Civil Engineering Technicians Overview
Civil engineering technicians are encouraged to study towards an associates degree in civil engineering technology or other postsecondary training. This training will make it easier for civil engineering technicians to find work in a field based on economic conditions and work specialties.
Nature of the Work for Civil Engineering Technicians
Civil engineering technicians focus on the principles of science, engineering, and mathematics to complete their daily tasks. Their duties include solving technical problems that occur in research, maintenance and manufacturing, as well as other duties such as sales and construction. While civil engineering technicians can also be apart of the development and inspection process, the work of a civil engineering technician is focused and application-oriented.
The work of a civil engineering technician also involves assisting, such as assisting engineers and scientists in processes such as collecting data, conducting tests, creating prototypes, inspecting processes and products, helping in design work and drafting (CADD) equipment.
For civil engineering technicians who choose to work in manufacturing, their duties may include development, product design and/or production.
Civil engineering technicians not only deal with electrical and mechanical equipment, but they can also take on tasks involving installation and repair covered in the Handbook section. The civil engineering technicians who work in research and development are exposed to equipment building practices, experiments and data collection.
The role of a civil engineering technician aids civil engineers in constructing bridges, dams, highways, and other structures. When entering the sites, there can either be drawings already made for land-surveying while other times cost is merely estimated on site. Another function includes instruments used to study traffic conditions while civil engineering technicians may have to set-up or monitor such systems.
The work environment of a civil engineering technician can vary, from working in office or a laboratory, or on actual construction sites or plants. When working such conditions 40 hours a week, civil engineering technicians must be cautious of chemicals and toxic materials from machinery, even though such incidents are rare.
Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Civil Engineering Technicians
In terms of education, many employers want to hire civil engineering technicians with an associates degree or postsecondary education in civil engineering technology or engineering technology. Technical institutes, community colleges and college extensions also offer training as well as at vocational-technical schools and in the Armed Forces.
The reason this education is important is because those without a degree or training will most likely require more training on the job to learn specific skills. Those looking to becoming civil engineering technicians should load up on as many math and science courses available at your high school.
Most two year associates degrees are accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). These degrees usually include courses in college algebra or trigonometry and a basic science course or two. With about 700 ABET-accredited programs in engineering technology, some may require more math or science depending on the course chosen.
For those receiving training at a technical institute, their principles are based on application and practice, more so than on theory and education. These technical institutes offer 2-year associates degree programs as do other technical institutes, some run by private organizations, in becoming a civil engineering technician.
If choosing to complete your education at a community college, engineering technicians will learn more about the principles of theory and liberal arts with similar curriculums as other community colleges and programs. Once the 2-year program is completed, many continue on to receiver their 4-year degree or enter into the workforce to look for an engineering technician job.
Though many schools offer associates degrees, there is a difference between an associates degree in pre-engineering and a degree in engineering technology. With growing competition in employment, an associates degree or postsecondary training in engineering technology is beneficial in creating great job opportunities for engineer technicians. Those who complete the 2-year pre-engineering program without going on to complete the 4-year engineering program may find it difficult to find work as an engineering technician due to a lack of hands-on experience with an emphasis on academic preparatory work.
On the contrary, those who complete a 2-year program in engineering technology may not have the appropriate credits they have taken if they choose to enter a 4-year program in engineering.
Though colleges with 4-year programs rarely have engineering technician training, courses taken in science, mathematics and engineering are always helpful for an engineering technician looking for a job.
Vocational-technical schools and postsecondary public institutions offer local students training for local employers. Many programs that offer engineering technician training require a high school diploma or its equivalent to be admitted.
Since many military technical training programs are highly regarded by employers, students may choose to receive training in the Armed Forces. Though these programs are highly regarded, many programs in the Armed Forces are deemed as narrowly focused and not as applicable to the civilian industry as other programs. Due to this factor, additional training might be necessary.
Along with training, other important qualifications for a civil engineering technician are creativity and good communication skills. The ability to work well with others and in teams is also an impressive quality.
After training, many civil engineering technicians begin by working under the supervision of a technician, engineer, or scientist experienced in the field. As civil engineering technicians learn more, they may take on challenging assignments and can even work their way up to becoming supervisors.
Top 10 Most Popular Civil Engineering Technology/Technician Schools
1. The University of Toledo, Health Science Campus (Toledo, Ohio)
2. Hudson Valley Community College (Troy, New York)
3. Pennsylvania College of Technology, Williamsport (Williamsport, Pennsylvania)
4. Wentworth Institute of Technology (Boston, Massachusetts)
5. Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, New York)
6. Southern Polytechnic State University (Marietta, Georgia)
7. University of Cincinnati, Main Campus (Cincinnati, Ohio)
8. SUNY Institute of Technology at Utica, Rome (Utica, New York)
9. University of Pittsburgh, Johnstown (Johnstown, Pennsylvania)
10. Stark State College of Technology (North Canton, Ohio)
Online School: University of Florida - Online School
Employment and Job Outlook for Civil Engineering Technicians
Number of People in Profession
Changing Employment (2008-2018)
Employment is projected to grow faster than average (increase 14 - 19%).
Out of the 497,300 jobs engineering technicians held, 91,700 were civil engineering technicians.
The Federal Government employed 35,300 engineering technicians out of 497,300 while State governments employed 31,300 and local governments employed 25,100.
Out of all the engineering technician jobs, 34 percent worked in manufacturing while 25 percent worked in professional, scientific and technical industries, such as manufacturing firms and other businesses that do contractual government work.
Civil engineering technicians with an associates degree or other postsecondary training in engineering technology are likely to have more job opportunities than those who do not complete such courses of education. Though the employment rate for civil engineering technicians is expected to grow slower than the average, projected growth depends on specific occupations and learned specialties.
Though many companies will be forced to update their manufacturing facilities and product design due to growing competition, the flipside is that automated and efficient machinery can restrict job growth for civil engineering technicians. Another factor affecting job growth for those working with product designs is that many companies are relocating parts of their development operations to different facilities overseas to reduce costs and to speed up the process.
Though many companies are relocating parts of their development operations, those requiring civil specialties may require on-site assistance which translates to job growth for these specialties in the US.
Overall, employment growth varies due to industry and specialization as well as the employment of engineers, since civil engineering technicians’ work closely with these engineers.
Unlike the other engineering technician occupations, civil engineering technicians are expected to hold 17 percent of engineering technician jobs. Due to expansion needs for transportation, water supply, pollution control systems and large buildings, civil engineering technicians will be needed to help maintain the Nation’s infrastructure due to population growth. Their expertise will also be crucial in repairing and replacing roads, bridges and public structures.
Thanks to changes in technology, civil engineering technicians will need to remain knowledgeable on these technologies in order to work proficiently.
Earnings and Salary for Civil Engineering Technicians
Median annual wages for civil engineering technicians are $45,970. The middle 50 percent earn between $35,570 and $57,890. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $28,640, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $69,410.
Annual Salary for Civil Engineering Technicians
On average, Civil Engineering Technicians earn $45,970 per year.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook