1947, shortly after the creation of the Air Force as a separate service. The Corps of Engineers, which had previously provided engineering services to Army Air Corps bases, had scheduled to withdraw its engineering personnel from air bases by June 1949. Filling in for the Corps of Engineers was a new organization, Air Installations, many of whose members had transferred from the Corps of Engineers. HQ USAF established a special institution to educate future Air Force engineers to provide a steady flow of competent engineers for the Air Force.
In March 1948, the School held its first class, consisting of 33 students. Designed to train officers for base-level Air Installations duty, the Air Installations Engineering Special Staff Officer course covered maintenance and repair, air base construction, management, and administration. In August 1953, the basic civil engineering course was added to the curriculum. Renamed Introduction to the Base Civil Engineer Organization course, it is now designed to indoctrinate newly commissioned officers and newly hired civilians in the civil engineering career field. Another long-standing course, the Civil Engineer Commander/Deputy course, was initiated in December 1968 for base civil engineers and their deputies. This course is still an integral part of the School's curriculum today. Over its 71 years of continuous operation, more than 75,000 students have attended resident and distance learning professional continuing education courses at the Civil Engineer School.
The Air Force Institute of Technology, of which the Civil Engineer School is one of four schools, is accredited by Higher Learning Commission at:
230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, Illinois 60604-14117462
Courses are offered for continuing education units (CEUs). The curriculum is reviewed annually by the Education and Training Review Committee of the Air Force Civil Engineer career field to ensure it is meeting the educational needs of the officers, enlisted and civilians of the career field.