How to Become
a Civil Engineering Technician
Best Education Tracks, Key Skills, and Top Certifications
As long as there is a demand for civil engineers, there will be a demand for civil engineering technicians. These technicians help create plans for different civil engineering projects. If you’re interested in learning how to become a civil engineering technician, this comprehensive guide can teach you everything you need to know.
Read below to learn more about education tracks, job opportunities, and what it takes to become one. Remember that civil engineering technicians need extensive training to get professional recognition.
What Is a Civil Engineering Technician?
A civil engineering technician is an expert who provides assistance to civil engineers. Their job duties shadow the responsibilities of civil engineers. Civil engineering technicians help build plans for projects like bridges, roads, and other infrastructure.
Civil engineering technicians don’t oversee these projects themselves. A licensed civil engineer has to be in charge of every project. Your job as a technician is to provide the necessary aid while you learn and improve your skills. With experience and extra education, you could also become a licensed civil engineer.
What Type of School Should You Attend
to Become a Civil Engineering Technician?
To become a civil engineering technician, you can attend a university, community college, or vocational school. You can also take individual courses to learn specific skills. Most employees prefer to hire candidates who hold a minimum of an associate degree.
Best Civil Engineering Technician Education Tracks
The education tracks below can help you become a civil engineering technician. As long as you are an adult and have a high school diploma or equivalent certificate, you can start studying. Make sure your civil engineering technician program is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
Read below to learn more about the best education tracks for becoming a civil engineering technician.
Vocational schools, also known as trade schools, can give you the knowledge you need to become a civil engineering technician in 12 to 18 months. Accelerated learning is one of the most significant advantages of vocational schools, but there are many more. You can get hands-on training and graduate with a certificate or diploma.
Vocational schools are a great choice because they can teach you the skills you need without any filler. You can learn in an environment that is similar to the working conditions of a civil engineering technician. This can give you experience before you even start working.
At a community college, you can get an associate degree. This is the most common degree that employers want to see when recruiting civil engineering technicians. You can get an associate degree after two years of intensive training. Most programs are in person, but you can also find online colleges so you can learn from home.
Community colleges are less expensive than traditional universities, so they are a good place to start. In some places, you can get a scholarship and learn for free. You should research different opportunities in your area.
Civil Engineering Technician University Degrees
You don’t need a bachelor’s or master’s degree to work as a civil engineering technician. However, if you have the time and resources to attend a university, it can help you move up in the field. You should try applying for a civil engineering program. A bachelor’s degree takes four precious years to complete, but it will teach you everything you need to know.
Civil Engineering Technician Courses
Individual courses can help you learn specific skills to practice in the field. They can be helpful if you want to understand a topic more fully. You can take these courses online from the comfort of your home. You can check online course providers like Udemy and Coursera to see what they offer.
Udemy offers a money-back guarantee for over 30 civil engineering technician courses. These courses cost between $24 to $170, and some of them are 100 percent free. If you want to enroll in a civil engineering technician program but you don’t feel confident yet, individual courses are a good place to start.
How to Become a Civil Engineering Technician: A Step-by-Step Guide
If you want to become a civil engineering technician, you need to follow a few vital steps. These can help you learn everything you need to know and prepare for the job hunt. Read below to learn more about the steps to become a civil engineering technician.
Get a high school diploma or equivalent certificate
Before you apply to civil engineering courses, you need to have a high school diploma or equivalent certificate. You should choose extra math and physics courses if you can.
Start learning AutoCAD
AutoCAD is essential software for civil engineering technicians. You can take a free online course to learn the fundamentals of computer-aided design (CAD). Using AutoCAD, you will be able to create 2D and 3D designs with ease. Learning it early on can help you in the long run.
Learn technical and business writing
You will need to do a lot of technical and business writing in your position as a civil engineering technician. You should know how to research thoroughly and write in technical terms. There are many online courses you can take to boost your writing and research skills.
Get your post-secondary education
Getting a degree will increase your chances of getting employed. It proves that you’ve gained the knowledge you need to excel on a professional level. You can attend a vocational school, community college, or university.
Start applying for jobs
Once you have the right knowledge and experience, you can start applying for jobs. You can decide where you want to work and do your own research accordingly. With enough experience, you can even become a civil engineer.
Key Civil Engineering Technician Skills
As you learn the core principles for civil engineering technicians, some skills will make things easier. You can develop these skills during your degree or with online classes. Read below for more details about the most important civil engineering technician skills.
Civil engineering technicians use math to make designs, analyze plans, and troubleshoot issues. The best math courses for civil engineering technicians cover ordinary differential equations, algebraic number theory, linear algebra, and integral transforms.
Operations analysis uses operational systems to identify issues and suggest improvements. Civil engineering technicians will use historical and current performance data during operational analysis. This is a vital skill because it helps civil engineers avoid problems in the process.
System Evaluation and Monitoring
As a civil engineering technician, you will be responsible for monitoring systems during projects to ensure that everything is working as it should. This also allows you to identify actions that will improve performance even when there are no pressing challenges. The goal is to improve overall performance.
Civil Engineering Technician Salary and Job Outlook
According to Salary.com, the median salary for civil engineering technicians is around $51,791 per year. This can vary depending on your location, level of education, and workplace. Salary.com also reports that high-level civil engineering technicians can make up to $69,881 per year.
As for the job outlook, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that civil engineering technician job opportunities will grow by three percent between 2019 and 2029. This is the average for most occupations in the US.
Entry-Level Civil Engineering Technician Job Requirements
The minimum requirement for entry-level civil engineering technicians is an associate degree. However, there are exceptions to this rule. If you are self-taught, you can demonstrate your skills to prospective employers for a chance to get your first job. You can also attend a vocational school to get hands-on training.
What Does a Civil Engineering Technician Do?
Civil engineering technicians provide technical assistance to a licensed civil engineer. As a technician, you will perform any duties the civil engineer needs, which means the work can vary.
The top three duties of a civil engineering technician are listed below.
Assesses Environmental Impact
Civil engineering technicians sometimes check the negative impact of projects on the environment. This includes testing soil, water, air, and more. As a civil engineering technician, you will need to make projections of how these natural elements will be affected by the projects. You can also find out if the site is home to certain animals.
Keeps Inventory of Materials
As a civil engineering technician, you may be tasked with making a list of required materials for a project. When these items are delivered, you will check to see if they are up to the client’s specifications and track each item’s use. This is important because, without the right supplies, the project can’t proceed.
Provides Support to the Civil Engineer
The main responsibility of a civil engineering technician is to assist the civil engineer. This can be anything from developing plans to picking out rock samples of analyses. Your job is to get the job done without a hitch. You may also be tasked with ensuring that other workers meet deadlines.
Civil Engineering Technician Certifications
While civil engineers have several professional certifications they can get to showcase their expertise, there aren’t many options for civil engineering technicians. Right now, the two nationally recognized certifications for civil engineering technicians in the United States are awarded by the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET).
Construction Materials Testing | Asphalt, Concrete, Soils
As a civil engineering technician, you can take an exam to get certified in one of three key construction materials: asphalt, concrete, or soils. To qualify, you will need to prove that you meet the national guidelines for testing your chosen material at a construction site. You also need a minimum of five years of relevant work experience.
There are four levels available for this certification and the cost ranges from $230 for Level I to $410 for Level IV.
Highway Construction Inspection
This certification is designed for civil engineering technicians who work primarily on highway construction projects. It is available in four different levels and the requirements for each level are different. For example, the Level I certification requires only six months of work experience, while the Level IV certification requires 120 months of work experience.
The cost of this certification also ranges from $230 to $410.
How to Prepare for Your Civil Engineering Technician Job Interview
Civil engineers are big on demonstrations, so your interviewer will be more concerned with what you can do than the way you look on paper. The questions will be designed to test your knowledge of the field and your leadership skills.
The common civil engineering technician interview questions listed below can help you ace your job interview.
Civil Engineering Technician Job Interview Practice Questions
- Do you have good organizational skills? Rate yourself on a scale of one to ten.
- Give an example of when you had to oversee the construction and modification of equipment.
- What is your preferred technique for data collection and analysis?
- What are your weaknesses as a civil engineering technician?
How Long Does It Take to Become a Civil Engineering Technician?
You can become a civil engineering technician in two years or less. Two years is the minimum required to get your associate degree from a community college. However, you can finish faster if you try a vocational school. Bachelor’s degrees can take longer, but they can also be worth it if you want to climb the ladder.
Should You Become a Civil Engineering Technician in 2021?
Yes, you should become a civil engineering technician in 2021. The demand for civil engineering technicians is on the rise, and you can use this to your advantage. Also, civil engineering technicians are just a bachelor’s degree away from becoming civil engineers.
Becoming a civil engineering technician is a great well-paying occupation that doesn’t require too much training. You just have to be willing to learn. If you want to become a civil engineering technician, you should start now.
Civil Engineering Technician FAQ
Is a civil engineering technician a civil engineer?
No, a civil engineering technician is different from a licensed civil engineer. While technicians draw plans, take inventory, and estimate costs like civil engineers, they do more hands-on projects with a civil engineer’s supervision.
Can I proceed to licensed civil engineering without a degree?
Yes, you can. However, it will be much more difficult to find a job. A degree can prove your skills to prospective employers.
Is civil engineering technology an in-field position?
Yes, it is. You will have to do most of your work on site. The good news is that you will usually also have an office for research, plan development, data analysis, and more.
How much do civil engineer technicians make?
Civil engineering technicians make a median salary of approximately $51,791 per year, according to Salary.com.