How To Become A Civil Engineer

Civil Engineer

The Job

Civil engineers design and build the structures we use every day, from roads, railways and tunnels, to bridges, skyscrapers and transport links. Civil engineering is one of the oldest forms of engineering and is closely linked to further specialist areas such as water resources, surveying and transportation.
As a civil engineer, you will work alongside architects, surveyors and building contractors. Tasks include planning, surveying, creating blueprints and drawings, preparing feasibility studies, assessing environmental risk, project management and ensuring projects meet health and safety guidelines.
To be a civil engineer you should possess excellent maths, physics and computer skills and have the ability to analyse large amounts of detail and data. You should be a good communicator and have the ability to explain complicated plans and ideas to people with and without specialist knowledge. You should also have good management and teamwork skills and be confident about making decisions.

Annual Salary

Civil Engineer Salary

Minimum Education Level

Level: Level - 6

Recommended Qualifications

The most common route to becoming a civil engineer is to take a three-year Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) Degree or a four-year Masters (MEng) Degree in Civil Engineering. Other options include an HNC or a Foundation Degree. To get on a degree level course, you will need at least 5 GCSEs (A*-C) including maths and physics plus two or three A Levels including maths and a science subject (including physics). An alternative route is to take the Advanced Diploma in Engineering or the Advanced Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment, although you will also need an A Level in mathematics or a Level 3 mathematics for engineering qualification.

Once you have qualified you can begin working for a company, as a graduate trainee. With work experience and additional training you can apply for incorporated or chartered status with the Engineering Council, proving your competence as a civil engineer.

Average Working Hours Per Week = 35-40 hours a week


Common Working Pattern

Common Working Pattern

Time Taken To Qualify

3-4 years

What Next/Career Development

As a qualified civil engineer you could work with building contractors, local authorities, power companies, environmental agencies or specialist consulting firms. You could also find work with consulting or contracting firms, or work abroad on major engineering projects for a range of clients, including oil and mining companies, charities and foreign governments.
With incorporated or chartered status, you could move into senior project management roles, specialise in a particular field, move into research or work as a consultant.

Facts And Figures

The word engineer comes from the Latin word ‘ingeniator’ which means ingenious or clever.

The UK needs to double the number of recruits into engineering to meet predicted demand.*

94% of the engineering workforce in the UK is male.**

(*Source: EngineeringUK at launch of The State of Engineering, 2013, ** Royal Academy of Engineering analysis of the Labour Force Survey, 2004-10, quoted in Diversity Data, RAEng, 20)