Do you have an analytical mindset and an interest in maths, science, and construction while liking using software to design things? If so, a career as a Civil Engineer may be an ideal career choice for you.
Civil Engineers plan, design, and test a range of private and public infrastructure projects, including buildings and facilities. They use software to develop designs and supervise the construction of infrastructure.
To become A Civil Engineer in Australia, you need a degree in Civil Engineering, like a Bachelor of Civil Engineering. You also must have at least four years of work experience to gain a professional licence and work independently as a Civil Engineer.
In this blog, you will learn about the Civil Engineer profession and what skills and qualifications it takes to become one. Explore their duties, national average salary, job prospects, career pathways, work environment, and more.
1. What Is A Civil Engineer?
Civil Engineers design, construct and maintain a wide range of infrastructure making up towns and cities. Some include roads, bridges, dams, sewerage systems, water supply schemes, harbours, schools, energy plants, canals, airports, railways, factories, shopping malls, dockyards, and large buildings.
They visit building sites to evaluate plans to determine the ecological impact of large-scale projects and decide whether the building materials are adequate to create a stable and safe structure.
They work with clients, co-workers, and other professionals such as architects, surveyors, and contractors to discuss design ideas and technical plans.
2. What Does A Civil Engineer Do In Australia?
Here are the general duties they perform daily:
Plan and design the construction and development of infrastructure projects
Oversee and monitor the progress of construction work
Coordinate with clients, their teams and public agencies, and planning organisations.
Develop elaborate plans and designs using software programs.
Lead site labour and the delivery of equipment and materials used for construction
Analyse surveys designed by professional surveyors
Map and model test data using modelling software
Analyse the construction site and surrounding areas to determine the viability of the construction
Design projects taking logistics and aesthetics into consideration
Prepare cost estimates and assess the cost-effectiveness of projects.
Oversee construction to make sure structures are safe, up to code with regulations and quality standards, and can withstand dynamic and static loads
Resolve design challenges that come up during the construction project
Manage project resources and budgets to ensure the construction meets relevant regulations and guidelines.
Liaise with clients, engineers, landscape architects, and environmental scientists on project requirements and determine the suitability of plans and sites
Determine construction materials, methods, and quality standards
Create reports, specifications, working drawings, and plans and procedures
Submit plans to concerned authorities for approval
Obtain building permits
Assist government bodies in preparation of annual works programs within set budgets
3. Civil Engineer Skills
Civil Engineers have the skills and expertise that enable them to work in various fields, such as environmental, transportation, geotechnical, and maritime. Some of these include:
Thorough understanding of maths- trigonometry, calculus, and construction/ architecture-related math skills
Working knowledge of auto Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software and engineering design software
Advanced knowledge of science and maths
Good understanding of scientific principles
A knack for mathematics, computing, and technical design
Computer Savvy to work with computer-aided design technology and computer modelling software
Able to find, analyse and solve problems
Good communication and social skills to converse with a range of people, including clients, colleagues, and onsite construction staff
Able to work unsupervised
Able to work independently or in a team, including fellow engineers, technicians, planners, surveyors, and labourers
Confident decision-making ability
Excellent project management skills
Persistence when challenges arise
Able to multitask with regulations, investors, and tasks
Time management skills
Willing to adhere to the safety requirements of the operation
4. What Qualifications Do You Need To Be A Civil Engineer?
To work independently as a Civil Engineer in Australia, you need a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and a minimum of 4 years of industry experience to obtain a professional licence. Here are the complete steps to qualify for this role.
Obtain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education certificate in one or more prerequisite subjects such as maths, chemistry and physics, and English
Complete a university degree majoring in Civil Engineering, such as four years of full-time Bachelor Of Civil Engineering, or Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) (Honours)
Graduates from the course can apply for student membership in Engineers Australia.
To work as an independent Civil Engineer, an employer require you to hold a Professional Engineer's Licence. To be eligible to apply for a licence, you need to complete at least four years of practice as an Engineer after your graduation.
Further learning with a relevant postgraduate degree, such as a Master of Engineering (Civil), is beneficial to get promoted to senior management roles.
5. Steps To Become A Civil Engineer In Australia
Follow the below instructions to become a licensed Civil Engineer:
Step 1: Obtain A Civil Engineering Qualification
You will need some formal qualifications to familiarise yourself with the Civil Engineering field and the areas it covers, such as:
Engineering Construction methods
Project management principles
The Certificate IV in Civil Construction Design course is the ideal entry-level course to begin your journey in Civil Engineering. Presently, TAFE NSW offers this course.
The Civil Engineering coursework has no entry requirements and involves a design project and practical experience. The course is a pathway to the Diploma of Civil Construction Design.
Those who choose a degree route to pursue this profession can consider completing a 4-year Bachelor of Engineering degree with a major in Civil Engineering, like a Bachelor of Civil Engineering.
However, undergraduate degrees require completing Year 12 education in prerequisite subjects such as physics, advanced mathematics, and chemistry.
Step 2: Consider Further Learning
Completing a relevant postgraduate qualification like a Master of Civil Engineering may increase your chances of getting promoted to higher-level roles such as consultant, project manager, or project leader and earning a higher salary.
Step 3: Gain Professional Membership
Graduates with an accredited Australian tertiary qualification in engineering and at least three years of work experience in the engineering industry are eligible to apply for a graduate membership with Engineers Australia.
It is a professional organisation helping qualified civil engineers to continue their education and training, learn new industry technologies, and widen their professional network.
Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists, and Managers Australia
6. Civil Engineering Courses In Australia
Certificate IV in Civil Construction Design course - TAFE NSW
This nationally recognised training teaches how to apply a wide range of construction principles and the necessary skills for the civil construction industry.
Civil engineering designer
Civil engineering draftsperson
Civil engineering technician
Diploma of Civil Construction Design – TAFE NSW
Civil construction site manager
Civil construction site officer
Civil Technical Assistant
Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Civil Engineering) - The University of Sydney
7. How Much Does A Civil Engineer Earn In Australia?
According to PayScale, the average civil engineer's salary in Australia is AU$ 75,485 per year or equivalent to AU$ 29.91 per hour. The years of experience and place of work are the key factors determining your salary.
Average Civil Engineer's Salary Based on Experience
Entry-level Civil Engineers (<1-year experience): AU$60,882 per year
Early career Civil Engineers (1-4 years of experience): AU$72,289 per year
Mid-career Civil Engineers (5-9 years of experience): AU$87,305 per year
Experienced Civil Engineers (10-19 years of experience): AU$109,564 per year
Average Civil Engineer's Salary Based on Location
Sydney: $113,051 per year
Queensland: $129,834 per year
Perth: $119,438 per year
Melbourne: $117,521 per year
Brisbane: $110,449 per year
Joondalup: $102,245 per year
North Sydney: $95,997 per year
8. Where Does Civil Engineer Work?
Civil Engineers generally work in several sectors, such as transportation, structural, and environmental. They work in various public and private sector environments, including large national corporations, local governments, or non-profit organisations.
Their job ranges from small-scale to large-scale infrastructure projects and systems that involve building or repairing the following:
Harbours and ports
Water supply and sewage treatment
9. Working Conditions For A Civil Engineer
Civil Engineers usually work in offices or building sites designing, planning projects, supervising, and guiding teams of skilled and semi-skilled people.
The job may require working on weekends and evenings to deal with urgent project concerns or to meet stringent deadlines while working under negligible supervision. They work closely with clients and other professionals, such as construction supervisors, architects, and CAD employees.
It is also common for Contracting and Consulting Civil Engineers to move to different locations across the country based on the project's requirements. They often travel interstate and occasionally overseas to work on different engineering sites.
Working outdoors in all types of weather conditions and the need to drive to remote mine/construction sites in regional areas are often the challenges of working in this role.
10. Job Outlook for Civil Engineers In Australia
ANZSCO ID 233211 - Civil Engineers
Around 91% of employed Civil Engineers work full-time for an average of 46 hours per week. (All jobs average: 44 hours per week).
Major Industries For Employment
Professional, Scientific, And Technical Services: 32.0%
Public Administration And Safety: 15.2%
Electricity, Gas, Water, And Waste Services: 6.1%
Other Industries: 9.3%
Percentage Of Employment Across Australia
Queensland has the largest share of employment.
New South Wales: 33.7%
South Australia: 4.6%
Western Australia: 11.4%
Northern Territory: 1.2%
Australian Capital Territory: 1.4%
Worker's Age And Gender Profile
Average Age: 35 years, with most of them between the age group of 25 to 34.
Females Share: 12% of the entire employed workforce. (All jobs average: 48%.)
11. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Long Does It Take To Become A Civil Engineer In Australia?
To become and work as a Civil Engineer, you need a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil Engineering). The qualification takes four years full-time to complete.
To work independently as a Civil Engineer, you also need a professional license for which you must have at least four years of work experience working as an Engineer.
So, it takes eight or more years to become and work as a Civil Engineer in Australia.
What Subjects Do You Need To Become A Civil Engineer?
To enter university-level Civil Engineering courses, you must complete a Senior Secondary School Certificate in English, mathematics, physics, and chemistry.
What Are The Areas of Specialisation For Civil Engineers?
Civil Engineers can pursue postgraduate studies in any of the below areas of Civil Engineering:
Hydraulic/Water Resources Engineer
Local Government Engineer
Materials and Testing Engineer
Gas Pipeline Engineer
What Employment Opportunities Are Available For Civil Engineers?
Civil engineers work in various areas, such as:
Many government departments and agencies, civil engineering contractors, municipal authorities, mining companies, and consulting engineers employ them.
The profession also allows you to work as a self-employed contractor or consultant, undertake research activities, and teach in industrial, government, and university establishments.
What Tools And Technologies Do Civil Engineers Use?
Civil engineers use various tools and technologies to build and repair structures at construction sites.
Surveying equipment - Geographic Information Systems (Auto CAD software) to map and plot geographical land information.
Chain Lewis and Pin Lewis
Sand Screen Machine
Excavator and Backhoe
Wear suitable safety equipment, including high-visibility clothing and hard hats, when working on a building site.
Is Civil Engineering A Good Career In Australia?
A civil engineer's job is diverse, interesting, challenging, and highly rewarding, as it involves using both your brain and hands.
Civil Engineers ease the lives of civilians by building sturdy construction projects and ensuring the efficient functioning of the infrastructure systems such as waste networks, flood defences, roads, railways, airports, and energy and water supply.
Are Civil Engineers In Demand In Australia?
Civil Engineers work in various environments, including offices, studios, outdoors, laboratories, and underground. As cities continue to grow, Civil Engineering will continue to be in demand in the construction of infrastructure civilians use in daily life.
The demand for Civil Engineers is increasing due to the ageing of current infrastructures. The government needs them to repair, rebuild and upgrade infrastructures and ensure they remain in good working condition.
It indicates healthy employment growth for Civil Engineers in the coming years in Australia and worldwide.
What Are The Civil Engineering Career Pathways In Australia?
A qualified Civil Engineer can work in the following areas:
Airport and harbour authorities
Construction and mining companies
Engineering and infrastructure consultants
Project management and public works
Gas and water supply and sewerage systems
Water and sanitation in developing countries
International aid and development
Emergency management specialist
Transport operations planner
Strong job prospects and good income makes becoming a "Civil Engineer" a sound career choice for aspirants.
We hope this guide has given you the much-needed insights, clarity, and direction on pursuing this profession in Australia.
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