Civil engineers plan, design, develop and manage projects for constructing or repairing building structures and systems. This includes:
Watch the video below to see what a day in the life of a civil engineer is like.
Civil engineers work in a wide range of industries including construction, transportation, waterways and utilities. People in this job can work for both the private and public sectors, which includes engineering consulting companies, construction firms, and government organizations. Civil engineers can work as employees for a company or can be self-employed.
Civil engineers may specialize in foundation analysis, building and structural inspection, surveying, geomatics and municipal planning.
Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Source: 2021 Job Bank Wage Report
Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook
10 year expected job openings: 4,410
In general, civil engineers:
Work is usually performed in an office, but civil engineers also visit outdoor work or project sites. A civil engineer must be able to work in various weather conditions. A civil engineer’s office can be at their employer’s place of work, a client’s office, or a home office. Access to technology makes working from home easier because people in this job can complete most of their work remotely. They often attend project planning and review meetings either in person or by remote conference call.
A civil engineer usually works regular office hours (Monday to Friday), but large projects may require the civil engineer to work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines.
Source: 2016 Census
People in this career need a bachelor's degree in civil engineering or in a related engineering discipline. For some jobs, a master's degree or doctorate in a related engineering discipline is also required.
Licensing by a provincial or territorial association of professional engineers is required to approve engineering drawings and reports, and to practise as a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.). For a Professional Engineer to obtain a licence to work, the person must have graduated from an accredited program in engineering and pass a professional practice examination that covers the law and ethics of the engineering practice in Canada.
Some employers may require people in this job to have Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, which is offered by the Canada Green Building Council.
Civil engineers who are certified for that occupation by a regulator elsewhere in Canada can apply for the same certification from the regulator in B.C. Under the terms of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), most applicants who are transferring their credentials from elsewhere in Canada will not be required to complete additional training or testing. However, the B.C. regulator may ask applicants to provide further information such as a letter of good standing, references, or criminal record check.
For those who trained outside of Canada and never received certification from any Canadian jurisdiction, a full assessment is likely needed. Most occupational regulators have a process for assessment and recognize internationally trained applicants.
Contact the Engineers and Geoscientists B.C. for details on how to apply for certification in B.C.
For information about labour mobility in Canada, visit www.workersmobility.ca.
View a list of B.C. occupational regulators.
For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.
Every job calls for a certain set of skills. Knowing those skills is the first step in finding a good career fit.
Here, you will find the 35 most relevant workplace skills. Some are more important to achieving success in a certain career than others. These skills may come naturally to you or you may need to gain them through education, training and experience.
See the list of work-related skills below, ranked in order of importance for this career. You’ll also find the skill strength needed, letting you know how capable you must be in that skill.
Check out the list and see if this career matches your skills—take that first step!
Civil engineers work with people with a diverse range of skills and roles on a project. Good communication skills are needed for project meetings with supervisors, clients, other employees and partners. In addition, civil engineers can be asked to present project reports to clients, government officials or the public, and at conferences.
People with this job must understand the sustainable – or green – elements related to how a project will affect the environment. Project plans need to address sustainability, the impact of the project on the environment and how it will affect the community where it is being built.
People in this career often work with others who have diverse backgrounds and skills sets, experience and knowledge, which can help the civil engineer continue to grow in their career and learn on the job.
Additional education and experience from working on a range of projects provides the necessary opportunities to move into supervisory or senior positions. Some civil engineers reported their first jobs were working for companies on big projects, before gaining enough experience to open their own civil engineering consulting firms.