Civil engineering technicians plan and draw the technical details for building and repairing roads, bridges, buildings and other structures.
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At a glance
Prospects are good for qualified civil engineering technicians.
The Canterbury rebuild, Auckland’s rapid growth and government
investment in infrastructure and roading continues to generate demand
for engineering skills, and there is currently a shortage of skilled civil
engineering technicians. Falling student numbers should also push up
demand in the future. This occupation is a viable option for those wanting
to enter the field of engineering without needing to do a full degree.
Ɣ How to become a civil engineering technician
Civil engineering technicians plan and draw the technical details
for building and repairing roads, bridges, buildings and other
Civil engineering technicians can be registered as Certified Engi-
neering Technicians (CertETn) through the Institution of Profes-
sional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ). This certification requires
demonstrating competence to the required standard (to gain
entry to the register); undertaking competence assessments at
regular intervals (not exceeding 6 years); and complying with a
Code of Ethical Conduct (to retain registration).
To become a civil engineering technician you must first complete
the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering. This is an academically-
based qualification provided at 11 polytechnics throughout New
Zealand. Following this, you need to get work in an engineering
environment, and then complete the New Zealand Diploma in
Engineering Practice. This covers the practical elements of the
role and is gained on the job while you work.
→ IPENZ – information on becoming a Certified Engineering
The number of students completing civil engineering diplomas
level 5 to 7 has grown to 175 in 2014, following a drop in 2013.
To become a civil engineering draughtsperson, ideally you need
experience in a specific CAD (computer-aided design) software.
A Diploma in Engineering is not necessary to become a draught-
sperson, but it is useful.
Some companies offer cadetships, where you can train on the
job and study part-time towards these diplomas.
Number of students
→ WelTec website, information on cadetships in engineering:
→ Infratrain website, information on the National Diploma in Civil
Cost of study
2008 2009 2010
Civil Engineering Diplomas/Certificates Level 5-7
NZ Diploma in Engineering Level 6
Source: Ministry of Education
$12,500 over two years
Average costs in 2015 for a domestic student. Costs vary between
institutions. Further costs include materials, textbooks, and
Ɣ Income and employment prospects
In 2015, the estimated average income for civil engineering
draftspersons and technicians was $68,000.
Rents vary from place to place. Estimated market rents by re-
gion, city and suburb are available on the MBIE Tenancy Services
Estimated average income
The StudyLink website provides general budget advice for
students, and the Sorted website provides help with detailed
Average income estimated from the New Zealand Income Survey 2015.
→ Tenancy Services: www.tenancy.govt.nz/rent-bond-and-bills
→ StudyLink: www.studylink.govt.nz
→ Sorted: www.sorted.org.nz/calculators/money-planner
CIVIL ENGINEERING TECHNICIANS
Where to find job vacancies
Pay for a civil engineering technician depends on where they
work and how much experience they have:
Online vacancies for civil engineering draftspersons and techni-
cians increased by 14% between September 2014 and Septem-
ber 2015. This is well above the overall increase of 1.9% in all
vacancies. Civil engineering technician vacancies are advertised
through public media such as the Trade Me Jobs and Seek web-
sites, as well as the IPENZ JobHunt website.
• civil engineering cadets may start on the minimum wage or
a little more
• junior civil engineering technicians usually earn between
$30,000 and $50,000 a year
• intermediate civil engineering technicians usually earn
between $50,000 and $70,000 a year
→ Trade Me Jobs: www.trademe.co.nz/jobs
→ Seek: www.seek.co.nz
• senior civil engineering technicians may earn up to $80,000
→ IPENZ JobHunt: www.jobhunt.co.nz
Employment and skill shortages
A common career pathway is to gain employment with a com-
pany that offers cadetships to young men or women wishing
to become civil engineering technicians. Cadets complete their
diploma while working in industry. Once cadets have finished
their tertiary qualification they are often promoted into higher-
level full-time positions within the company.
Engineering technicians’ employment
Cadetships are offered by a variety of organisations including
engineering and construction companies, local authorities and
Projected growth is for the broader category of “Building and Engineering
Civil engineering technicians can progress within an engineering
firm up to partner level. Some become engineering technologists
by completing a Bachelor of Engineering Technology (BEngTech)
degree or professional engineers by completing a Bachelor of
Ɣ Other information
The number of civil engineering technicians has fallen slightly in
recent years, but is expected to grow by 2.9 % until 2019.
More information on civil engineering technicians is available on
the Careers New Zealand website.
→ Careers New Zealand: www.careers.govt.nz
Source: MBIE estimates
Civil engineering technicians and draughtspersons appear on Im-
migration New Zealand’s long-term skill shortage list, indicating
the government is actively encouraging skilled workers in those
occupations to work in New Zealand. A full list is available on the
Immigration New Zealand website.
→ Immigration NZ, skill shortage list:
the job video