Civil engineering technicians assist civil engineers. Although it is possible to get a job with a certificate or diploma in civil engineering technology, most employers want to hire someone with an associate degree from a program accredited by ABET, which was formerly known as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
These blended format associate degree programs are usually offered by community colleges or technical schools. They require about two years to complete and are offered through a combination of on-campus and online classes. Students typically need a strong math and science background to enroll. Students seeking a fully online program can considered related programs, such as those in engineering technology or construction technology.
Associate Degree in Civil Engineering Technology
While civil engineering focuses on designing and planning bridges, highways, buildings and other types of public structures, civil engineering technology focuses on the implementation of these structures.
Students can expect a heavy concentration of mathematics and science classes in the associate degree curriculum.
Students learn to analyze structures, applying design and materials knowledge. Structural reaction to natural catastrophes, like earthquakes and flooding, as well as typical weather changes like snow, wind and sudden temperature shifts is studied.
This introductory course exposes students to the fundamentals of environmental engineering. Topics include kinematics, microbiology, free-body diagrams, reactor theory, kinematics, sustainability, force-mass acceleration method, impulse momentum and chemistry.
Providing a general introduction to structural design, the class emphasizes entire structural systems above the many individual parts. Specialized topics may include design processes, behavior, models, types of materials, long span structures and structural bracing.
Civil engineering technicians work with civil engineers; job duties can include land surveying, equipment testing and cost estimation.
While certification is not required to work in this profession, a technician certification from the National Institute for Certification in Engineering may be beneficial. This certification requires passing an exam and having verifiable experience in the field.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipated a 5% increase in jobs for civil engineering technicians between 2014 and 2024. The median annual wage in 2015 for civil engineering technicians across all industries was $49,260; for those specifically in the engineering services industry, the median annual wage was $48,490.
Students may choose to continue their education by transferring into a 4-year Bachelor of Civil Engineering Technology course of study. Distance learning degrees do exist at this level, but programs are much more commonly offered on campus.
Online associate degree programs in civil engineering prepare students to work as civil engineering technicians through courses that cover topics such as structural engineering, structural analysis and engineering mechanics. Further education is available at the bachelor's degree level, and certification is also available through National Institute for Certification in Engineering.