Civil Engineering Technicians

What Civil Engineering Technicians Do

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.

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Work Environment

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.

How to Become a Civil Engineering Technician

Although not always required, an associate’s degree in civil engineering technology is preferred for employment as a civil engineering technician.

Pay

The median annual wage for civil engineering technicians was $53,410 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of civil engineering technicians is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The need to preserve, repair, upgrade, and enhance an aging infrastructure will sustain demand for these workers.

Civil engineering technicians help civil engineers to plan, design, and build highways, bridges, utilities, and other infrastructure projects. They also help to plan, design, and build commercial, industrial, residential, and land development projects.

Duties

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 held about 70,900 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of civil engineering technicians were as follows:

Engineering services 44%
State government, excluding education and hospitals 26
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 17
Construction 3

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.

Civil engineering technicians frequently work in teams with civil engineers, surveyors and surveying technicians, construction workers, and others involved with projects.

Work Schedules

Civil engineering technicians usually work full time. When civil engineering technicians work at construction sites, their schedules may be subject to factors that affect construction, such as bad weather. In addition, their schedules vary with the length and completion of construction projects. Those who work mostly in laboratories to test construction materials have more stable work schedules, but may still experience schedule variations related to construction.

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of civil engineering technicians.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2019

Civil engineers

Civil Engineers

Civil engineers design, build, and supervise infrastructure projects and systems. 

Bachelor’s degree $87,060

Drafters

Drafters use software to convert the designs of engineers and architects into technical drawings.

Associate’s degree $56,830

Surveying and Mapping Technicians

Surveying and mapping technicians collect data and make maps of the Earth’s surface.

High school diploma or equivalent $45,010

Surveyors

Surveyors make precise measurements to determine property boundaries.

Bachelor’s degree $63,420

For more information about summer apprenticeships in civil engineering, visit

Pathways to Science

For more information about accredited programs, visit

ABET

For more information about certification, visit

American Society of Certified Engineering Technicians

National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET)

O*NET

Civil Engineering Technicians


Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Civil Engineering Technicians,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/civil-engineering-technicians.htm (visited ).