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Job Photographs

  • Three men, wearing high visibility jackets and hard hats, are standing on a building site.  They are talking whilst looking at a sheet of paper.

    Civil engineers spend some time on site. They need to be able to work well with construction workers.

  • A man sitting at a desk, wearing a white shirt, is using a computer.

    IT skills are essential in this career.

  • A man wearing a blue shirt with a pink tie is talking on a cordless phone.

    Negotiating with a client.

  • A person's hands are holding a document.

    Checking the plans for a new building.

  • A man wearing a blue shirt with pink tie is sitting at a desk.  He is looking through some documents.

    Civil engineers have to be well organised to cope with the varied workload.

  • A man and a woman are in an office.  The man is standing up and the woman is seated.

    Looking over a project with a structural engineer.

  • A man wearing a white shirt and black trousers is looking through a filing cabinet.

    Looking for some planning documents.

  • Two men are standing looking at some plans.  One man is wearing a blue shirt with pink tie.  The other man is wearing a white shirt.

    You need to be a good team worker in a career like this.

  • Civil Engineer

Civil Engineer


Civil engineers plan, design and manage building projects such as roads, railways, airports, sports stadia, power stations and much more.

Also known as

  • Construction Engineer
  • Engineer, Civil
  • Transportation Engineer

Video: - Steve: Project Director

Video: - Barbara: Civil Engineer

Work Activities

As a Civil Engineer, you will plan, design and manage large building projects. These include roads, water and waste management systems, railways, airports and power stations.

You'll work in an office and on-site. Office duties include:

  • producing designs for projects
  • making detailed drawings for use on-site
  • calculating and checking specifications for projects
  • planning work
  • keeping records of progress
  • plant stock
  • finance

Usually you will use computer-aided design (CAD) or building information modelling (BIM) packages for this work.

When a construction project is under way, as a Civil Engineer on-site, you will be responsible for making sure that the work is being carried out according to the designs, plans and estimated timescale.

Many safety regulations apply to the construction industry. For example, a hard hat must be worn on construction sites.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Civil Engineer, you'll need:

  • to be able to analyse and solve problems
  • the confidence to supervise others
  • to be a good teamworker
  • strong organisational skills to cope with the many different stages of a construction project
  • an interest in buildings and how they are built
  • maths skills
  • an interest in physics
  • good IT skills and some experience of using CAD software

Pay and Opportunities


The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £30,500 - £34,000
  • With experience: £37,000 - £45,000
  • Senior Civil Engineers earn £48,000 - £53,000

Hours of work

Most Civil Engineers work around 35-40 hours, Monday to Friday. However, you may have early starts and late finishes, and you may need to work some weekends, especially as deadlines approach.

Where could I work?

Employers are firms of engineering consultants, building and civil engineering contractors, local authorities, and gas, water and electricity companies. Other employers include the Civil Service, manufacturing industry and the armed forces.

Opportunities for Civil Engineers occur with employers in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Opportunities occur for Civil Engineers to work on projects in other countries, in Europe and the rest of the world.

This career could involve working for an agency.


Opportunities occur for Civil Engineers to work independently, as consultants.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, on recruitment and employers' websites, and on Find a Job (

Social media websites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, are a great way to network, find vacancies and get in contact with possible employers. Make sure that your profile presents you in a professional manner that will appeal to potential employers.

Take a look at our General Information Article 'Finding Work Online'.

GreenJobs is a job board aimed at people interested in green careers:

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

You need an accredited Master of Engineering (MEng) degree or Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) honours degree in civil engineering, or a related subject, to become a Chartered Engineer. These can be studied as sandwich courses, which include work experience.

You can do a foundation degree, HNC or HND in civil engineering before moving on to a full degree course. The qualifications above may allow you entry to this career, but you will need to take further approved training to become fully qualified.

A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article 'Internships', for more details.

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) can provide lists of accredited courses.

A Higher, Advanced Level or Degree Apprenticeship is also a great place to start. You may be able to study for a NVQ as part of your apprenticeship.

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

You will need a CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card to work on site. These cards show that you are qualified to do the work you've been employed for.

CSCS cards will cost £36 and you will have to pass the appropriate Construction Industry Training Board health, safety and environmental test. This costs £21. You will then complete an application form and pay the total price of £57.

The CSCS application form has four sections that you will have to complete:

  • section A: This section is where you complete your personal details and attach a passport photo or your Health, Safety & Environment Test photo
  • section B: This is where you fill in your occupation details and state which card you need. The different cards are skilled, craft and operative cards.
  • section C: This a declaration section where your current employer, previous employer or a CSCS card holder will declare that you meet the requirements of the card
  • section D: This is the details of your card requirements and what evidence you need to get a CSCS card


After getting a degree or foundation degree/HNC/HND, you must have a period of approved training and experience with an employer and pass a professional review to become fully qualified.

Work Experience

Previous experience within an engineering position (such as an electrical, chemical and mechanical) would be useful for this career.


Experienced Civil Engineers can progress to Chief Civil Engineer positions. Some Civil Engineers become self-employed.


To get onto an Advanced or Higher Level Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least five GCSEs at A*-C or 9-4, including English and maths, and possibly two A Levels.

To get onto a Degree Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least 2 A levels.

To enter a degree course in civil engineering, you will usually need:

  • 2/3 A levels, including maths and/or physics
  • GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in your A level subjects
  • a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English, maths and a science subject

Other qualifications are often acceptable as alternatives to A levels, for example:

  • BTEC level 3 qualification in civil engineering
  • the International Baccalaureate Diploma

Some universities offer foundation courses for applicants without the appropriate maths and science qualifications.

To enter a relevant HNC, HND or foundation degree, you will usually need:

  • 1 A level; preferred subjects include maths, physics and engineering science
  • a GCSE at grade C/4 or above in your A level subject
  • a further 3/4 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English, maths and a science subject

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.


People without relevant qualifications or skills gained in the construction industry or as an engineering technician, will find it difficult to gain employment.

Applicants at engineering technician level have a good chance of advancement.


If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course (eg, Access to Engineering) could be the way in.

These courses are designed for people who have not followed the usual routes into higher education. No formal qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.

People without the usual academic qualifications can achieve membership of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) via the Technical Report Route (TRR). See the ICE website for guidance on entry requirements.

Numerous institutions offer relevant postgraduate courses via distance learning.


ICE Quest Scholarships are available to candidates with a conditional offer for an ICE accredited course in civil engineering.

Sponsorship for study at higher education level is available through the larger building/construction companies.

Further Information


Local government vacancies


myjobscotland: Scottish local government vacancies

Scottish enquiries




Skills for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies

Address: 14 Upton Road, Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 0JT

Tel: 0845 6439001



The Engineer

Engineering technology news



Tomorrow's Engineers

Publisher: EngineeringUK and Royal Academy of Engineering







Skills for the construction industry

Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH



Northern Ireland Enquiries

Address: Nutts Corner Training Centre, 17 Dundrod Road, Crumlin, County Antrim BT29 4SR

Tel: 028 9082 5466



Construction Employers Federation (CEF)

Irish enquiries

Address: 143 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 6SU

Tel: 028 9087 7143



Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH

Tel: 0844 5768777



Publisher: CITB-ConstructionSkills

Tel: 0344 994 4010



Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE)

Address: Lutyens House, Billing Brook Road, Weston Favell, Northampton NN3 8NW

Tel: 01604 404121



Inside Careers

Specialists in graduate careers

Address: Unit 6, The Quad, 49 Atalanta Street, Fulham, London SW6 6TU

Tel: 020 7565 7900


Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)

Address: Blue Court, Church Lane, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire WD4 8JP

Tel: 01923 260000



Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)

Address: One Great George Street, Westminster, London SW1P 3AA

Tel: 020 7222 7722


Engineer Jobs

Publisher: Venture Marketing Group



Getting into Engineering Courses

Author: James Burnett Publisher: Trotman


Scottish Engineering

Scottish enquiries

Address: 105 West George Street, Glasgow G2 1QL

Tel: 0141 2213181



Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844


Croeso i Gyrfa Cymru

Dewiswch iaith


Welcome to Careers Wales

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