To become a qualified Civil Engineer, you will usually need a degree in Engineering or a four year Masters degree in Civil Engineering.
You will need two or three ‘A’ levels to get on a university course, and subjects should include maths or physics.
An alternative route could be to start as an Engineering Technician, and study part time at college or university to become a qualified Civil Engineer.
Employers often offer graduate training programmes for newly qualified Civil Engineers as a way of getting into the industry and gaining the right practical experience needed.
A Civil Engineer designs and plans construction projects from repairs to new houses, bridges and stadiums. Civil engineering covers a range of construction areas such as transport, marine, geotechnical and structure.
A Civil Engineer typically discusses design requirements with architects and other professionals, analyses surveys and draws up designs using CAD tools. The environment is then assessed and other factors assessed to make sure the project is viable. Time, cost and materials will also be considered, measured and reported on.
On the commercial side, a Civil Engineer helps prepare bids for clients and reports to clients and planning bodies. On live projects, the person in this position manages and monitors the project from beginning to end and makes sure that legal, health and safety guidelines are adhered to.
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The working hours are typically 35 to 40 hours Monday to Friday, although this may need to be flexible depending on what stage a project is at. The role is partly office based but also largely site based; potentially also overseas depending on the project.
Skills and Training Development
Being a Civil Engineer means being good at Maths, IT and Science and having excellent planning and organisational skills. The ability to communicate clearly and to multi task will be needed, and to be able to explain plans and legal jargon.
There are plenty of opportunities for progression in this career because of the level of skill and transferable attributes involved, along with a fairly high level of responsibility. There will be the opportunity to become a chartered engineer, and you could also work towards project management qualifications such as PRINCE2 to become a Team Leader or Project Manager.
Civil engineering covers a range of employers such as oil companies, government agencies as well as private firms. As you gain experience and hone your skills, the opportunity for promotion or to move across employers in the industry will grow.
As a newly qualified graduate, you can expect to earn between £19,500 and £23,000. This would rise to £24,000 a year with experience and up to £37,000 a year for Civil Engineers with more than a few years’ experience. Engineers with chartered status can expect to earn around £49,000 a year.