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What Does a Civil Engineering Technician Do?

Technicians are sometimes tasked with ensuring everyone on the jobsite is working according to the civil engineer's plan.
Civil engineering technician jobs may be found in help-wanted ads.
Civil engineering technicians collect and analyze data on projects.
Civil engineering technicians assist civil engineers design and plan projects like new roads and bridges.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2014
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A civil engineering technician works as an assistant to a civil engineer. A person with this title typically assists civil engineers with planning and designing a range of structures, buildings, and systems. In some cases, civil engineering technicians also provide assistance with community planning projects, and they may even help plan the demolishing of buildings.

The exact list of responsibilities a civil engineering technician has may depend on the particular needs of his employer, but an individual with this title typically assists civil engineers with design and planning projects for roads and bridges; tunnels; and harbors. A person in this field may also help civil engineers plan and design sewage systems. Often, a person in this field has the job of researching projects and assisting with the set up of equipment used to gauge development needs. A civil engineering technician may also help determine the materials that are needed for a project and estimate the amount of money needed for its completion. This job may also require the technician to use a computer to create scale drawings of the structures the engineers plan.

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When it’s time to go to a work site, civil engineering technicians usually accompany engineers and help them with surveying the area. A person with this job may also be responsible for assisting with the scheduling of work that has to be performed by various people involved in a project. He may also have the job of checking to make sure the work is performed to the specifications of the engineers. Likewise, he may work to ensure that no work is left incomplete before the various people involved move on the next stage of a construction project.

In many cases, a civil engineering technician does his work in two different locations. For example, he may assist engineers not only on a work site, but also in an office. Typically, these technicians work about eight hours a day, but may be asked to work overtime.

An aspiring civil engineering technician may find job openings with a municipal agency or large company. Often, employers prefer civil engineering technicians who have earned high school or general educational development (GED) diplomas as well as associate’s degrees in engineering. Some schools that offer such degrees also provide job placement services. If an aspiring engineering technician does not attend such a school, he may look for a job via online job boards, government job listings, or help-wanted ads.

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everetra
Post 3

@miriam98 - We have a couple of technical institutes in our community.

I know a little about technician courses of study, and you’re right; they’re not as heavy on the math and sciences as the full fledged college degrees.

They focus mainly on the math that is specifically relevant to your course of study. I’d be surprised if a civil engineering technician even needed calculus of any sort.

I think this would be an ideal profession for someone who was middle of the road technical; they weren’t too left brained or too right brained, but they enjoyed designing things and were comfortable with drawing tools.

I could even see someone who started out as a graphic designer later becoming a civil engineering technician, assuming that he or she had a technical bent.

miriam98
Post 2

@Charred - If you’re advising a college student, I don’t see any point in trying to steer them into a technician job of any sort.

The technician usually makes less money and has less responsibility. It’s like the difference between a pharmacy technician and a pharmacist. I happen to know a pharmacy technician who is making just a few dollars more than minimum wage; if she were a pharmacist, she’d be writing her own ticket.

If your friend is a bit averse to heavy sciences, I’d be willing to bet that the civil engineering coursework is not as heavy in that regard as electrical engineering or computer engineering.

I don’t know that she would avoid calculus, but perhaps she would not have to take calculus 2 or calculus 3 – I don’t know, that’s just my guess.

In general however, if you’re going to college, I think you should go for the highest level of specialization you can get.

Charred
Post 1

I recently advised a young person about what major she should consider pursuing in college. Given that she was good in math, I recommended that she pursue an engineering degree. However, she didn’t want to get too deep in the hard math like calculus and the heavy sciences like physics.

Perhaps, in hindsight, I should have recommended that she be an engineering technician instead. From what I’ve gathered in this article, it appears that the technician must simply have a general grasp of engineering principles and be familiar with computer aided drawing software for engineering applications.

He or she doesn’t necessarily need the depth of study in math or science that I suppose an engineer would.

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