Civil Engineering Technicians


Education and Training Requirements

High School

While in high school, you should follow the course for admission into an institution offering either a two- or four-year degree in civil engineering technology. Helpful classes include mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, and computer-aided design. Because the ability to read and interpret material is very important, four years of English and language skills courses are basic requirements. Reports and letters are an essential part of the technician's work, so a firm grasp of English grammar is important. Other useful courses include mechanical drawing and shop; civil engineering technicians often make use of mechanical drawings to convey their ideas to others, and neat, well-executed drawings are important to convey a sense of accuracy and competence.

Postsecondary Training

Once you have graduated, you should choose a school that offers an accredited program in civil engineering technology. In such programs, more mathematics and science subjects, including physics, will be studied to prepare the student for later specialty courses, such as surveying, materials, hydraulics, highway and bridge construction and design, structures, railway and water systems, heavy construction, soils, steel and concrete construction, cost and estimates, and management and construction technology. You should also take courses in computer programming and photogrammetry.

Many students participate in an internship at an engineering consulting firm or other employer of civil engineering technicians to develop their skills, learn more about careers, and build their network.

Other Education or Training

The American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society for Engineering Education, and other professional associations offer webinars, in-person classes, and other training opportunities that help technicians expand their knowledge of civil engineering. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

To advance in professional standing, civil engineering technicians should try to become certified engineering technicians. The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies is one organization that offers certification for technicians. To achieve certification, typically a candidate must graduate from an accredited program, pass a written exam, and have some work experience.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Prior work experience on the job is not a prerequisite for hiring. Employers tend to favor candidates who have completed a two-year program to earn their associate's degree in civil engineering technology, and have also completed one internship at an engineering firm. Another option is to earn a certificate in a vocational or technical school, where the programs typically include more hands-on training. For those with less formal training, learning some skills on the job would be valuable.

Civil engineering projects are often complex and long-term, requiring a variety of specialized skills. Technicians need the ability to think and plan ahead, as well as the patience to work through all the necessary details. "The devil is in the details" could be the motto for the engineering technicians whose job it is to see that each part of the whole project is correct.

Civil engineering technicians are relied on for solutions and must express their ideas clearly in speech and in writing. Good communication skills are important for a technician when he or she writes and presents reports and plans. These skills are also important for working alongside other technicians and professionals, people who are often from many different backgrounds and skilled in varying areas of engineering.

Individuals who succeed in this profession possess critical thinking, problem-solving, and prioritizing skills, and have the ability to monitor projects accurately and report their findings. Creativity is also valuable in this field, as well as attention to detail, manual dexterity, and being able to work well with others.