Civil Engineering Technician  What They Do

Just the Facts

Civil Engineering Technicians Career Video

Insider Info

dotCivil engineering technicians generally have a couple years of college training in applied technology. They help with gathering data, preparing maps and plans and doing inspections. They also help with design, using computer-aided drafting (CAD) programs.

dotThe engineering team, headed by the civil engineer -- who is involved in theory, design and planning -- also includes civil engineering technologists. Technologists tend to have one to two years more education than a technician. They may do similar work as a technician, but they also may work more closely with the engineer in the design phase of projects.

"They [technologists] have that much more added responsibility on the job," says Tim Collins. He is the dean of a school of technology in Houghton, Michigan.

dotIn general, civil engineering technicians are a link between civil engineers and craftsmen, says the Michigan Technical College website. They work as inspectors and estimators, do land surveys, prepare drawings and plans and test building materials.

For example, civil engineering technicians may be at a site collecting soil samples, or they may be doing actual land surveys with surveying equipment.

dotIn the office, technicians use CAD programs to draw infrastructure designs, such as roadways and sewer lines.

"We can be at the office drawing up plans for a sanitary sewer system or be at the site supervising the construction of a roadway," says Max LeSueur. He is a civil engineering technician.

dotCivil engineering technicians can work in a variety of settings, according to the Seneca College website. These include highway departments, municipal governments and public utilities. They can also work for building product manufacturers, general contractors and consulting engineers.

Civil engineering technicians tend to work regular weekday hours, alongside civil engineers.

dotBeing a technician is generally hands-on work. It may require some physical strength. However, because the range of employers and work opportunities is so varied, it's possible for people to find a niche that requires more or less physical activity. "It depends on the nature of the work, but it is a broad field," says Collins.

Just the Facts

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At a Glance

Work alongside civil engineers

  • Technicians also help with design
  • They may work for building product manufacturers, general contractors and consulting engineers
  • Take a two-year college-level course