- Requires excellent maths, science, and IT skills, and the ability to explain design ideas clearly
- With incorporated or chartered engineer status, option to move into senior project management roles
- Option to specialise in a particular engineering field, work in research, or become a consultant
Civil engineers work on the planning, design and management of construction projects. They may specialise in structural (dams, buildings, offshore platforms and pipelines), transportation (roads, railways, canals and airports), environmental (water supply networks, drainage and flood barriers), maritime (ports, harbours and sea defences), and geotechnical (mining, earthworks and construction foundations).
Depending on your specialism, you could be:
- Planning with the client
- Analysing surveys
- Testing and mapping data using computer modelling software
- Creating blueprints using computer aided design (CAD)
- Judging if projects are worth doing by looking at costs, time and labour
- Checking risks and the effects on the environment
- Preparing bids for tenders
- Reporting to clients and government agencies
- Managing and checking progress at each stage
- Making sure sites follow health and safety rules
You will mostly be working office hours, but may be required to work some evenings and weekends. You'll spend time in an office and on project sites, where you may need to wear suitable protective clothing.
This role is ideal for someone with excellent maths, science, and IT skills, and the ability to explain design ideas clearly.
You'll usually need an engineering degree (BEng) or a Master's degree (MEng) in civil engineering. Many universities specialise in particular areas of civil engineering, like structural engineering, environmental engineering and coastal engineering. Some courses include a work placement, which can be useful for making industry contacts to help find work after you finish your studies. You'll usually need 3 A levels including maths and a science subject to apply for a degree.
You can apply for a postgraduate master's award in civil engineering if you've got a related degree like maths, science or geology.
You can also take a higher national certificate (HNC) or diploma (HND) at college such as a Level 4 HNC in Civil Engineering and a Level 5 HND in Construction and the Built Environment, which may help you to find work as a trainee engineer. You'll do further training on the job to qualify.
You could also complete a civil engineer degree apprenticeship to get into this role.
Alternatively you could start as a civil engineering technician and study part time for a degree while you work.
It would be helpful to join the Institution of Civil Engineers for professional development opportunities.
With incorporated or chartered engineer status, you could move into senior project management roles. You could also specialise in a particular engineering field, work in research or become a consultant. The highest salaries are usually paid to people in directorial roles and who hold Fellowship of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
Some people also choose to work with British consulting firms based overseas, or for oil and mining companies. You could also work for international development and disaster relief agencies.