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thatguy_96

Starting my career as a Civil Engineering Technician

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Hello to all.

I graduated about 9 months ago with my BS in Civil Engineering. I graduated with good GPA and 1 internship in construction inspection for a decent company. However that internship was during my junior year. I left the company on good terms, but started looking for other experiences. I ran into some serious family issues and never got another internship, and waited tables from then until now.

Since things have been back on track it has been 9 months since I have graduated. I haven't gotten many offers but I finally got an offer for a 'Civil Engineering Technician'. This position doesn't actually require a degree.

Does anyone think that accepting this offer and starting at this level would be pushing further away from eventually getting my P.E., or would it indeed be a good place to start my civil engineering career?

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Are there any PEs that you would work under? It sounds like this could be a CAD drafting position but it could be a way for you to get foot in the door and work your way up.  The key for getting your license is making sure you work under a PE so that you can count the work experience. 

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Sounds like a great way to get your foot in the door.  I would treat this as another internship and seek out a PE that you'd be working under as a mentor.

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47 minutes ago, youngmotivatedengineer said:

Are there any PEs that you would work under? It sounds like this could be a CAD drafting position but it could be a way for you to get foot in the door and work your way up.  The key for getting your license is making sure you work under a PE so that you can count the work experience. 

 

35 minutes ago, enrique_nola said:

Sounds like a great way to get your foot in the door.  I would treat this as another internship and seek out a PE that you'd be working under as a mentor.

I would be working under a PE, yes. Most of my time, from what I gathered, would be spent at job sites, essentially as a construction inspector. My end goal is to be a PE specialized in environmental projects. Would either of you say not to take this offer as it would draw me away from that goal? 

And I must say I have been looking for a while, and declining this offer could mean quite a long time with no other offers... it is nerve wrecking. 

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Just now, thatguy_96 said:

 

I would be working under a PE, yes. Most of my time, from what I gathered, would be spent at job sites, essentially as a construction inspector. My end goal is to be a PE specialized in environmental projects. Would either of you say not to take this offer as it would draw me away from that goal? 

And I must say I have been looking for a while, and declining this offer could mean quite a long time with no other offers... it is nerve wrecking. 

I would definitely take it and keep looking around for opportunities closer to what you want. You also might get into inspection and like it tho😬

 

I definitely sympathize with having a difficult time getting your foot in the door. Try to connect with recruiters on LinkedIn too as that has helped me tremendously.

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13 hours ago, thatguy_96 said:

 

I would be working under a PE, yes. Most of my time, from what I gathered, would be spent at job sites, essentially as a construction inspector. My end goal is to be a PE specialized in environmental projects. Would either of you say not to take this offer as it would draw me away from that goal? 

And I must say I have been looking for a while, and declining this offer could mean quite a long time with no other offers... it is nerve wrecking. 

I essentially started my career as a technician in a similar role. My situation was somewhat different, but ultimately, I needed to get about a year of experience before hiring managers would take a chance on me. (Cue Abba) 

The best part is that my experience as an "Engineering Technician II" ended up counting toward my experience for licensure as 100% engineering. I was working under a PE and my role ended up transitioning to include more "proper" engineering toward the end, but the latter of those two is often not necessary to count toward licensure. As long as you're working under a PE who's willing to sign off on your experience, most states will accept construction inspection experience for licensure.

I recommend taking that position for a year or two to have something more substantial to put on your resume, then start looking for better opportunities, whether at the same company, or somewhere else.

Good luck, and feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.

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I actually got laid off from a private industry Engineering position when the housing bubble burst.  When I looked into returning to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the only thing I could find was a Civil Engineering Tech position.  The department head even called me to make sure I realized it was a tech position because I was so over qualified.  Ended up being a great job but I wasn't in it too long because he promoted me to an Engineering position when one of the other guys relocated.

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Don't underestimate the value of an inspection type position.  Even if you ultimately go into a different field,  you can still learn valuable skills that can carry to different positions.  This will help you with personal interaction skills dealing with various contractors or inspectors.  It could also help you increase report writing and technical documentation skills. If you decide to stay in this field,  the field experience makes you a better engineer as you will know what issues to expect or plan around.  Everything looks good on paper, but some of the famous Civil Engineering accidents are due to bad site modifications to compensate for a design that was impossible to build as drawn

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