How To Become A Civil Engineer In Australia?

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Students want to know how they can become civil engineers in Australia.


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.


This blog will teach you about the Civil Engineer profession, its skills, and qualifications. Explore their duties, national average salary, job prospects, jobs, what they do, career pathways, work environment, and more about civil engineering.



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 architectssurveyors, 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:



Hard Skills


  • 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



Soft Skills


  • Analytical mindset

  • 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

  • Practical 

  • Creative

  • Able to work unsupervised

  • Able to work independently or in a team, including fellow engineers, technicians, planners, surveyors, and labourers

  • Responsible

  • Meticulous planning

  • Confident decision-making ability

  • Excellent project management skills

  • Persistence when challenges arise

  • Able to multitask with regulations, investors, and tasks

  • Organisational skills 

  • Time management skills

  • Leadership 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:


  • Structural design

  • Engineering Construction methods

  • Mechanics

  • Hydrology/Water engineering 

  • Geotechnical engineering

  • Project management principles

  • Transportation engineering


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 consultantproject 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.


Industry Bodies:




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.


Career Outcomes: 


  • Civil engineering designer

  • Civil engineering draftsperson

  • Civil engineering technician



Diploma of Civil Construction Design – TAFE NSW


Career Opportunities:


  • Civil/structural draftsperson

  • Civil construction site manager

  • Civil construction site officer

  • Civil Designer

  • 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: 


  • Airports 

  • Bridges 

  • Roads 

  • Mines

  • Schools

  • Energy plants

  • Shopping malls

  • Dams 

  • Harbours and ports 

  • Large stadiums

  • Factories 

  • Water supply and sewage treatment 

  • Irrigation systems



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



Working Arrangements


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


  • Construction: 34.6%

  • 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%

  • Victoria: 23.2%

  • Queensland: 23.2%

  • South Australia: 4.6%

  • Western Australia: 11.4%

  • Tasmania: 1.4%

  • 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:


  • Airport Engineer

  • Geotechnical/Soil Engineer

  • Harbour Engineer

  • Highway Engineer

  • Hydraulic/Water Resources Engineer

  • Irrigation/Drainage Engineer

  • Local Government Engineer

  • Project engineer

  • Materials and Testing Engineer

  • Gas Pipeline Engineer

  • Railway Engineer

  • Structural Engineer

  • Civil Designer



What Employment Opportunities Are Available For Civil Engineers?


Civil engineers work in various areas, such as:


  • Structural Engineering

  • Water Resources

  • Foundation Engineering

  • Transport 

  • Town Planning

  • Construction


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.

  • Boning Rods

  • Bolster

  • Bump Cutter

  • Brick Hammer

  • Circular Saw

  • Crowbar 

  • Chain Lewis and Pin Lewis

  • Concrete Mixer

  • Digging Bar

  • Polishers

  • Drill Machine

  • Float

  • Chisel

  • Gloves

  • Jack Plane

  • Mason's Square

  • Pickaxe

  • Earth Rammer

  • Sand Screen Machine

  • Tile Cutter

  • Safety belt

  • Vacuum Blower

  • Binding Hook

  • 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

  • Structural engineer

  • Engineering and infrastructure consultants

  • Agriculture

  • Municipal councils

  • Project management and public works

  • Gas and water supply and sewerage systems

  • Transport systems

  • Water and sanitation in developing countries

  • Town planner

  • Humanitarian aid

  • International aid and development

  • Emergency management specialist 

  • Facade drafter

  • Sustainability Specialist

  • Transport operations planner



12. Conclusion


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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