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How to become a civil engineer

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Civil engineering is a rewarding, creative and fun job. No day is ever the same, it's a team effort and the pay is good - and there are simply aren't enough engineers to go around.

Background, gender and age are no barrier. If you want to be a civil engineer, have the right academic subjects and attitude you can start making your career choices right here.

The best subjects to study

Civil engineers come from all walks of life, all sorts of backgrounds. The work is incredibly varied and so are the people that choose engineering as their job. But you'll find that most are best at these subjects (you don't need all of them):

  • Maths

    Maths is must-have subject to be a civil engineer as a lot of the work involves measuring, calculating, designing, working out lengths, weights, quantities, loads…

  • Sciences. Particularly physics

    You need to be able to understand and measure forces and movement and calculate the strength of structures you are designing.

  • Geography or geology

    If you don't want your building or structure to sink into the mud you need to know about the types of ground and design the right foundations.

  • Digital & computing

    Digital skills are playing an increasingly important role right across engineering as more and more tasks are being digitised.

  • Art, design & technology

    Innovative new ideas that can be expressed visually are needed in every type of engineering.

  • Languages, group work & sport

    Civil engineers usually work in teams and often involved in projects around the world. So languages, teamwork and communication skills all count.

What is a professional qualification and do I need one?

Applying and studying for a professional qualification gives you letters after your name. This tells employers how skilled and knowledgeable you are. It also shows how committed you are to your work as a civil engineer.

  • Engineering Technician (EngTech)

    If you are a practical, level-headed engineer with work experience you can apply for EngTech. You will need to study while you work. Ideal for anyone on an apprenceship.

  • Incorporated Engineer (IEng)

    If you're already working as a civil engineer and have a degree you can apply to become an IEng. Work and study leads you to a professional review of your talents and if all is good, your IEng qualification.

  • Chartered Engineer (CEng)

    For CEng you need more than just a degree, academically. This is the top civil engineering qualification that marks out the best in civil engineering. Work, study and professional review are part of the CEng qualification process.

Looking for personalised career help and advice?

If you're thinking of a career in civil engineering, we have courses and training personalised to your location, as well as membership advice.