Is Civil Engineering a Good Career Path?

by Usama Chaudry on July 14, 2022

Every day, we rely on civil engineers to build and maintain the infrastructure that supports our lives. From roads and bridges to water treatment facilities and airports, civil engineers are responsible for designing and overseeing many of the structures that we interact with on a daily basis. So is a civil engineering career right for you? Here’s everything you need to know about this growing field.

What Does a Civil Engineer Do?

A civil engineer is responsible for the design, construction, and maintenance of public and private infrastructure projects. This can include anything from bridges and roads to water treatment plants and sewer systems. Civil engineers must have a strong understanding of mathematics, physics, and computer-aided design (CAD) software.

Top Reasons to Start a Civil Engineering Career

Are you looking for a challenging and rewarding career? If so, civil engineering may be the perfect choice for you. Here are just a few of the top reasons to start a civil engineering career:

  1. Earn a good pay
  2. Numerous job opportunities
  3. Job security
  4. In-demand career
  5. Work on the field

1. Earn a Good Pay

Though the pay rates of any job vary depending on the area, employer, company, education, and experience level, civil engineering is among the highest-paid occupations in Canada.

On a national level, a typical civil engineer makes around $73358 per year on average. This pay rate is undoubtedly more than the average salary of any other kind of engineer.

2. Numerous Job Opportunities

Civil engineers are more suited for a wider variety of civil engineering occupations with improved technical talents, management skills, and practical knowledge. A civil engineer’s status can be improved by earning a graduate degree, which opens doors to leadership and specialized roles.

Here are the top 8 civil engineering occupations:

  • Structural engineer
  • Geotechnical engineer
  • Environmental engineer
  • Marine engineer
  • Engineering manager
  • Design engineer
  • Water resource engineer
  • Civil engineer

3. Job Security

This occupation has a scope in both government and private sectors. Government engineers are hired to work on public projects, whereas, private ones are for commercial projects. Moreover, there are separate career opportunities for different kinds of civil engineers. This aspect ensures complete job security with a promising future.

Along with a secure job, civil engineers may also get many other benefits including medical facilities, residence, and transportation support.

4. In-Demand Career

As a civil engineer, you will be responsible for the design, construction, and maintenance of various infrastructure projects such as bridges, roads, dams, and tunnels. You will need to have strong problem-solving skills as well as experience in using various software programs and tools. There is a great demand for civil engineers, so if you are interested in this career, you should definitely consider pursuing it.

5. Work on the Field

A civil engineer is a part of a wider network. Working in the field allows them to interact with other professionals, clients, community leaders, and government officials all at once. These interactions form the basis of a productive and healthy work environment cultivating valuable experience. This is the best career option for people who like socializing and working in a learning environment.

Duties & Responsibilities of a Civil Engineer

A civil engineer is responsible for performing the following duties:

  • Designing the projects by giving attention to detail
  • Doing site inspections and assessments of the project plans
  • Planning for construction projects and then implementing those plans
  • Reviewing government regulations and safety programs while designing the projects
  • Preparing budget estimations for the project
  • Solving the problems or hindrances coming in the way by giving alternative solutions
  • Acting as a liaison between clients and contractors
  • Managing the projects by meeting deadlines and compiling quotes

Average Salary of a Civil Engineer in Canada

A typical civil engineer makes $73358 per year on average in Canada. City-wise average salaries of these professionals in 2022 are given in the table below:

Cities of CanadaAverage wage per year (CAD)
British Columbia$82,500
Saskatchewan$71,779
Alberta$68,855
Nova Scotia$60,000
Manitoba$57,500
Ontario$65,000
Quebec$56,550
New Brunswick$55,122

The above table shows that civil engineering is one of the most rewarding career opportunities in Canada. The cities of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia, being well-developed, pay the highest to their engineers. New Brunswick shows the lowest pay rates owing to fewer construction projects going on in its areas.

Educational Requirements of a Civil Engineer

There are various degrees, programs, and courses that can help you with your civil engineering career path.

  • Firstly, a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, construction, or any related program is required
  • Secondly, a specialty in civil engineering demands specific programs in civil engineering technology covering coursework in mathematics, fluid dynamics, mechanics, or statistics
  • Thirdly, related courses and apprenticeship programs may serve as an asset

To earn a professional engineer (PE) license, an ABET-accredited degree is required. Qualification higher than the bachelor’s along with a PE license helps secure better civil engineering jobs.

Skills & Competencies of a Civil Engineer

A civil engineering career is a demanding one. The work of these people significantly affects the daily lives of many. Even minor mistakes can bring havoc. Therefore, to be a civil engineer, one needs to be competent enough and possess all of the following skills:

1. Management Skills

It is the core responsibility of a civil engineer to manage the assigned projects. Whenever a problem arises, the crew asks the engineer for a solution and guidance. Civil engineers must manage their team of professionals by evaluating team’s input and progress. They are also responsible for managing projects’ safety and applying project regulations.

2. Communication Skills

Engineering is a complex industry with complicated systems. Civil engineers need proficient communication skills so that they can interact effectively with other professionals for discussing ideas and projects. They must be able to convey their ideas properly and listen to other people as well.

3. Technical Abilities

Civil engineers have to work with models, maps, and drawings. Therefore, they must have sharp technical skills to solve all the relevant physics and mathematics problems. For preparing designs, they should be proficient in using computer-aided software.

Moreover, they should have a proactive approach to detecting and solving complicated problems.

4. Creativity

Building great designs while keeping them compliant with consumers’ desires demands a creative and sharp mind. civil engineering is a dynamic and exciting field that offers many opportunities for creativity. As a civil engineer, you will have the chance to design and build infrastructure projects that will have a positive impact on society. You will also have the opportunity to work on cutting-edge research projects that could lead to breakthroughs in the field of civil engineering.

5. Critical Thinking Skills

Civil engineering career demands analytical minds that could immediately find solutions to complicated construction issues. These professionals must know how to look into things critically and devise smart, economical, and risk-free strategies.

In-Demand Cities of a Civil Engineer in Canada

There is a great demand for civil engineers in Canada and this fact is evident from the high pay rates offered to these professionals. To become more specific, Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary are among the most in-demand cities for this career. This increased demand owes to the higher number of construction projects going on in these cities.

Steps for Becoming a Civil Engineer

You can follow these steps to become a civil engineer in Canada:

1. Earn a High School Diploma

Earning a high school diploma or completing the GED is the first step toward becoming a civil engineer. During high school, focus more on subjects like physics, mathematics, and advanced English.

2. Acquire a Bachelor’s Degree

The next step is to attain a bachelor’s level degree majoring in the subject of civil engineering. This four-year degree program will teach you all the basic engineering principles, technical skills, project handling, and understanding of software and geological factors.

Most firms demand only bachelor-level education, however, pursuing advanced education will help you excel in your field in the future.

3. Joining Training Programs

An engineer in training (EIT) is a government program running in association with all provinces that you can join after completing your bachelor’s. This designation gives you professional recognition in front of the engineering companies and they find it easier to hire you in their firm.

4. Gain Some Experience

The next time is to gain some relevant experience. You may join an apprenticeship program where you will work under experienced engineers to gain some professional experience and develop your interpersonal skills.

5. Acquire Certifications

Lastly, you should Acquire a certification from your province of practice. This certification will give you the authority to work independently in your field. Every province has different criteria for this certification, that must be met. After completing the certification, you are officially allowed to add the P. Eng abbreviation at the end of your title.

After completing all these 5 steps, start applying for different government and private sector jobs. Carefully read the job descriptions given by employers and make your resume well-tailored according to their requirements.

How to Get a Job as a Civil Engineer in Canada

There are multiple civil engineering career options in Canada. It is one of the most respected and highest-paid professions there. To get hired as a Canadian civil engineer, you must consider the following things:

  • Earning a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or any other related program
  • You may also need a master’s degree in a related engineering discipline
  • Obtaining a Professional Engineering (PE) license from a provincial association of professional engineers
  • Three to four years of supervised work experience may be required
  • Some employers may also require Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification being offered by the Canada Green Council

If you are looking for a job in the civil engineering field, Primus Workforce is here to help. We have an extensive database of jobs from top companies across the country. Be sure to check back often, as we update our listings daily.

Conclusion

By now, you must be convinced that civil engineering career has a positive outlook in Canada and many job opportunities are waiting for you. There are various career opportunities and job options in this field with a promising salary and job security. All you need to do is meet the required education standards and develop your skills.

The more you invest in your education, skills, and experience, the higher the chances of securing a rewarding civil engineering job. We hope this article cleared all your confusion regarding your civil engineering career path. Best of luck in your future endeavors!

Usama ChaudryUsama is a professional engineer and graduated from the University of Alberta. Computations of electrical and thermal characteristics are among his research interests. Usama's hobbies outside of professional work include reading, playing tennis, and trekking.

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