Career Definition for a Traffic Technician
Traffic technicians play a significant role in the construction of roadways, from major highways to quiet residential streets. Traffic technicians are responsible for gathering and studying traffic data. They measure traffic flows, study traffic patterns and accident data, suggest placements of traffic signals and signs, and assist engineers and developers with traffic-control plans. Most traffic technicians work for federal or state highway agencies or independent consulting firms.
|Required Education||Associate's or bachelor's degree in engineering|
|Job Skills||Analytical skill, communication, mathematics, problem solving|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$45,670 (all traffic technicians)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||9% (all traffic technicians)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Many colleges and universities, as well as technical colleges and technical institutes, offer engineering degrees and programs that can lead to a career as a traffic technician. Courses in statistics, mathematics and city planning are commonly included. An associate's degree in civil engineering technology or a B.S. in Civil Engineering, Civil Engineering Technology, Traffic Engineering or Transport Engineering are examples of the types of degrees needed to become a traffic technician.
A traffic technician needs to have excellent math, problem-solving and communication skills. Analytical thinking and coordination skills are also important to a traffic technician. The ability to apply the analysis of statistical data to real-life situations, such as determining road patterns or placement of traffic control devices, is essential to success in the field.
Career and Economic Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) predicts that jobs for traffic technicians will increase 9% from 2016-2026. Most job opportunities will be found in highly-congested traffic areas experiencing the most population growth; the BLS indicated that more traffic technicians are employed in New York, Tennessee and Texas than other states. The BLS reported the median annual salary of a traffic technician in May 2017 as $45,670.
Alternate Career Options
If you are seeking to become a traffic technician, you may want to consider similar professions in surveying and civil engineering.
Survey technicians assist surveyors in field work; they may seek or establish existing or new survey markers for measuring and record survey data using specialized electronic distance-measuring tools. Survey technicians also assist in office work, such as recording collected survey data. They may work for state and local government highway or planning departments or for architectural and engineering companies that provide related services to others. A survey technician can get a job with a high school diploma, but postsecondary education programs in survey technology are also available. The BLS reports that jobs for survey technicians (counted along with the related career of mapping technician) are expected to increase 11% from 2016-2026. Workers in this field earned a median salary of $43,340 in 2017.
Civil Engineering Technician
A civil engineering technician works under the supervision of a licensed civil engineer and participates in the design and building of a project, from reviewing blueprints to preparing cost estimates, surveying sites and measuring traffic patterns. They may work on bridge, road and land development projects. Employers include state and local government, and architectural and engineering firms. Completion of an ABET-accredited associate's degree program is a common job requirement, although certificate and diploma programs in engineering technology are also available. Civil engineering technicians can look forward to 9% job growth from 2016-2026, according to the BLS. Civil engineering technicians earned a median salary of $51,620 in 2017, per the BLS.