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Online Civil Engineering Technician Schools and Colleges: How to Choose

Learn about important considerations when selecting an online civil engineering technician school. Keep reading to get an overview of the program options, career potential, and common courses offered for the field of study.

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There are very few schools that offer online programs that can qualify you to become a civil engineering technician. We should examine some of these schools that feature appropriate degree programs that are presented fully online, as well as those presented partially online and partially in person.

How to Select an Online Civil Engineering Technician School

Students considering online civil engineering technician schools must make their decision based on several key factors. Due to the hands-on nature of the job, online programs for civil engineering technicians are very rare, though students can find hybrid programs that offer some required courses online. Typically, an associate degree is the most common type of degree for entry into the profession. Students must then weigh salary information.

Program Availability and Format

Most lessons in this hands-on discipline are presented through traditional classroom instruction, teaching students practical skills in surveying and drafting. Hybrid programs, which offer some online coursework but require hands-on lab work and practice, are more common than fully online programs.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

Civil engineer technicians often enter the field after earning an associate degree, though formal education may not always be necessary. PayScale.com reported in September 2015 that entry-level civil engineering technicians earned between $33,250 - $68,359 during the first year. Technicians with more than five years of experience increased their salary by as much as 35%. Those with an associate degree showed salaries equivalent to an experienced technician.

Online Program Options for Civil Engineering

Associate of Science for Civil Engineering Technicians

A few colleges and universities offer the option of earning an associate degree in civil engineering technology that is fully transferable to a program in civil engineering. Courses in the first two years of the program teach the theory and practical skills necessary to lay the groundwork for construction projects. Graduates are awarded an associate degree and may find entry-level jobs or continue to a bachelor's degree completion program. Some programs allow students to specialize in areas such as construction management or topical surveying.

Drafting and computer-aided design are often integral to a civil engineer technician program, requiring students to use on-campus computer labs and CAD software. Some schools offer general education and introductory courses online. Other course topics in the program include:

  • Electrical and mechanical engineering
  • Highway and road construction
  • Surveying and measurement
  • Building techniques
  • Statics of materials

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Civil Engineering Technology
  • Construction Engineering Technologies, General
  • General Construction Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Structural Engineering
  • Transportation Engineering
  • Water Resources Engineering

Schools with Online Programs for Civil Engineering Technicians

At Penn Foster College, you can earn an associate's degree in construction technology. The program is a hybrid in that though most of your instruction is delivered online, you're required to complete a 3-credit resident lab course during your fourth semester. You'd complete this requirement over a 2-week period at either the Penn State University Harrisburg Campus or possibly a comparable education facility near your home. However, if you have prior work experience in the field, you may be exempt from the lab requirement. This decision is made at the discretion of Penn Foster College.

Old Dominion University (ODU) offers a program online that leads to a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology - Civil Engineering Technology. This is a degree-completion program, which means that you're required to hold the equivalent of an associate's degree in order to qualify for admission. In order to complete the 120-credit hour requirement for the degree, you must complete at least 30 credit hours at ODU. Typical courses include fundamentals of building construction, structural analysis and sustainable building practices.

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) offers a fully online program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering Technology. According to the school's website, the USM program is the only fully-accredited, online Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering Technology in the nation. This is a 124-credit hour program. You may be able to apply a certain number of credits earned at selected community or junior colleges toward your USM degree. Lab requirements may be fulfilled by construction site visits on your own or through the use of Virtual Reality or simulation applications.

You'll find that your options for earning an online degree in civil engineering technology are quite slim, since degrees in construction engineering technology are more common. There are some hybrid programs that offer a number of required courses online, but you'll have to complete some in-person or lab courses in a traditional brick-and-mortar or facility or construction site.

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