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Civil engineer Engineering consultant

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

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £24,000 to £80,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll usually need an engineering degree (BEng) or a Master’s degree (MEng) in civil engineering.

You could start as a technician and study part-time for an HND or foundation degree, leading to a degree in civil engineering.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

The Institution of Civil Engineers has information on courses.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent maths, science, and IT skills
  • the ability to explain design ideas clearly
  • the ability to analyse large amounts of data
  • project management skills

3. What you'll do

You could work in these areas of engineering:

  • structural (dams, buildings, offshore platforms and pipelines)
  • transportation (roads, railways, canals and airports)
  • environmental (water supply networks, drainage and flood barriers)
  • maritime (ports, harbours and sea defences)
  • geotechnical (mining, earthworks and construction foundations)

You'll be:

  • planning with the client
  • analysing surveys, testing and mapping data using computer modelling software
  • creating blueprints using computer aided design (CAD)
  • judging if projects are worth doing by looking at costs, time and labour
  • checking risks and the effects on the environment
  • preparing bids for tenders, and reporting to clients and government agencies
  • managing and checking progress at each stage
  • making sure sites follow health and safety rules

4. Salary

Starter: £24,000 (graduates)

Experienced: £25,000 to £40,000

Highly Experienced: £50,000 to £80,000 (senior chartered engineers)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work 35 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. You may work evenings and weekends.

You'll spend time in an office and on project sites.

6. Career path and progression

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.

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Last updated: 13 April 2017

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