How to Become a Civil Engineering Technologist: Career Path Guide
Are you interested in a career in applied science? Does the idea of splitting time between an office and a construction site appeal to you? How about the idea of a career that involves helping to design and build structures, systems and buildings? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to these questions, then a career as a civil engineering technologist is well worth considering.
If you want to know more about the ins and outs of this career, then read on; we’ll fill you in on the details, including an overview of what these technologists do, how much they can earn, and what you’ll need to qualify!
Education Needed to Become a Civil Engineering Technologist
The basic requirement for becoming a civil engineering technologist in Canada is a diploma in civil engineering technology. Some employers however, may hire you for a role of lesser responsibility, and promote you to engineering technologist once you have gained experience.
Employers in the United States generally prefer to hire candidates that have an associate’s degree from an ABET-accredited program. Some employers however, may only require that you have a certificate or diploma in a related field, from a technical or vocational school.
Civil Engineering Technologist Job Description
Civil engineering technologists are responsible for working with engineers, architects, surveyors and contractors to design, develop and build civil engineering projects. They must ensure these projects are economical and functional, and meet all applicable standards and building codes.
Civil Engineering Technologist Job Duties
Although the duties you may perform as a civil engineering technologist might vary from job to job, you can generally count the following duties as ‘what you would do’:
• Assist with initial site surveys
• Arrange for lab analysis of soil, rock and materials samples
• Create engineering design plans and models, manually or with computer aided design (CAD) software
• Prepare estimates of labour costs, as well as the amount and type of materials
• Draw up timescales for the delivery of supplies, equipment and labour
• Negotiate with suppliers to get best value for money when buying resources
• Inspect projects and supervise progress
• Report problems to site managers
• Prepare reports for engineers
Experience Needed for this Career
Although most employers would prefer you to have an associate’s degree (or equivalent), it’s possible to enter this profession by first working in a position of lower responsibility and working your way up. For example, if you’re able to get a job as a drafter with an engineering firm, it’s possible to advance to a civil engineering technician position if you can demonstrate that you have the necessary skill set.
Personal Characteristics Needed to Become a Civil Engineer
If you plan on enjoying what you do for a living (highly recommended!) then having some of the following characteristics will help you a great deal.
• You have strong abilities in math and science
• You enjoy working on a team
• You enjoy work that requires taking a methodical approach
• You enjoy work that involves finding innovative solutions to problems
Fundamental ‘Soft’ Skills Needed to Become a Civil Engineering Technologist
If you’re going to become a civil engineering technologist, it’s important that you have some fundamental skills, not including the technical skills and competencies you’ll learn in a civil engineering technology program.
• IT skills for computer aided design (CAD) work
• Good organizational and supervisory skills
• Good communication, presentation and negotiating skills
• Good oral and written communication skills
• Organizational skills
• Excellent analytical and problem solving skills
Technical Skills Needed to Work as a Civil Engineering Technologist
You’ll need the following skills in order to be an effective civil engineering technologist:
• The ability to understand engineering drawings and principles
• Working knowledge of relevant design manuals, standards and practices
• Proficient in software such as AutoCAD
• Experience with field-specific software (such as InRoads, MicroStation, as applicable)
• Proficient in Microsoft Office, specifically Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook
Certification for Civil Engineering Technologists
There are multiple certifications available for civil engineering technologists. Depending on the discretion of your employer, you may need to have, or be working towards certification in order to be hired.
Even if you do not require certification, having it has numerous benefits, such as a likely increase in pay, better future job prospects, and proof of professional competence. Common certifications include:
• Certified Engineering Technologist (C.E.T.)
• Certified Technician (C.Tech.)
The requirements for becoming certified can vary by region (please contact your regional certification board for details). However, they typically include:
• Completion of an approved education program
• Supervised work experience (often 2 years)
• Letters of reference
• Completion of a certification exam
• Being at least 18 years of age
Who Creates Jobs for Civil Engineering Technologists?
The following types of employers hire civil engineering technologists, on a part-time, seasonal, contractual or full-time basis:
• Construction companies
• Engineering consulting firms
• Manufacturing companies
• Land developers
• Municipal and provincial public works, environment and transportation departments
Civil Engineering Technologist Salary
The salary level you could earn as a civil engineering technologist can vary, typically depending on the following factors:
• Your level of education
• Your level of experience
• The specific responsibilities of your job
• The size and type of your employer
• The region in which you work
• Many other factors
Civil Engineering Technologist Salary Alberta: According to the 2013 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working as part of the Civil Engineering Technologist and Technicians occupational group earn an average wage of between $32.72 to $47.93 an hour, with an overall average salary of $78,691 per year.
Civil Engineering Technologist Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadian workers in the Civil Engineering Technologists and Technicians occupational group is $58,600 per year.
Civil Engineering Technologist Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Civil Engineering Technicians occupational group is $47,560 per year.
Civil Engineering Technologist Jobs
Our job board below has "Civil Engineering Technologist" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Working Conditions for Civil Engineering Technologists
Working Hours: Civil engineering technologists typically work normal weekday business hours. When working on site, facing an upcoming deadline, or trying to solve project-related problems, they may be required to work during the evenings and/or weekends.
Work Setting: The work of civil engineering technologists takes place in an office and at construction sites. While in the office, technologists often work at a computer. At construction sites, they may spend much of the day on their feet inspecting construction work, sometimes in poor weather conditions.
Careers Similar to Civil Engineering Technologist
Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Civil Engineering Technologist, as they may be in the same field, or they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and/or responsibilities.
References for this Career Guide
To find out more about what a civil engineering technologist does, what education and skills you need to qualify, how much you could earn, and other details of this career, please consult the following resources:
Alberta Learning and Information Service website - Retrieved August 27, 2015: occinfo.alis.alberta.ca
Government of Ontario, Ontario Immigration website - Retrieved August 27, 2015: www.ontarioimmigration.ca
National Career Service website - Retrieved August 27, 2015: nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk
Service Canada website - Retrieved August 27, 2015: www.servicecanada.gc.ca
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website - Retrieved August 27, 2015: www.bls.gov
Scholarships for Becoming a Civil Engineering Technologist
The Applicable Majors section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as a Civil Engineering Technologist. You can search for scholarships matched to those fields of study on our Civil Engineering Scholarships page.
Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!
Becoming a Civil Engineering Technologist: Applicable Majors
Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for becoming a Civil Engineering Technologist. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!