What Is a Civil Engineering Technician? 

What is a civil engineering technician?

Civil engineering is everywhere. Think about the structures that you interact with every day. Whether it be the roads that we walk on, the transit systems we take, or the office buildings we work in. From skyscrapers to houses, civil engineers are found at the root of it all.  

Civil engineers apply scientific and technical knowledge to plan, design, construct, and maintain structures, such as those listed above that we rely on daily. The work of civil engineering is also behind, bridges, highways, airports, water supply systems, and sewage systems, among other important infrastructure.   

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), civil engineers are in extremely high demand due to their specialized, interdisciplinary science, technology, engineering, and math skills and experience. Due to this, as well as the wide variety of areas of focus that make up civil engineering, the field is growing at a fast rate.   

The most common areas of focus within civil engineering are structural engineering, transportation engineering, geotechnical engineering, environmental engineering, and water resources engineering. Each of these specialties plays an important role in maintaining our modern world.  

Civil engineering is vital to our society. Civil engineers are responsible for ensuring that the structures and systems they design are safe, efficient, and sustainable.

They use a range of tools and techniques to analyze and model the behavior of materials and systems, and they work closely with other professionals, such as architects, urban planners, construction managers, and civil engineering technicians to ensure that their designs are feasible and meet the needs of their clients and the community. 

Want to learn more about civil engineering or looking for book recommendations to add to your civil engineering reading list? Check out our blog and pick which one of our top books to bring along with you on your journey of continued learning.  

In this article, we’ll be exploring the role of a civil engineering technician. While you may not have heard of this position before, civil engineering technicians are a crucial part of getting all civil engineering jobs done. They’re the unsung heroes of the profession, and in this article, we’ll spotlight all that they do.  

What Is a Civil Engineering Technician? 

civil engineering dam
via Unsplash

Civil engineering technicians assist civil engineers with a wide range of tasks related to the design and construction of structures like buildings, highways, bridges, and water supply and sewage systems.   

Civil engineering technicians typically work under the supervision of civil engineers, and their responsibilities may include surveying construction sites, preparing construction plans and specifications, performing tests on construction materials, and inspecting the construction of buildings and infrastructure.

They may also utilize computer-aided design (CAD) software to create technical drawings and models. Just as civil engineers work with professionals in other fields such as architects and urban planners, civil engineering technicians also work closely with these skilled professionals to ensure the safety, efficiency, and accuracy of every project. 

What Are the Responsibilities of a Civil Engineering Technician? 

Civil engineering technicians’ responsibilities may include using their technical knowledge and experience to develop project plans and create budget estimates based on the cost of materials, labor, and other expenses associated with the project. As part of estimating the budget, technicians will also request quotes for constructing systems and operating facilities. 

Like civil engineers, civil engineering technicians have a broad knowledge of the field and, therefore, a wide range of responsibilities and tasks. 

Overall, civil engineering technicians play an important role in the planning, budgeting, and organization process for engineering projects. By working closely with civil engineers and other professionals, they can help ensure that projects are completed on time, within budget, and according to the required specifications. 

Another vital responsibility for civil engineering technicians is to ensure error-free designs by evaluating contractor work, reviewing project drawings and plans, and testing and assessing construction materials. Civil engineering is what ensures our structures are safe from the first day they’re built to long after construction ceases.   

By carefully reviewing construction at each stage of the project, civil engineering technicians play a key role in helping civil engineers create the safest structures possible. If we can’t count on safe civil engineering projects, our society will be built on a (literally) shaky foundation.  

Throughout the project, civil engineering technicians will make sure the project conforms to design specifications and relevant codes, conduct project site inspections, review blueprints, organize project files and records, and monitor traffic study instruments.

Civil engineering technicians will also utilize applicable software programs to project component dimensions and material quantities, ensuring safety and accuracy throughout the project.  

Civil engineering technicians may also visit the project site to conduct surveys and collect data that can be used throughout the entire project from developing project plans and cost estimates to reporting on project progress.  

civil engineering technician plans

Education Requirements 

The main education requirement in order to become a civil engineering technician is graduation from a program that’s been accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Courses offered at technical or vocational schools are acceptable and take less time to complete.  

Because civil engineering technicians work under the supervision of civil engineers, they do not require as extensive training and do not need to hold as advanced a degree. Sometimes, civil engineering technicians can get into the field with an associate degree, although some companies may require a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering. 

What Skills Are Required to Be a Civil Engineering Technician? 

Civil engineering technicians are required to use a range of skills and knowledge in their daily work, including, but not limited to, reading, writing, calculus, geometry, and science. This type of foundational knowledge is often gained through higher education courses, whether that’s in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree.  

Civil engineering technicians need to be able to read, understand, and interpret technical drawings, blueprints, and other documents related to construction projects. Through interpreting information related to the project, civil engineering technicians must also be able to write clearly and concisely.  

That’s because they are responsible for creating technical reports, proposals, and other documents related to construction projects. Civil engineering technicians must make sure that all parties who are invested in a project can understand what’s going on.  

Civil engineering requires a depth of understanding in math and science. Civil engineering technicians may use calculus to solve mathematical problems related to construction projects, such as determining the load-bearing capacity of building materials, calculating the size and shape of structures, and analyzing data related to construction materials and processes.   

Civil engineering technicians will also use geometry to help interpret technical drawings and blueprints. Finally, civil engineering technicians use their expertise in the area of science and scientific methods to test and analyze construction materials, evaluate the safety and reliability of structures, and identify potential hazards or risks associated with construction projects.  

Overall, there is a wide range of skills required to be a civil engineering technician. If this career path interests you, you’ll need to ensure that you hone these abilities in order to succeed and stand out in the field.  

What Experience Does a Civil Engineering Technician Need? 

A civil engineering technician should have experience working with software related to civil engineering as it would be extremely helpful and valuable for success in this role. Civil engineering technicians often use computer-aided design (CAD) software to create technical drawings and schematics that can be used to plan the project.   

These drawings can be used to identify potential issues and develop solutions before construction begins. There are many different software applications that civil engineers use, and almost all of them require some practice. In order to make sure you’re a standout candidate, it’s important to research and explore the digital tools you may need to succeed.  

Oftentimes, civil engineering technicians may find themselves working within construction engineering. Construction engineering is the management and completion of any construction project, whether that be industrial, residential, or commercial.   

Civil engineering is all about the structures that make up our society, therefore, construction is crucial in the civil engineering field. Since construction engineers are concerned with the construction of structures, there is a need for a greater staff, not only to ensure safety but because constructing a project is more hands-on than designing.   

civil engineering technician

Due to this, it can be important that someone considering becoming a civil engineering technician has experience in construction. Construction experience can help greatly in the understanding and execution of civil engineering technician roles.  

Civil engineering technicians play an important role in many different types of engineering, including construction engineering, which is a popular subfield they might be involved in. 

What Licenses, Certifications, or Registrations Does a Civil Engineering Technician Need? 

While there aren’t any certifications required to become a civil engineering technician, there are certifications available that can get to expand your knowledge of and prove your dedication to the field. The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) offers various certifications related to civil engineering. 

In this section, we’ll explore NICET’s certification offerings. If you’re looking to show your specialization in a certain field or bolster your resume as you look for civil engineering technician jobs, these certifications may be worth pursuing.  

Civil Engineering Technology Programs 

  • Construction Materials Testing – Asphalt/Concrete/Soils 
  • Transportation Construction Inspection – Highway Construction Inspection  

Electrical and Mechanical Systems Engineering Technology 

  • Building Systems – In-Building Public Safety  
  • Electrical Power – Electrical Power Testing 
  • Fire Protection – Fire Alarm Systems, Inspection and Testing of Fire Alarm Systems, Inspection and Testing of Water-Based Systems, Special Hazards Systems, Water-Based Systems Layout  
  • Security Systems – Video Security Systems Designer/Video Security Systems Technician 

Final Thoughts 

Civil engineering technicians play a critical role in civil engineering, supporting the work of civil engineers on a wide range of projects. These professionals are involved in everything from designing and planning projects to testing materials and conducting site visits.  

Without the work of civil engineering technicians, many construction projects would not be possible, as they ensure safety and accuracy throughout the project  

Civil engineering technicians have a broad knowledge of civil engineering and the profession and must be able to accurately read, understand, and interpret technical drawings, blueprints, and other documents related to construction projects. They must know how to follow plans and specifications to ensure that construction work is carried out safely and efficiently.   

With their critical role in the civil engineering industry, civil engineering technicians are essential for ensuring that infrastructure projects are completed successfully and safely. Head over to the Fenstermaker engineering service page for more information about civil engineering technicians, how to become one, and what projects they might work on. 

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