How To Become A Civil Engineer

Wednesday, 14 April, 2021 - 15:44
Sakinah Samuels
How To Become A Civil Engineer

Thinking of getting a job as a Civil Engineer? Good choice! Here's what you need to know.


Choosing to work in Civil Engineering is a great and riveting choice and offers many opportunities in South Africa. 

Here's all you need to know about becoming a civil engineer.

What is Civil Engineering about?

The Civil Engineering programme prepares the student for the planning, designing, maintenance and management of projects associated with the construction of houses, roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and water supply and sewage systems.

What skills and abilities are required to become a Civil Engineer?

  • Good analytical skills are a must for any civil engineer. Civil Engineers have to read and interpret many drawings, complex charts, diagrams, maps and reports;
  • Good communication skills. Civil Engineers need to correspond with an array of individuals throughout their profession from construction workers to CEOs of large corporations;
  • Excellent problem solving capabilities; and
  • Advanced skills in mathematics are crucial to become a Civil Engineer, who must apply the appropriate mathematical formulas and principles in his design work as well as to problem solving.

What are the working conditions of a Civil Engineer?

Civil engineers sometimes work indoors in offices. However, many spend time outdoors at construction sites so they can monitor operations or solve problems onsite.

What should I do if I want to study Civil Engineering?

  • Contact your nearest TVET College or University to enquire about the entrance requirements for the Civil Engineering course
  • Visit Civil Engineering companies to gain more knowledge about the field and what it entails
  • Contact the DHET Career Development Services to provide you with free quality career information, advice and counselling services on 086 999 0123 or e-mail:
  • Go for an aptitude test to help understand if a career in Civil Engineering is for you
  • Attend career exhibitions in your area to liaise with higher learning institutions and obtain application forms

What are the minimum entry requirements to study Civil Engineering at a TVET College?

At a TVET College, the entrance requirements for the Civil Engineering course are:

  • NC(V) Programme:

A Grade 9 Certificate + college requirements set per programme.

  • NATED Programme:

N1 admission - Grade 9 Certificate + college requirements set per programme.

N4 admission - Grade 12 Certificate with a pass in Mathematics + college requirements set per programme; OR an NC(V) Level 4 Certificate in Civil Engineering and Building Construction.

What vocational activities do Civil Engineering students perform at a TVET College?

  • Participate in the operation and maintenance of construction equipment and machinery;
  • Participate in the construction of roads, bridges, dams, railways and houses;
  • Participate in designing and construction of tunnels, roads, factories and reservoirs; and
  • Participate in the erection of reinforced concrete, structural steel, timber and masonry structures, etc.

Where else can I study Civil Engineering?

Universities such as Wits, University of Cape Town, University of Pretoria, Stellenbosch University and Cape Peninsula University of Technology are only a few of the many Universities that offer Civil Engineering qualifications.

The entry requirements will differ depending on the type of qualification and the institution.

Private institutions such as AIE and Rosebank College offer courses as well.

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