CAREER DEVELOPMENT / JUN. 21, 2014
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How to Become a Civil Engineering Technician

Civil engineering technicians play a significant role in the construction industry. They help civil engineers to plan and design the construction of structural, transportation, environmental and maritime facilities, such as bridges, roads, drainage systems and ports, respectively. This profession is ideal for professionals with excellent problem-solving skills and passion for science and math.

What do Civil Engineering Technicians do?

Although the duties and responsibilities of civil engineering technicians vary with the nature and size of a construction project, they generally perform the following duties:

  • Reviewing project blueprints to calculate dimensions of structures
  • Determining the amount of materials required for specific tasks and projecting total costs
  • Measuring distances using specialised equipment
  • Conducting laboratory experiments to analyse quality of construction materials, such as concrete
  • Liaising with suppliers to arrange for delivery of raw materials
  • Preparing reports on project progress
  • Reporting technical problems to civil engineers or project supervisors

Work Environment

Civil engineering technicians work from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Some work part-time during weekends to earn more money. Although civil engineering technicians spend most of their time on construction sites, they also spend some time in the laboratory conducting experiments and in the office compiling reports or reviewing project documentation.

While at work, these technicians often wear safety helmets and protective boots to prevent injuries. They can also be exposed to extreme weather.

Salary

As of 2014, civil engineering technicians at various job levels had the following average salaries:

Job Level

Average Annual Salary

Beginning Technicians

£14,000 - £20,000

Experienced Technicians

£21,000 - £ 35,000

Senior Technicians

Up to £40,000

Source: National Careers Service

Education and Training

Aspiring civil engineering technicians can enter the profession by pursuing apprenticeship programmes or college courses. To secure admission to an apprenticeship programme, you typically need four GSCEs, including science, math and technology. Grades A to C are usually desirable.

For a college course, you can pursue the following:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Construction and the Built Environment
  • Level 1 Diploma in Construction and Civil Engineering Services
  • Level 3 Diploma in Engineering
  • HNC/HND in Civil Engineering.

Visit the Institute of Civil Engineers to obtain more information on entry requirements into these courses.

Required Skills

Employers prefer civil engineering technicians who have:

  • Superior problem-solving skills
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Good computer skills and mastery of design software, such as AutoCAD
  • Good teamwork skills to collaborate well with civil engineers
  • Negotiating skills for negotiating with vendors
  • A passion for math and science

Career Progression

Working toward advanced qualification while on the job improves your career progression prospects. For example, you can pursue any of the following specialist courses:

  • Level 2 (NVQ) Diploma in Construction Operations and Civil Engineering Services
  • Level 3 Diploma in Civil Engineering for Technicians
  • Level 3 (NVQ) Diploma in Engineering Technical Support
  • Level 3 (NVQ) Diplomas in Transportation Technical Support

Also, you can become a member of the Engineering Council to obtain EngTech status, which is a valuable career progression credential.

Employment Prospects

As a qualified civil engineering technician, you can work for:

  • Local authorities
  • Mining companies
  • Power and water networks
  • Private road constructions firms
  • Technical consulting companies

With experience and advanced qualifications, you can become a site manager, construction designer or estimator.

Although the National Careers Service estimates the U.K. economy will create about 18,000 jobs for science and engineering technicians between 2014 and 2020, there will be plenty of employment opportunities for civil engineering technicians with the right qualifications.

Hopefully, the career path for engineering technicians is now much clearer. If you feel you have what it takes then it is up to you to take the next step.

 

Photo Credit- Dakota County Technical College

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