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Civil Engineer

Civil engineers plan, design, and supervise the construction, maintenance, and decommissioning of a wide variety of public and private infrastructure projects and systems.

Also Known As

Construction Engineer, Design Engineer, Engineer, Environmental Engineer, Foundations Engineer, Geotechnical Engineer, Infrastructure Asset Management Engineer, Land Development Engineers, Professional Engineer, Site Designer, Structural Engineer, Transportation Engineer, Water Resources Engineer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Civil Engineers (2131) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Civil Engineers (C031) 
  • 2011 NOC: Civil engineers (2131) 
  • 2016 NOC: Civil engineers (2131) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Civil Engineers

2006 NOC: 2131

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
INNOVATIVE

Interest in synthesizing information to conduct research in order to determine project requirements, to develop construction specifications and procedures, and to conduct feasibility studies, economic analyses, municipal and regional traffic studies, environmental impact studies and other investigations

OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to conduct technical analyses of survey and field data for development of topographic, soil, hydrological and other information; in conducting field services for civil works; and in monitoring air, water and soil quality and developing procedures to clean up contaminated sites

DIRECTIVE

Interest in supervising technicians, technologists and other engineers; and in overseeing land surveys and construction work, in approving survey and civil design work, in evaluating and recommending building and construction materials, in approving designs, calculations and cost estimates, in ensuring that construction plans meet guidelines and specifications of building codes and other regulations, and in establishing and monitoring construction work schedules

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Apr 06, 2022

Civil engineers solve the problems and challenges of everyday life. These include creating solutions for:

  • Pollution
  • Traffic congestion
  • Urban development
  • Community planning
  • Stormwater management
  • Drinking water
  • Energy needs

They follow recognized standards and find cost-effective solutions to problems for each project they work on. They may plan and build:

  • Industrial buildings
  • Roadways, railways, and bridges
  • Airports
  • Offshore drilling structures
  • Dams and reservoirs
  • Utility power projects
  • Water and wastewater collection, management, treatment, and distribution systems

Civil engineers may specialize in a variety of areas.

Construction engineers plan and manage the construction of public and private buildings. They:

  • Decide on the equipment, materials, and human resources needed
  • Estimate costs and manage spending
  • Plan, organize, finance, and manage construction projects
  • Supervise technical support workers, contractors, and construction workers

Environmental engineers design municipal and industrial services to solve environmental problems.

Geotechnical engineers provide information on soil conditions. They look for the conditions needed to design and build foundations, underground structures, tunnels, embankments, and dams.

Infrastructure asset management engineers create plans to get the most value out of the money invested in public and private infrastructure. They:

  • Carry out life-cycle asset management
  • Work with financial services to set utility rates
  • Develop criteria for assessing infrastructure
  • Use current methods and technologies to rehabilitate infrastructure

They assemble plans to rehabilitate infrastructure sustainably, including:

  • Creating statistical forecast tools to identify why rehabilitation needs to be done
  • Estimating costs
  • Planning schedules
  • Seeking funding sources

Land development engineers work with urban planners to convert lands into workable communities. They:

  • Create master plans for developing infrastructure that supports sustainable long-term growth in cities
  • Carry out studies on proposals for land development from an engineering viewpoint
  • Create financial plans for development, including cost-sharing and cost-recovery assessments for development levies
  • Design utilities and roads for new or redeveloped subdivisions
  • Prepare submissions to obtain permits and servicing agreements
  • Manage the construction, commissioning, operation, and maintenance of new facilities

Structural engineers often work as part of a team. This may include architects, mechanical, and electrical engineers, construction contractors, and project developers. They:

  • Assess the condition of existing structures
  • Design load-bearing structures (such as bridges, towers, offshore structures, and buildings), keeping in mind the stresses that these structures must withstand
  • Inspect structures at each building stage to make sure safety codes are met and the structure can withstand load effects (due to wind, snow, vibration, and other forces)

Transportation engineers plan and design systems to move people and goods safely and efficiently. They consider economic and social factors and engineering rules. They often work with urban planners. They:

  • Assess the condition of existing structures and facilities
  • Plan and design transportation systems (such as highways, streets, railroads, airfields, and mass transit systems)
  • Manage how all types of transportation infrastructure are operated and maintained
  • Use computer models to evaluate and predict the performance of existing and future intersections, interchanges, and roadways

Water resource engineers design systems that collect, store, and distribute water. They:

  • Assess the condition of existing structures
  • Oversee the construction and maintenance of dams, reservoirs, hydroelectric power plants, canals, and locks
  • Predict and analyze water run-off and flooding patterns to assess the effects of water flow on structures and facilities
  • Design systems to deliver drinking water and to collect and treat municipal waste and stormwater
  • Design holding areas and storm sewers to handle water overflow and floods
  • Develop water systems to supply water to irrigation projects, prevent flooding, protect beaches, and manage rivers
Working Conditions
Updated Apr 06, 2022
  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary

There are many different work settings for civil engineers. Engineers who are responsible for the planning and design components of a project work mainly in an office setting. They may spend much of their time on a computer. Other civil engineers may work on a project site or attend public hearings.

 They often work with a team. It may include other types of engineers as well as:

  • Scientists
  • Contractors
  • Project owners
  • Architects
  • Subcontractors
  • Lawyers
  • Government officials

They may need to work long hours. They may have a great deal of pressure to meet deadlines and design standards.

Traits & Skills
Updated Apr 06, 2022

Civil engineers need:

  • Speaking, listening, and writing skills
  • The ability to analyze data, review calculations, and prepare cost estimates
  • The ability to see objects in 3D from 2D drawings
  • Logical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • A capacity for details

They should enjoy:

  • Being innovative
  • Doing precision work
  • Making decisions
  • Supervising people
  • Having variety in their work

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Civil engineers

2011 NOC: 2131

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 20 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 12, 2021 and Sep 25, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Computer and Technology Knowledge: AutoCAD
Construction Specialization: Residential construction
Health benefits: Health care plan
Health benefits: Dental plan
Computer and Technology Knowledge: MS Office
Personal Suitability: Excellent oral communication
Personal Suitability: Organized
Personal Suitability: Team player
Personal Suitability: Excellent written communication
Construction Specialization: Industrial, commercial and institutional
Educational Requirements
Updated Apr 06, 2022
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary

The basic educational requirement for working as a civil engineer is a 4-year bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. Structural engineering design work may require a master’s degree.

Civil engineers must understand and keep up to date with relevant legislation, regulations, and standards.


Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.


To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Apr 06, 2022
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.

Engineer

Professional engineers design, construct, evaluate, advise, monitor, and report on the performance of materials, equipment, systems, works, processes, and structures.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act [pdf] and Engineering and Geoscience Professions General Regulation [pdf], you must register as a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) to practice as a Professional Engineer or engage in the practice of engineering.

You do not have to register 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.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Engineer.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Apr 06, 2022

Civil engineers work in construction and related industries. They work for:

  • Government departments
  • Engineering consulting firms
  • Construction contractors
  • Property developers
  • Resource industries
  • Public utilities
  • Railroad companies
  • Manufacturing firms

With time on the job, civil engineers may receive promotions to manage small and then large projects. Some civil engineers start their own construction or consulting companies. Those with doctoral (PhD) degrees may teach at a university or conduct research.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 2131: Civil engineers occupational group, 78.8% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 2131: Civil engineers occupational group is expected to have an average annual growth of 1.9% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 154 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Apr 06, 2022

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Civil engineers

2016 NOC: 2131
Average Wage
$51.38
Per Hour
Average Salary
$100,575.00
Per Year
Average Hours
37.9
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 2131 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $23.60 $61.62 $37.83 $33.49
Overall $34.38 $73.02 $51.38 $49.79
Top $37.73 $112.50 $73.33 $70.56

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Public Administration
ALL INDUSTRIES
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
Manufacturing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
42%
42%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
26%
26%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
15%
15%
Vacancy Rate
4%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Apr 06, 2022

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) website: www.apega.ca

BuildForce Canada website: www.buildforce.ca

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

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2022. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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