Skip to content

Career Facts - Civil Technologies Program

What does a civil engineering technician do?

Civil engineering technicians assist civil engineers with the planning and building of highways, buildings, bridges, dams, wastewater treatment systems and other structures. Technicians may also perform related surveys and studies in addition to inspecting water and wastewater treatment systems to ensure that pollution control requirements are met. Others estimate construction costs and specify materials to be used. They work at various places, including construction or survey sites, offices and testing labs.

Civil engineering technicians engage in varied activities. State highway departments utilize their services to collect data, design and draw plans, as well as to supervise the construction and maintenance of roadways. Railroad and airport facilities require similar services. Cities and counties need to have transportation systems, drainage systems, and water and sewage facilities planned, built, and maintained with the assistance of civil engineering technicians.

Some technicians specialize in certain types of construction projects. Highway technicians, for example, perform survey and cost estimates as well as plan and supervise highway construction and maintenance. Rail and waterway technicians survey, conduct specifications, cost estimates, help plan, and construct railway and waterway facilities. Assistant city engineers coordinate the planning and construction of city streets, sewers, drainage systems, refuse facilities, and other major civil projects.

Other technicians specialize in certain phases of the construction process. For example, materials technicians sample and run test on rock, soil, cement, asphalt, wood, steel, concrete, and other materials. Photogrammetric technicians use aerial photographs to prepare maps, plans, and profiles. Party chiefs work for licensed land surveyors, survey land for boundary-line locations, and plan subdivisions and other large-area land developments.

What types of skills are required?

The successful civil engineering technician must have a working knowledge or an interest in learning college algebra, trigonometry, civil drafting, composition, speech (communications), surveying, and must be computer literate. A student contemplating a career in civil engineering Technologies needs a desire to be a builder or planner, an understanding of mathematics and sciences, the ability to get along with others, an aptitude for learning, and the ability to think and plan ahead.

A two year, Associate's degree, or four year, Civil Engineering degree is desirable for successful employment placement for the prospective up and coming Civil technician. Prospective technicians should take all the mathematics (at least two years of algebra, plane and solid geometry and trigonometry), sciences (physics, chemistry, biology and any other general science courses) and communications subjects available to them in high school. Other useful courses include mechanical drawing and any available shop courses. Civil engineering technicians often make use of mechanical drawings to convey their ideas to others, and neat, well-executed drawings are important to convey a sense of accuracy and competence.

Where are they employed?

Civil engineering technicians work for construction, engineering, and architectural firms. They are also employed by state, city, and federal government agencies, wastewater treatment system plants, mapping agencies, and various private petroleum and mining companies. They work with other employees at all levels including engineers, surveyors, supervisors, managers, and skilled trade workers who generally are supervised by experienced civil engineers. Technicians may instruct or supervise other workers.

Working conditions for civil engineering technicians vary. They may work outdoors at construction or survey sites, at indoors in well lighted and ventilated offices, and/or in testing labs. Working outdoors may expose technicians to extreme types of weather and to such hazards as snakes, poison ivy, heat exhaustion, sunburn, and frostbite.

What do they earn?

Earning of civil engineering technicians depend on their level of education, work experience, and technical specialty. The average annual wage in 2008 was $44,290 and ranged between $45,150 and $69,470 depending upon the size, type, and geographical location on the company. Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What degrees are available?

Lansing Community College offers a Civil Technologies Associate in Applied Science degree. For transferability of civil Technologies courses, please review the transfer equivalency list.

Related occupations:

Civil Technologies Civil Engineering Geographic Resource & Environmental Technologies program, Environmental Resource Management Technologies

Career Pathway:

Civil Technologies is part of the Engineering/Manufacturing and Industrial Career Pathway of the Michigan Career Preparation System.

For specific up-to-date information on wages and the employment outlook within the civil Technologies field, please refer to the Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-11 Edition, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Civil Technologies at Lansing Community College

Design and Construction Technologies
West Campus, Room M103
Phone: (517) 483-5338
Additional contact information »