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Civil Engineering Technician

Source of Information: Next Step / DirectGov / Careers Advice Service

Civil Engineering Technician

The Work

As a civil engineering technician, you would provide technical support to civil engineers on engineering construction projects. Projects could fall into the following categories:

  • structural bridges, dams, buildings, offshore platforms and pipelines
  • transportation roads, railways, tunnels and airports
  • environmental public water supply networks, irrigation, drainage, waste disposal and sewage treatment
  • maritime ports, harbours and sea defences.

Your duties would include:

  • assisting with initial site surveys
  • arranging for lab analysis of soil, rock and materials samples
  • developing engineering design plans, by hand or with computer aided design (CAD) software
  • preparing estimates of labour costs and the amount and type of materials
  • drawing up timescales for the delivery of supplies, equipment and labour
  • negotiating with suppliers to get value for money when buying resources
  • inspecting projects and supervising progress
  • reporting problems to site managers and preparing reports for engineers.

Hours and Environment

Typical hours would be 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, but you could work shifts, including weekends and nights, when on site. You might also be part of an on-call rota to deal with out-of-hours problems.

You would work in all weather conditions, and would be expected to wear a safety helmet and protective footwear on site.

Skills and Interests

  • a flair for maths and science
  • good problem-solving skills
  • the ability to understand engineering drawings and principles
  • IT skills for CAD work
  • good organisational and supervisory skills
  • teamworking skills
  • good communication, presentation and negotiating skills.


A common way into this career is through an engineering Apprenticeship scheme. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. For more information on Apprenticeships, visit

To get on to a scheme, you may need four GCSEs (grades A-C), including maths, science or design and technology, or equivalent qualifications.

Alternatively, you could take a college course which would teach you some of the skills needed. Relevant courses include:

  • Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment
  • BTEC National Certificate and Diploma in Civil Engineering
  • Foundation Degree in Civil Engineering
  • BTEC HNC/HND in Civil Engineering.

To search for foundation degrees and HNCs/HNDs visit the UCAS website. Please check with individual colleges and universities for their entry requirements.

You could be taken on as a company trainee after completing an engineering or construction qualification.


Once you are working you may be encouraged to complete an NVQ qualification. The exact NVQ you choose would depend on your job. Relevant subjects include:

  • Engineering Technical Support
  • Construction Site Supervision
  • Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities
  • Transportation (technical options).

As an experienced technician, you could improve your career prospects by registering with the Engineering Council to gain EngTech status. See the Engineering Council website for more details.


You could find a range of opportunities in civil engineering, including public and private sector building works, power and water networks, and transport and mining projects.

With experience, you could progress to supervisory or site management roles, or specialise in particular areas of the job, such as construction design or estimating.

If you continue to train, you could eventually qualify as a civil engineer.

You may find the following useful for job vacancies and general reading (links open in new window):

Engineering Jobs Network
The Engineer Online

We do not accept responsibility for the content of external sites.

Annual Income

  • Starting salaries can be between 13,000 and 19,000 a year.
  • Experienced technicians can earn between 20,000 and 35,000.
  • Senior technicians can earn 37,000 or more.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Further information

If you would like to discuss your career options with a learning advisor at the Careers Advice Service advice line, call 0800 100 900 or use our online enquiry form.
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