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Engineering design

Civil engineer

Civil engineers design and manage construction projects, from bridges and buildings to transport links and sports stadiums.

Annual Salary

£30,000 to £70,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

40 to 42 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends; occasionally

Future employment

There will be 3% more Civil engineer jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

Depending on your specialism, you could:

  • consult and plan with the client
  • analyse and map data using computer modelling software
  • use computer aided design (CAD) to create blueprints
  • evaluate project costs, time and labour
  • check risks and environmental impact
  • prepare bids for tenders
  • report to clients and government agencies
  • monitor progress at each stage
  • make sure sites follow health and safety rules

Working environment

You may need to wear protective clothing.

You could work on a construction site or in an office.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

You can do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in civil engineering.

Many universities specialise in particular areas of civil engineering, like:

  • structural engineering
  • environmental engineering
  • coastal engineering

Some courses include a work placement, which can be useful for making industry contacts to help find work after you finish your studies.

You can apply for a postgraduate master's award in civil engineering if you've got a related degree like maths, science or geology.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and a science for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information

You can take a higher national certificate (HNC) or diploma (HND) at college, which may help you to find work as a trainee engineer. You'll do further training on the job to qualify.

Subjects include:

  • Level 4 HNC in Engineering
  • Level 5 HND in Construction and the Built Environment

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national certificate or higher national diploma
For more information

You could complete a civil engineer degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
For more information

You could start as a civil engineering technician and study part-time for a degree while you work.

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the Institution of Civil Engineers for professional development opportunities.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a civil engineer from the Institution of Civil Engineers and Tomorrow's Engineers.

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With incorporated or chartered engineer status, you could move into senior project management roles. You could also specialise in a particular engineering field, work in research or become a consultant.

You could work overseas with British consulting firms, and for oil and mining companies.

You could also work for international development and disaster relief agencies.

You can find out more about becoming a civil engineer from the Institution of Civil Engineers and Tomorrow's Engineers.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of building and construction
  • design skills and knowledge
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • operations analysis skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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