Civil engineering technicians help civil engineers to plan, design, and build highways, bridges, and other infrastructure projects for commercial, industrial, residential, and land development projects.
What they do
Civil engineering technicians typically do the following:
- Read and review project drawings and plans to determine the sizes of structures
- Confer with engineers about preparing plans
- Use computer aided design software under the charge of engineers
- Evaluate preconstruction field conditions
- Observe project sites and evaluate contractors’ work to detect problems with a design
- Test construction materials and soil samples in laboratories
- Help to ensure that project construction conforms to design specifications and applicable codes
- Develop plans and estimate costs for constructing systems and operating facilities
- Prepare reports and document project activities and data
- Set up and help maintain project files and records
Civil engineering technicians typically work under the charge of licensed civil engineers. These technicians generally help civil engineers by observing progress on a jobsite, collecting data, and completing routine reports to document project activities. Because they are not licensed, civil engineering technicians cannot approve designs or supervise the overall project.
Civil engineering technicians assume varied duties on the job. They sometimes estimate construction costs and develop specifications. Other times, they prepare drawings or survey land. They also may set up and monitor various instruments for traffic studies. These technicians’ duties often require familiarity with and use of various computer programs to design projects, collect and analyze data, prepare correspondence and reports, and manage file systems.
Civil engineering technicians work in offices, where they help civil engineers plan and design projects. Civil engineering technicians also visit jobsites where a construction project is taking place, to collect or test materials or observe the project and act as a project inspector.
When civil engineering technicians visit the jobsite where a construction project is taking place, they may test materials, assist in surveying, or perform field observations in order to help ensure that the designs approved by licensed civil engineers are being built correctly and in a timely manner. Civil engineering technicians may work at several sites, using cars or trucks as a mobile office.
How to become a Civil Engineering Technician
Although not always required, an associate degree in civil engineering technology is preferred for employment as a civil engineering technician.
To prepare for programs in engineering technology after high school, prospective civil engineering technicians should take science and math courses, such as chemistry, physics, geometry, and trigonometry. They should also have basic knowledge of the use of computers.
Employers generally prefer engineering technicians to have an associate’s degree from a program accredited by ABET, although a degree is not always required. Engineering technology programs are also available at technical or vocational schools that award a postgraduate certificate or diploma.
Courses at technical or vocational schools may include engineering, design, and computer software. To complete an associate’s degree in civil engineering technology, students also usually need to take other courses in liberal arts and the sciences.
The median annual wage for civil engineering technicians was $53,410 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,880, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $80,650.
Employment of civil engineering technicians is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Similar Job Titles
Civil Designer, Civil Engineering Assistant, Civil Engineering Designer, Civil Engineering Technician, Design Technician, Engineer Technician, Engineering Assistant, Engineering Specialist, Engineering Technician, Transportation Engineering Technician
Civil Drafter, Electrical Drafter, Mapping Technician, Power Distributor and Dispatcher, Traffic Technician
The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field. Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas. As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.
- American Institute of Steel Construction - AISC's mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural-steel-related technical and market-building activities, including specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, market development, and advocacy.
- American Society of Civil Engineers - This organization’s mission is straightforward: Deliver value to our members, advance civil engineering, and protect the public health, safety, and welfare.
- National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies - This organization seeks to promote excellence in engineering technologies globally through certification and related services.
Magazines and Publications
- Civil and Structural Engineer Magazine
- Civil Engineering Magazine (ASCE)
- Construction and Civil Engineering Magazine
Civil engineering technicians help civil engineers plan and design major construction projects. From highways and bridges, to utilities and skyscrapers, they carry out planning and design activities, collect data, and help ensure projects are built correctly and stay on schedule. Civil engineering technicians typically work under the charge of licensed civil engineers. They sometimes estimate construction costs and develop specifications for construction. They also prepare drawings, survey land, and may set up instruments for traffic studies. Technicians may work at several sites, using vehicles as their mobile office. They may also work in laboratories to test construction materials, keeping careful records of their findings. Civil engineering technicians frequently work in teams with civil engineers, surveyors, and construction workers. These technicians usually work full time. They may visit jobsites to test materials and review technical documents to ensure designs are built correctly. Their schedules may be affected by construction project disruptions and deadlines. An associate’s degree in civil engineering technology is preferred for most jobs, though not always required.
Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH www.bls.gov/ooh,
CareerOneStop www.careeronestop.org, O*Net Online www.onetonline.org