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4/4/2011 OCCinfo - Civil Engineer

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Civil Engineer
Produced NOVEMBER 2009

Civil engineers plan, design and supervise the construction, maintenance and decommissioning of a wide
variety of public and private structures and facilities.
Construction Engineer, Design Engineer, Engineer, Professional Engineer, Site
Also Known As:
Designer, Transportation Engineer, Water Source Engineer
NOC Number(s): 2131
Minimum Education: 4 years post-secondary education/training
Employment Outlook: Job openings due to employment turnover. Occupational outlook currently unavailable.
Interests: IOD

Duties | Working Conditions | Personal Characteristics | Education | Related Legislation | Employment | Salary | Other Information |
Related Occupations | Related School Subjects | Related Field of Study

Duties
Civil engineers use traditional and high-tech tools (for example, Intelligent Transportation Systems, Smart
Systems, specialized materials) to solve problems and meet challenges such as pollution, traffic congestion,
urban development, community planning, drinking water and energy needs. They examine and evaluate each
project to find cost effective solutions to problems while still maintaining recognized standards. For example,
they may plan and build:

industrial buildings
roadways, railways and bridges
airports
offshore drilling structures
dams and reservoirs
water and wastewater collection, management, treatment and distribution systems.

Civil engineers may specialize in any of the following branches of civil engineering:

Construction engineers plan and manage the construction of public and private buildings and facilities. In
general, they:

determine project requirements in terms of equipment, materials and human resources


estimate costs and monitor expenditures
apply their knowledge of construction methods to the basic principles of planning, organizing, financing,
managing and operating a construction project
supervise technical support personnel, contractors and construction workers.

Geotechnical engineers provide the information on soil conditions required to design and construct
foundations, underground structures, tunnels, embankments and dams. In general, they:

analyze the properties of soil and rock that support foundations, pavements and underground facilities
evaluate the potential settlement of buildings, the influence of slopes and landfills, and the effects of
groundwater seepage, sliding, frost action, earth shifts and earthquakes
design the foundations of offshore drilling platforms and high-rise buildings
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4/4/2011 OCCinfo - Civil Engineer
evaluate and design systems to eliminate or mitigate ground contamination
design open pit mines and tailings dams.

Infrastructure Asset Management engineers develop strategies to protect the investment on municipal
infrastructure. In general they:

implement Life Cycle Asset Management for the infrastructure


prepare and implement sustainable infrastructure rehabilitation strategy, including development of
statistical forecast tools to determine rehabilitation need, costs, timelines, funding sources, and work
with financial services to set utility rates
develop condition assessment criteria for infrastructure
maintain and apply current knowledge on infrastructure rehabilitation approaches and technologies.

Land Development engineers co-ordinate with urban planners to implement engineering solutions for
transforming lands into functional communities. In general, they:

develop master plans to provide a framework for timely development of infrastructure to support
sustainable long term urban growth
conduct feasibility studies on proposed land development projects from the engineering perspectives
develop financial plans for development, including cost sharing and cost recovery assessments for
development levies
design utilities and roads for new or redeveloped subdivisions, and prepare submissions for obtaining
development permit and servicing agreement
manage the construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance of the new facilities.

Structural engineers usually work as part of a team that may include architects, mechanical and electrical
engineers, construction contractors and project developers. In general, they:

conduct condition assessments for existing structures and facilities


design load-bearing structures such as bridges, towers, offshore structures and buildings, keeping in
mind the stresses that these structures must withstand
carry out inspections at each stage of the building process to ensure adequate strength and rigidity,
and analyze the structure's ability to withstand the effects of wind, snow, vibration and other forces
check load and weight distribution requirements.

Transportation engineers plan and design systems for the safe and efficient movement of people and goods.
They must have an understanding of the economic and social factors involved as well as engineering
principles. Often working in conjunction with urban planners, transportation engineers:

conduct condition assessments for existing structures and facilities


plan and design transportation systems such as highways, streets, railroads, airfields and mass transit
systems
manage the operation and maintenance of all types of transportation infrastructure such as pavements
and signals.

Water resource engineers design systems that collect, store and distribute water. In general, they:

conduct condition assessments for existing structures and facilities


oversee the construction and maintenance of dams, reservoirs, hydroelectric power plants, canals and
locks
predict and analyze patterns of water flow (run off and flooding) and evaluate their potential effects
design systems for the delivery of drinking water and collection and treatment of municipal waste and
storm water
design holding areas and storm sewers to accommodate water overflow and flooding conditions
develop water systems designed to supply water to irrigation projects, prevent flooding, protect beaches
and manage rivers.

For information about another specialization in civil engineering, see the Environmental Engineer occupational
profile.
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Working Conditions
Working environments for civil engineers are as varied as their projects. They may spend most of a working
day at a computer workstation, on a project work site or in front of a public hearing. They usually work with a
team that may include professionals from other engineering and scientific disciplines, contractors, project
owners, architects, bankers, lawyers or government officials.

Civil engineers must constantly update their knowledge and skills to keep up with advancements in this rapidly
changing field. They may be required to work long hours and may experience a great deal of pressure to meet
deadlines and design standards.

Personal Characteristics
Civil engineers need the following characteristics:

good communication skills


the ability to analyze data, review calculations and prepare cost estimates
the ability to visualize three-dimensional objects from two-dimensional drawings
the ability to think logically and solve problems
a capacity for details.

They should enjoy being innovative, doing work that requires precision, making decisions and supervising
people, and having variety in their work.

Educational Requirements
The basic educational requirement for working as a civil engineer is a four year Bachelor's degree in civil
engineering.

In Alberta, the following universities offer Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degrees in civil engineering:

the University of Alberta in Edmonton


the University of Calgary.

The admission requirement for engineering programs at both universities is a competitive average in English
Language Arts 30-1, Pure Math 30, Math 31, Chemistry 30 and Physics 30.

A co-operative education or internship program, consisting of periods of academic study alternating with
periods of planned work experience in industry, is available through the Faculties of Engineering at both the
University of Alberta and the University of Calgary. These programs usually require about five years to
complete.

Post-secondary institutions throughout the province offer university transfer programs which allow students to
apply up to two years of study toward university bachelor's degree programs. It is the student's responsibility
to ensure that the courses they choose to take will be accepted for credit at the institution to which they wish
to transfer.

For current information about programs, admission requirements and mature student admission policies,
please check post-secondary calendars or websites.

Related Legislation section revised NOVEMBER 2010


Under Alberta's Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions Act, you must be a registered member
of the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA) to practice
as a Professional Engineer. You do not have to be registered if you work under the direct supervision of a
Professional Engineer and do not call yourself a Professional Engineer or use the word Engineer in your job
title.

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Employment and Advancement
Civil engineers work in construction and related industries. They are employed by:

municipal, provincial and federal government departments


engineering consulting firms
construction contractors
property developers
resource industries
public utilities
railroad companies
manufacturing firms.

With experience, civil engineers can become project managers and eventually advance to the management of
very large projects. Some experienced civil engineers establish their own construction or consulting
companies. Those who have doctoral (PhD) degrees may teach at a university or conduct research.

In Alberta, 83 per cent of people employed as civil engineers work in the following industries:

Professional, Scientific and Technical Services


Construction
Public Administration.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
location in Alberta
employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never
existed before)
size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next
ten years.

Salary section revised JANUARY 2010


According to the 2009 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Civil Engineers occupational
group earned from $16.93 to $140.00 an hour. The average wage was $42.60 an hour.

For more detailed information, see WAGEinfo.

Other Sources of Information


Post-secondary institution calendars and websites (see Educational Requirements above)

EDinfo website: www.alis.alberta.ca/edinfo

Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA) website:


www.apegga.org

Canadian Society for Civil Engineering website: www.csce.ca

Construction Sector Council website: www.csc-ca.org

Related Occupational Profiles


Architect
Civil Engineering Technologist
Community and Park Planner
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Construction Estimator
Electrical Contractor
Environmental Engineer
Geomatics Engineer
Geotechnical Engineer
Hydrologist
Soil Scientist

Related High School Subjects


Construction Technologies; Design Studies; Energy and Mines; Fabrication Studies; Financial Management;
Information Processing; Language Arts; Mathematics; Science (Chemistry; and Physics); and Wildlife

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study


Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
Top of Profile

For more information on career planning, occupations and educational programs, visit the Alberta Learning
Information Service (ALIS) website at alis.alberta.ca, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-
800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton or visit an Alberta Employment and Immigration service centre
near you.

The information contained in this profile was current as of the dates shown. Salaries, employment outlook
and educational programs may change. Please check the information before making any career decisions.

© Government of Alberta, Employment and Immigration

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