Design & planning

Civil engineer

Civil engineers design and manage construction projects, from bridges and buildings to transport links and sports stadiums.

Annual Salary

£24,000 to £80,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 40

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Civil engineer jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You could work in these areas of engineering:

  • 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)
  • geotechnical (mining, earthworks and construction foundations)

You'll 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, and reporting to clients and government agencies
  • managing and checking progress at each stage
  • making sure sites follow health and safety rules

University

You can do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in civil engineering.

Many universities specialise in particular areas of civil engineering, like:

  • structural engineering
  • environmental engineering
  • 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 can apply for a postgraduate master's award in civil engineering if you've got a related degree like maths, science or geology.

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C)
  • 3 A levels including maths and a science subject
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

College

You can take a higher national certificate (HNC) or diploma (HND) at college, which may help you to find work as a trainee engineer. You'll do further training on the job to qualify.

Subjects include:

  • Level 4 HNC in Civil Engineering
  • Level 5 HND in Construction and the Built Environment

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, a level 3 diploma or relevant experience for a level 4 or level 5 course

Apprenticeship

You could complete a civil engineer degree apprenticeship.

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent qualifications, for a higher or a degree apprenticeship

£24,000 to £80,000

Starter salary: £24,000 (graduates)

Experienced salary: £25,000 to £40,000

These figures are a guide.

35 to 40

You'll usually work 35 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. You may work evenings and weekends.

You'll spend time in an office and on project sites.

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. You could work overseas with British consulting firms, and for oil and mining companies.

You could also work for international development and disaster relief agencies.

You can find out more about becoming a civil engineer from the Institution of Civil Engineers and Tomorrow's Engineers.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • excellent maths, science, and IT skills
  • the ability to explain design ideas clearly
  • the ability to analyse large amounts of data
  • project management skills
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