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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 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 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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

34%
34%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • 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
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

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

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Civil engineers solve problems and meet the challenges of everyday life. These include pollution, traffic congestion, urban development, community planning, drinking water, and 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
  • 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.

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

  • analyze the properties of soil and rock that support foundations, pavements, and underground facilities
  • find out how buildings settle
  • assess the effects of slopes, landfills, groundwater seepage, sliding, frost action, earth shifts, and earthquakes
  • design the foundations of offshore drilling platforms and high-rise buildings
  • assess and design systems to remove or reduce ground contamination
  • design open pit mines and tailings 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
  • 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
  • work with financial services to set utility rates
  • develop criteria for assessing infrastructure
  • use current methods and technologies to rehabilitate infrastructure.

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 proposed land development projects 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 (and prepare submissions to obtain the permits and servicing agreements)
  • manage the construction, commissioning, operation, and maintenance of the 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 storm water
  • 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.

To learn more about another area of civil engineering, see the Environmental Engineer profile.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2018

There are many different work settings for civil engineers. They may spend most of the day at a computer, on a work site or at a public hearing. They often work with a team, which may include other types of engineers as well as:

  • scientists
  • contractors
  • project owners
  • architects
  • bankers
  • lawyers
  • government officials.

Civil engineers must constantly update their knowledge and skills to keep up with changes. They may need to work long hours. They may have a great deal of pressure to meet deadlines and design standards.

  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Civil engineers need to possess:

  • speaking, listening, and writing skills
  • the ability to analyze data, review calculations, and prepare cost estimates
  • the ability to see objects in 3 dimensions from 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
  • supervising people
  • variety in their work.
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

The basic educational requirement for working as a civil engineer is a 4-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 Mar 31, 2018

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, 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 AlbertaCanada.com.

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
Email: email@apega.ca
Website: www.apega.ca

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2018

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 can become project managers. They may be promoted to manage 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.

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

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

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • 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 Mar 31, 2018
Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
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
ALL INDUSTRIES
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

36%
36%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

34%
34%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

5%
5%

Vacancy Rate

2%
Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Media, Design and Communication Arts
    • Design Studies
  • Natural Resources
    • Environmental Stewardship
  • Science
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2018

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

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 Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 31, 2018. 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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