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Civil Engineering Technologies/Technicians

Program Description

Just the Facts

Civil Engineering Technologies/Technicians. A program that prepares individuals to apply basic engineering principles and technical skills in support of civil engineers engaged in designing and executing public works projects such as highways, dams, bridges, tunnels and other facilities. Includes instruction in site analysis, structural testing procedures, field and laboratory testing procedures, plan and specification preparation, test equipment operation and maintenance, and report preparation.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

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Related Programs

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Additional Information

Civil engineering technology programs train students to be "doers" rather than designers. Students learn how to help take the designs for roads, bridges and schools and bring them to life.

Technicians and technologists tend to be more hands-on than engineers. They may take part in estimating costs, specifying materials, preparing drawings or surveying land.

Civil engineering technology programs are offered at technical institutes, junior, community or career colleges and some colleges and universities. Programs are accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (TAC-ABET).

Two-year programs mostly offer graduates an associate's degree of applied science (AAS). Students are considered civil engineering technicians upon graduation.

Some colleges and universities also offer four-year programs in civil engineering technology (CET). These programs usually include opportunities for specialization, co-op programs and a greater concentration on liberal arts classes. Graduates of these programs are technologists. They usually rate a slightly higher salary than technicians.

Tim Collins is the dean of the school of technology at Michigan Technological University. He says a CET program will include a good mix of math, English and science classes. Classes might cover topics like soils and strengths, concrete and asphalt studies, construction planning and estimating, and hydraulics.

Be prepared for a heavy workload. "There are 30 hours a week of class and that includes a lot of labs," says Jacqueline Gaudet. She is an instructor in the civil and structural engineering technology department at a technical college.

Homework can also take two or three hours per night. "There are also frequent group projects or group assignments which involve meeting with other students," says Maureen Valentine, a professor of civil engineering technology at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Gaudet suggests high school students study math (particularly geometry, calculus and algebra), physics, communications and English. She adds that science fairs and having some idea of how to use a computer would also be helpful.

Besides tuition, you can expect to pay for textbooks. You may also need a computer and a good calculator.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Engineering Technicians

Engineering -- Your Future
From the American Society for Engineering Education

Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
Get a list of accredited engineering technology programs in the U.S.


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