Skip to the main content
Alberta Supports Contact Centre

Toll Free 1-877-644-9992

Edmonton 780-644-9992

Guest Account Sign In Sign Up

Civil Engineer

Civil engineers plan, design and supervise the construction, maintenance and decommissioning of a wide variety of public and private structures and facilities.

  • Avg. Salary $99,194.00
  • Avg. Wage $50.43
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 9,200
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Construction Engineer, Design Engineer, Engineer, Professional Engineer, Site Designer, Transportation Engineer, Water Source 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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary
Interest Codes
The Civil Engineer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Civil Engineers

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


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


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

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 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 More

Updated Dec 20, 2016

Civil engineers use traditional and high-tech tools (for example, specialized computer programs, systems or 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 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
  • 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 the 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.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 20, 2016

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.

  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 20, 2016

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
Updated Dec 20, 2016

The basic educational requirement for working as a civil engineer is a four-year bachelor's degree in civil engineering.

Required Education

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

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Grande Prairie Regional College

Grant MacEwan University

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 20, 2016


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


Under Alberta's Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act, you must be a registered member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) 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.

What You Need

Registration as a Professional Engineer requires: (1) a 4-year bachelor's degree in a recognized engineering program and at least 4 years of acceptable work experience under the supervision of a Professional Engineer, or an equivalent combination of education and experience, (2) a minimum of 3 acceptable references and (3) successful completion of an approved examination in law, ethics and professionalism. A new Provisional Member category has been introduced. For official, detailed information about registration requirements, visit APEGA's website or contact APEGA.

Working in Alberta

Engineers who are registered and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered engineers in the 2 jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory? and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

To find more information on the certification process for internationally educated engineers, see Professional Engineer Licensing Process on

Contact Details

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta
1500 Scotia One, 10060 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T5J 4A2
Phone number: 780-426-3990
Toll-free phone number (within North America): 1-800-661-7020
Fax: 780-426-1877

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 20, 2016

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% of people employed as civil engineers work in the following industries:

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 few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 20, 2016

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $24.95 $53.24 $36.96 $34.86
Overall $30.00 $75.97 $50.43 $47.77
Top $36.30 $88.00 $64.08 $62.74

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.

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.

Industry Information
Public Administration
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
  • Media, Design and Communication Arts
    • Design Studies
  • Natural Resources
    • Environmental Stewardship
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 20, 2016

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) website:

Canadian Society for Civil Engineering website:

BuildForce Canada website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Apr 09, 2014. 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.

Was this page useful?