Civil Engineering Technicians
Civil engineering technicians help civil engineers with planning and overseeing the construction of highways, bridges, water treatment systems, harbors, tunnels, buildings and other structures. They also conduct related research. Some civil engineer technicians are involved in community planning and urban renewal. They work under the direction of engineering staff or physical scientists.
Civil engineering techs go to the project site and assist the engineers lay out the position of the structure's foundation. They also help with drafting and making scale drawings of the structures to be built. They inspect the site during the construction process to ensure the work is following the building plans. Some civil engineering technicians determine the materials to be used and estimate construction costs.
Some sample job titles include civil engineering designer, engineering technician, engineering assistant, civil designer, civil engineering assistant, design technician and engineering specialist.
- Review project blueprints and structural specifications to determine dimensions of structures or systems and materials needed
- Develop detailed drawings and design layouts
- Consult with supervisor to determine details of the project
- Prepare plans and estimate costs for construction of structures and installation of systems
- Create reports and document project data and activities
- Inspect project site and evaluate the work of contractors
- Report project site maintenance problems to their supervisor
- Help research a project
Since a large number of engineering technicians are involved with design work, creativity is beneficial. Engineering technicians are usually part of a team, thus the ability to work well with others is important. Good communications and mathematics skills are also important.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecasted a 17 percent employment growth for civil engineering technicians during the 2008 to 2018 timeframe. In addition, the median annual earnings for civil engineering technicians in 2008 was $44,290.
Education, Certification, and Licensing
Most employers prefer to hire people that have at least an associate degree in engineering technology. Associate degrees in civil engineering technology are also available. Most associate degree programs that have been accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) include at least college algebra and trigonometry along with one or two basic science courses.
Graduates of ABET accredited programs are typically recognized as having an acceptable level of competence in the subjects of science and math and also technical courses that are required of the occupation.
Technical institutes usually offer a lot of technical training through application and practice, however they usually offer less general education and theory than community colleges. Many colleges offer bachelor's degrees in engineering technology, however graduates of these programs often are employed as applied engineers or technologists and not as technicians.
Many private and public schools offer technical training and the type and quality of training varies significantly. Students may want to ask perspective employers for their school preferences. They should also ask a school representative about the types of jobs their graduates have acquired.
Employers typically don't require engineering technicians to be certified, however those with certification may have a competitive advantage. The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies offers certification programs for several engineering technology specialties.
- American Society of Civil Engineers
- National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies
- American Society of Certified Engineering Technicians
The primary job providing industries are architectural, engineering and related services; state government, local government, nonresidential building construction; and colleges, universities and professional schools.