Bureau of Labor Statistics

Civil Engineering Technologists and Technicians

civil engineering technicians image
Civil engineering technicians help with residential development, and work under civil engineers.
Quick Facts: Civil Engineering Technologists and Technicians
2020 Median Pay $54,080 per year
$26.00 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Associate's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2019 70,900
Job Outlook, 2019-29 3% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2019-29 1,800

Summary

What Civil Engineering Technologists and Technicians Do

Civil engineering technologists and technicians help civil engineers plan, design, and build infrastructure and development projects.

Work Environment

Civil engineering technologists and technicians work in offices, helping civil engineers plan and design projects. They also visit construction jobsites to collect or test materials or to observe activities as a project inspector.

How to Become a Civil Engineering Technologist or Technician

An associate’s degree, preferably in civil engineering technology, is typically required to enter the occupation.

Pay

The median annual wage for civil engineering technicians was $54,080 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Employment of civil engineering technologists and technicians is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The need to preserve, repair, and upgrade aging infrastructure will sustain demand for these workers.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for civil engineering technologists and technicians.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of civil engineering technologists and technicians with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about civil engineering technologists and technicians by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Civil Engineering Technologists and Technicians Do

Civil engineering technicians
Civil engineering technicians confer with project supervisors to determine details of a project.

Civil engineering technologists and technicians help civil engineers plan, design, and build highways, bridges, utilities, and other infrastructure projects. They also help to plan, design, and build commercial, industrial, residential, and land development projects.

Duties

Civil engineering technologists and technicians typically do the following:

  • Read and review project drawings and plans to determine the sizes of structures
  • Confer with engineers to prepare plans
  • Develop plans and estimate costs for constructing systems and operating facilities
  • Use computer aided design (CAD) software to draft project drawings
  • Conduct field surveys to collect data on site conditions and inspect structures
  • Test appropriateness of construction materials and soil samples
  • Observe project sites to ensure that construction conforms to design specifications and applicable codes
  • Prepare reports and document project activities and data
  • Set up and help maintain project files and records

Civil engineering technicians typically install, troubleshoot, and maintain designs created by engineers. They may work under the direction of engineers or engineering technologists.

Civil engineering technologists typically help licensed engineers improve designs or incorporate new technology. They may be team leaders, instructing civil engineering technicians on installing equipment, systems, or structures.

These technologists and technicians observe progress on a jobsite, collect data, and complete reports to document project activities. Because they are not licensed, civil engineering technologists and technicians cannot approve designs or supervise the overall project.

In addition, civil engineering technologists and technicians sometimes estimate construction costs, develop specifications, and prepare drawings. They also may set up and monitor various instruments for traffic studies. Their duties often require use of software to design projects, collect and analyze data, prepare reports, and manage files.

Work Environment

Civil engineering technicians
Civil engineering technicians work on-site to help civil engineers in implementing project plans correctly.

Civil engineering technicians held about 70,900 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of civil engineering technicians were as follows:

Engineering services 44%
State government, excluding education and hospitals 26
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 17
Construction 3

Civil engineering technologists and technicians work in offices, helping civil engineers plan and design projects. They also visit construction jobsites to collect or test materials or to observe activities as a project inspector. They may work at several sites, using cars or trucks as a mobile office.

Civil engineering technologists and technicians frequently work on teams with civil engineers, surveyors and surveying technicians, construction workers, and others involved with projects.

Work Schedules

Civil engineering technologists and technicians usually work full time. When working at construction sites, their schedules may be subject to factors that affect construction, such as weather. Their schedules also may be tied to those of the construction projects they are involved with.

How to Become a Civil Engineering Technologist or Technician

Civil engineering technicians
Civil engineering technicians prepare reports and document project activities and data.

An associate’s degree, preferably in civil engineering technology, is typically required to enter the occupation.

Education

Prospective civil engineering technologists and technicians should take courses in science and math, such as chemistry, physics, geometry, and trigonometry.

Employers may prefer to hire engineering technologists and technicians who have an associate’s degree from a program accredited by ABET, although a degree is not always required. Engineering technology programs also are available at technical or vocational schools that award a postgraduate certificate or diploma.

Degree and nondegree programs may include coursework in subjects such as engineering, design, and sciences.

Some employers require a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology for civil engineering technologists.

Other Experience

Some civil engineering technologists and technicians enter the occupation after gaining work experience in a related occupation, particularly as drafters or CAD operators. Drafters or CAD operators working for an engineering firm may advance to civil engineering technologist or technician positions as their knowledge of design and construction increases.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification is not required to enter this occupation, but it may help technologists and technicians develop in their careers. For example, the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) oversees certification for civil engineering technicians who pass an exam and provide supporting documentation. NICET requires technicians to update their skills and knowledge through a recertification process that encourages continuing professional development.

Advancement

Civil engineering technologists and technicians may advance in their careers by learning to design systems for a variety of projects, such as storm sewers, and to become skilled at reading graphical drawings of proposed projects.

Technicians who obtain appropriate education or certification may advance to become technologists.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills. Civil engineering technologists and technicians carry out project plans and designs that engineers have approved. They must be able to understand and interpret the reports and documents describing these projects.

Decision-making skills. Civil engineering technologists and technicians must be able to discern which information is most important and which actions will help keep a project on schedule.

Math skills. Civil engineering technologists and technicians use math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting.

Observational skills. Civil engineering technologists and technicians sometimes visit jobsites to assess a project and report back to the engineer.

Problem-solving skills. As assistants to civil engineers, these technologists and technicians must be able to help engineers identify problems and design projects to solve them.

Writing skills. Civil engineering technologists and technicians must be able to prepare reports that are well organized and clearly convey information.

Pay

Civil Engineering Technologists and Technicians

Median annual wages, May 2020

Drafters, engineering technicians, and mapping technicians

$58,900

Civil engineering technologists and technicians

$54,080

Total, all occupations

$41,950

 

The median annual wage for civil engineering technologists and technicians was $54,080 in May 2020. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $34,230, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $82,960.

In May 2020, the median annual wages for civil engineering technicians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Local government, excluding education and hospitals $61,850
Construction 56,010
Engineering services 55,300
State government, excluding education and hospitals 45,960

Civil engineering technologists and technicians usually work full time. When working at construction sites, their schedules may be subject to factors that affect construction, such as weather. Their schedules also may be tied to those of the construction projects they are involved with.

Job Outlook

Civil Engineering Technologists and Technicians

Percent change in employment, projected 2019-29

Total, all occupations

4%

Civil engineering technologists and technicians

3%

Drafters, engineering technicians, and mapping technicians

1%

 

Employment of civil engineering technologists and technicians is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

The need to preserve, repair, and upgrade the country’s infrastructure continues to increase. Bridges, roads, levees, airports, and dams will need to be rebuilt, maintained, and enhanced. Also, a growing population means that water systems must be maintained in order to reduce or eliminate loss of drinkable water. In addition, more waste treatment plants will be needed to help clean the nation’s waterways. Civil engineers must plan, design, and oversee this work, and civil engineering technologists and technicians will be needed to assist the engineers in these projects.

Civil engineering technologists and technicians also will find work assisting civil engineers with renewable-energy projects. For example, these technologists and technicians may assist in the development of a wind farm by helping engineers devise solutions to minimize project costs while accommodating the sizeable dimensions and weight of wind turbines.

Job Prospects

About 6,100 openings for civil engineering technologists and technicians are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment projections data for civil engineering technologists and technicians, 2019-29

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Occupational Title

Civil engineering technologists and technicians

SOC Code17-3022
Employment, 201970,900
Projected Employment, 202972,700
Percent Change, 2019-293
Numeric Change, 2019-291,800
Employment by IndustryGet data

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of civil engineering technologists and technicians.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2020 MEDIAN PAY
Civil engineers Civil Engineers

Civil engineers design, build, and supervise infrastructure projects and systems. 

Bachelor's degree $88,570
Drafters Drafters

Drafters use software to convert the designs of engineers and architects into technical drawings.

Associate's degree $57,960
Surveying and mapping technicians Surveying and Mapping Technicians

Surveying and mapping technicians collect data and make maps of the Earth's surface.

High school diploma or equivalent $46,200
Surveyors Surveyors

Surveyors make precise measurements to determine property boundaries.

Bachelor's degree $65,590

Contacts for More Info

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Civil Engineering Technologists and Technicians,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/civil-engineering-technicians.htm (visited July 22, 2021).

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/ooh Contact OOH

View this page on regular www.bls.gov

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