How to Become a Civil Engineer

Civil Engineer

A civil engineer implements the establishment of structures and systems. They work with a variety of different professionals in the construction industry to ensure that their construction is built to design in a safe, efficient, and resourceful way.

A civil engineer works with architects and other employees in the construction industry to execute the assembly of various structures, transport systems, and waste systems.

A civil engineer can work on anything from buildings to bridges to water supplies, and they can focus on the consulting side (which revolves more around design) or the contracting side (which is more focused on the actual building). Many people specialise in one area of civil engineering, but most civil engineers work on a range of projects throughout their career.

Due to this, a civil engineer’s typical duties can be varied. However, they often include: 

  • Reviewing designs made by architects.
  • Carrying out site investigations to ensure that they are suitable and safe for work.
  • Supervising on-site work.
  • Finding solutions to problems, both before the construction begins and during the time that it is taking place. 
  • Acquiring necessary permits for building. 
  • Office tasks, such as writing reports and managing juniors.

There are a few different steps to becoming a civil engineer. The typical route is academic, with candidates taking secondary qualifications in Mathematics and Physics, studying civil engineering at tertiary level, and then typically undertaking a graduate programme. Many degrees will also include a year in industry. 

However, for those wondering how to become a civil engineer without a degree, it is possible to get into this field vocationally. One would do so by taking a BTEC and completing apprenticeships. It would also be beneficial to do some extra courses and have a strong portfolio of work experience. Most countries have their own civil engineering accreditations that must be achieved before reaching more prestigious and higher paid positions.

 A civil engineer must have strong leadership and communication skills, as they will be expected to collaborate with many different professionals. They should also have exceptional numeracy and IT skills, which will be developed through their civil engineering education.

The wages for civil engineering vary greatly depending on the type of project, employer, location and experience. However, most senior civil engineers enjoy a generous wage, which increases as they get more and more experience.

What degree is most commonly held by a Civil Engineer?


  • BA / M of Civil Engineering
  • BA / M of Science, Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • BA / M of Engineering
  • BA / M of Structural Engineering
  • BA / M of Environmental Engineering
  • BA / M of Civil and Structural Engineering
  • BA / M of Construction Management
  • BA / M of Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • BA / M of Geotechnical Engineering
  • BA / M of Engineering Management
  • BA / M of Engineering Science
  • MBA

Career Transportability across Countries


Transportability: Medium
Many countries are seeing a sudden boom in the amount of development and new infrastructure, and this sudden increase often means that there are often not enough natives who are qualified to be civil engineers. This is likely to continue in different parts of the world for decades, so there are lots of opportunities for qualified and experienced civil engineers to work, in both permanent and temporary positions, around the world.

What is the Salary of a Civil Engineer?

ExperienceEducationAverage salary | year
AU$UK£US$
Civil Engineer1-2 years€96640£66417$120000
Civil Supervisor3-7 Years€130000£71952$104693
Engineering Manager (Project Management, Engineering)8+ Years€140000£77485$112757

What skills are needed to become a Civil Engineer?


  • AutoCAD
  • Civil Engineering
  • Construction
  • Drainage
  • Engineering
  • Project Management
  • Civil Engineering
  • Microsoft Office
  • Construction Management
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Road
  • Project Planning
  • Highways
  • Concrete
  • Structural Engineering
  • Contract Management
  • Stormwater Management
  • Microsoft Word
  • Water
  • Earthworks
  • Surveying
  • MicroStation
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Hydrology
  • Project Engineering

Civil Engineer Courses

There are plenty of excellent courses available for those who are wondering how to become a civil engineer, and it is recommended to take these to further expertise in the field. At FutureLearn, we have many civil engineering courses including Modern Building Design and Dynamics and Aerospace Structures.
  • Modern Building Design

    Learn how climate change technology and regulation are changing modern building design and professional practice in construction

  • Understanding and Applying Structural Dynamics: Dynamics & Aerospace Structures

    Understand the fundamentals of dynamics and learn how dynamics can be used in the design of aerospace structures

  • An Introduction to Building Information Modelling

    Explore the drivers and definitions of BIM and understand why BIM is an important development in the construction industry

  • Engineering the Future: Creating the Amazing

    Learn more about the fascinating world of engineering and discover where an engineering degree could take you

Need even more evidence about why you should learn on FutureLearn?

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