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What Does a Civil Engineering Technician Do?

The critical thinking skills of a civil engineering technician can save time, money and materials on construction projects. 

These technicians help civil engineers to plan, design and build infrastructure projects. This work can include highways, buildings, water and sewage systems and other commercial, industrial and residential projects. 

They are responsible for site evaluation, quality control and problem-solving before building begins and during construction.

A civil engineering tech job is also a way to get into the engineering profession without a four-year degree. Sound interesting? Keep reading to learn more about this specialized profession. 

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$ 32,000 - $ 83,000
$ 54,000
6,650+
A civil engineer technician will often visit project sites and evaluate plans to make sure they conform to design specifications and applicable codes.
Civil engineer technicians often visit project sites and evaluate how construction is progressing. (Credit: Cineberg/Shutterstock)

Job Responsibilities

  • Read and review blueprints and specifications
  • Evaluate site conditions
  • Set up and monitor instruments for traffic studies
  • Evaluate material needs
  • Work with civil engineer to develop plans and estimate costs
  • Visit project sites and evaluate contractors' work
  • Ensure projects meet design specifications and codes
  • Perform tests on soil samples 
  • Collect data and compile reports
  • Use computer aided design (CAD) software

How to Become a Civil Engineering Technician: FAQs

What are typical civil engineering technician education and training requirements?

Most employers look for candidates with a two-year associate degree in civil engineering technology or a related field. Other pathways include earning a civil engineering certificate from a technical school or earning a bachelor’s degree. Look for programs accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Courses will vary but may include engineering, building materials, design, computer aided design (CAD), surveying and cost estimating.

You can gain hands-on training through an internship program, which are sometimes offered by construction companies, city planning offices or civil engineering firms.

It’s also possible to advance to this job from a related role, such as an architectural drafter (CAD operator) or surveying and mapping technician.

What other qualifications do I need?

You will need a driver’s license to do site visits. 

Certification is not often required, but it may give you a competitive advantage. The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) is one of the main groups that offers certification. To earn it, you need to pass an exam and provide proof of work experience.

Continuing education and certification renewals are typical for this career.

Civil engineering technology vs. civil engineering: What’s the difference?

A civil engineer is licensed and can supervise projects and approve designs. Civil engineering technicians and technologists work under the supervision of an engineer and take care of specific tasks. For example, a technician would make sure that a plan conforms to design specifications and applicable codes. 

Where do civil engineering techs work?

They work for engineering firms and government agencies. Some of their work takes place in an office and some work is completed on site.

What skills and qualities would make someone a good fit for this job?

Successful candidates often share these traits: 

  • Good at problem-solving
  • Strong observational skills
  • Excellent math skills
  • Confident in decision making
  • Excellent reading and writing skills
  • Works well on a team
  • Possesses advanced computer skills

The bottom line on becoming a civil engineering technician: If you want to get into the field of civil engineering without spending the time and money required to earn a bachelor’s degree, consider this career. You’ll get a big-picture view of infrastructure projects, work on a team of construction professionals and learn many aspects of how buildings and bridges are created. If this sounds like a good fit for you, keep researching on SkillPointe to find training programs nearby.

Civil Engineering Technician Training in Your Area

Coordinates

Engineering Technology Certificate

Butler Community College
El Dorado (81.0 Miles)
Mineral Area College logo

Construction/Building Technology, A.A.S.

Mineral Area College
Park Hills (291.6 Miles)
Mineral Area College logo

Construction/Building Technology

Mineral Area College
Park Hills (291.6 Miles)
Three Rivers College logo

Construction Engineering Technology, A.A.S.

Three Rivers College
Poplar Bluff (292.5 Miles)
Three Rivers College logo

Civil Engineering Technician, Certificate

Three Rivers College
Poplar Bluff (292.5 Miles)
Des Moines Area Community College logo

Civil Engineering Technology Diploma

Des Moines Area Community College
Ankey (338.2 Miles)
Des Moines Area Community College logo

Civil Engineering Technology, A.A.S

Des Moines Area Community College
Ankey (338.2 Miles)
Southwest Tennessee Community College logo

Architectural/Construction Fundamentals

Southwest Tennessee Community College
Memphis (352.4 Miles)
Southwest Tennessee Community College logo

Architectural Engineering Technology Civil Construction, A.A.S.

Southwest Tennessee Community College
Memphis (352.4 Miles)
Southwest Tennessee Community College logo

Architectural/Construction Fundamentals

Southwest Tennessee Community College
Memphis (352.4 Miles)
Southwest Tennessee Community College logo

Architectural Engineering Technology Civil Construction, A.A.S.

Southwest Tennessee Community College
Memphis (352.4 Miles)
Northeast Community College logo

Building Construction, A.A.S.

Northeast Community College
Norfolk (354.2 Miles)