Civil engineers design and manage a wide variety of construction projects.

What does a civil engineer do?

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

Depending on your specialism, you could 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

What do I need to do to become a civil engineer?

You could become a civil engineer through:

  • a university or college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role


You can do a foundation degree, higher national diploma, or degree in civil engineering.

Many universities specialise in particular areas of civil engineering, like:

  • structural engineering
  • environmental engineering
  • coastal engineering

Some courses include a work placement, which can be useful for making industry contacts to help find work after you finish your studies.

You can apply for a postgraduate master's award in civil engineering if you've got a related degree like maths, science, or geology.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C)
  • three A levels including maths and a science subject
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study


You can take a higher national certificate (HNC) or diploma (HND) at college, which may help you find work as a trainee engineer. You'll do further training on the job to qualify.

Subjects include:

  • Level 4 HNC in Civil Engineering
  • Level 5 HND in Construction and the Built Environment

Entry requirements

You'll usually need one or two 2 A levels, a Level 3 diploma, or relevant experience for a Level 4 or level 5 course.


You could complete a civil engineer degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need four or give GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent qualifications, for a higher or a degree apprenticeship.


You could start as a civil engineering technician and study part-time for a degree while you work.

Related skills

  • Analytics
  • Communication
  • Financial planning
  • IT
  • Leadership
  • Numeracy
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork

Related subjects

  • Maths
  • Physics

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

You could work on a construction site or in an office. Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers.

Career opportunities

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.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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