A civil engineer technician assists civil engineers to plan, design, and build bridges, highways, and other infrastructure projects, as well as, helping plan, design, and build residential, commercial, industrial, and land development projects. They typically work in offices or visit job sites to collect and test materials or observe the project as a project inspector.
Watch a video to learn what a civil engineer technician does.
How to Become a Civil Engineer Technician
Employers are often looking for applicants that hold an associate’s degree from an accredited program by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (link opens in a new tab). However, a degree is not always necessary. Technical and vocational schools are also available that offer postgraduate certificates or diplomas. These courses should include design, engineering, and computer software. An associate’s degree may have an additional requirement course in the sciences and liberal arts.
A civil engineer technician should be qualified in critical-thinking skills, decision making, observation skills, math skills, reading and writing skills, and problem-solving. Gaining work experience in a related field, like a drafter or computer aided design operator with an engineering firm would be advantageous in acquiring knowledge of design and construction when competing for a job.
Job Description of a Civil Engineer Technician
Civil engineer technicians generally have the job of reading and reviewing plans and project drawings. They meet with engineers about plan preparation. These techs evaluate pre-construction field conditions for a project. They visit work sites to detect any design problems and evaluate the work of the contractor.
A civil engineer technician tests soil samples and construction materials and ensures the project conforms to the applicable codes and design specifications. He or she estimate costs, develop plans, prepare reports, and document project data and activities of a project. They pick up varied duties on a job including surveying the land or preparing drawings. They may set up and monitor different instruments for traffic studies, therefore, familiarity with relevant computer programs would be required.
The U.S. Department of Transportation posted a job announcement for an Engineering Technician on USAjobs.gov. These are the responsibilities that were posted.
As an Engineering Technician-Construction, at the entry level, duties include:
- Assist construction inspector in charge of paving plant with responsibility for control of mix, mixing time, lying, finishing, and curing.
- Assist bridge inspector with checking line and grade, checking forms, placement of reinforced or structural steel or other similar work connected with bridges, large box culverts, or large retaining walls.
- Serve as instrument operator on construction engineering stakeout of project, including staking of centerline, slope staking, and setting of grade stakes or similar work in monitoring and evaluating contractor staking.
- Sample materials for testing, computes quantities of materials processed and work performed, prepares weekly progress reports, etc., or monitors contractor sampling and testing procedures for accuracy.
- Observe and evaluate safety precautions of contractor and calls attention to infractions of safety regulations.
Civil Engineer Technician Career Video Transcript
Civil engineering technicians help civil engineers plan and design major construction projects. From highways and bridges, to utilities and skyscrapers, they carry out planning and design activities, collect data, and help ensure projects are built correctly and stay on schedule. Civil engineering technicians typically work under the charge of licensed civil engineers. They sometimes estimate construction costs and develop specifications for construction. They also prepare drawings, survey land, and may set up instruments for traffic studies.
Technicians may work at several sites, using vehicles as their mobile office. They may also work in laboratories to test construction materials, keeping careful records of their findings. Civil engineering technicians frequently work in teams with civil engineers, surveyors, and construction workers. These technicians usually work full-time. They may visit job sites to test materials and review technical documents to ensure designs are built correctly. Their schedules may be affected by construction project disruptions and deadlines. An associate’s degree in civil engineering technology is preferred for most jobs, though not always required.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Civil Engineering Technicians.
National Center for O*NET Development. 17-3022.00. O*NET OnLine.
The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.