From the ground our homes stand on to the roofs built over our heads, construction civil engineers play a large role in the construction industry. Civil engineering technicians work alongside civil engineers to plan and design construction projects from major highways to residential homes. Women make up only 16 percent of the engineering technician industry as of 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Earning certification proves that the tech has the additional training and know-how to perform her job safely and effectively.
Certification for construction civil engineering techs comes from a variety of sources, including national professional organizations like the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies. NICET sponsors two certifications intended for construction civil engineers -- the building construction and construction materials testing designations -- each of which have four levels of certification. Certification also comes from state and local organizations such as the Arizona Technical Testing Institute, which sponsors three types of construction civil engineering technician certifications.
Earning certification starts by fulfilling eligibility requirements that vary depending on the provider. In general, candidates must have a certain educational degree and a minimum number of years of experience. Some providers will allow applicants to substitute a specific engineering degree for work experience and vice versa. NICET, for example, gives applicants with a two or four year degree in an engineering technology program credit for the equivalent of 18 months of professional experience. Other requirements include supervisor verification of job duties and professional experience, professional and peer references and application and exam fees.
In addition to giving applicants a chance to prove their knowledge and skills, the certification exam also helps weed out those applicants not qualified for certification. Because certification for construction civil engineers includes a variety of specialty designations, the topics covered in the exam can vary greatly. Most exams consist of multiple-choice questions and, depending on the provider, the test takes place in-person at a testing center or online at home. In addition to the exam, some providers mandate that applicants take a certification course to help prepare for the test. ATTI automatically enrolls test-takers in a two-day review course once they apply for the exam.
Once achieved, the construction civil engineering technician certification requires renewal generally every one to three years. Along with submitting a renewal application and fee, certification holders must earn a certain number of continuing education credits during the renewal period. For example, NICET refers to its CE credits as continuing professional development points and certification holders must earn 90 CPD points in at least two of five categories. CE credits can come from traditional classroom courses, online classes, presentations, seminars, workshops, earning additional certifications and volunteer activities.
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