Civil Engineering Technician/Draughtsperson Kaihangarau/Kaihoahoa Mataaro Metarahi

Civil engineering technicians/draughtspeople plan and draw the technical details for building and repairing roads, bridges, buildings and other structures.

Civil engineering technicians can become chartered members of Engineering New Zealand and register as certified engineering technicians.

Civil engineering technicians/draughtspeople may do some or all of the following:

  • plan and design structures such as roads, buildings and bridges
  • make detailed drawings of structures using computer-aided design (CAD) software
  • prepare construction plans that include budgets, costs and timetables
  • check on the progress of civil engineering projects and supervise maintenance and repair work
  • discuss and report design, planning or construction problems with engineers
  • direct, perform and analyse field and laboratory testing of sites and materials
  • consult with private clients, government agencies, contractors and other professionals.

Physical Requirements

Civil engineering technicians/draughtspeople need to be reasonably fit as they may have to walk long distances to work sites, and carry equipment.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for civil engineering technicians/draughtspeople includes:

  • work in engineering or construction
  • work with tools and machinery
  • draughting experience.

A good way to gain industry experience is to do a cadetship or get part-time work with an engineering firm.

Personal Qualities

Civil engineering technicians/draughtspeople need to be:

  • good at problem solving
  • organised and responsible
  • practical, methodical and accurate
  • able to make good judgements
  • able to work well under pressure.


Civil engineering technicians/draughtspeople need to have:

  • knowledge of civil engineering practices and draughting ability
  • knowledge of building methods and materials
  • skill in analysing and interpreting information such as client requirements, plans and designs
  • computer skills, including the ability to use computer-aided design (CAD) software
  • knowledge of relevant legislation and processes such as the Resource Management Act, the New Zealand Building Code, local by-laws and town planning regulations.


Civil engineering technicians/draughtspeople:

  • usually work regular business hours, but may also work evenings and weekends
  • work in offices and at building sites
  • may travel to work on engineering projects around New Zealand or overseas.

Subject Recommendations

To gain entry to the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (NZDE) course, it is recommended that you have a minimum of 48 NCEA credits at Level 2 in four subjects, including at least 12 credits in maths. Physics is also highly recommended, and technology subjects may be useful.

Civil Engineering Technician/Draughtspersons can earn around $50K-$70K per year.

Chances of getting a job as a Civil Engineering Technician/Draughtsperson are good due to a shortage of people interested in this type of work.

Pay for civil engineering technicians/draughtspeople varies depending on skills and experience.

  • Civil engineering cadets (who work while completing their training part time) usually earn between minimum wage and $50,000 a year.
  • Civil engineering technicians/draughtspeople with one to four years' experience usually earn $50,000 to $70,000.
  • Civil engineering technicians/draughtspeople with more than four years' experience usually earn $70,000 to $110,000.

Civil engineering technicians/draughtspeople who work as contractors may also get a vehicle and other benefits. 

Source: research, 2020; Hays, 'FY 19/20 Hays Salary Guide', 2020; and Engineering New Zealand, 2020.

Civil engineering technicians/draughtspeople can progress within an engineering firm to partner level.

Some become civil engineers by completing a Bachelor of Engineering Technology or a Bachelor of Engineering. Courses completed for the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering can often be cross-credited towards a degree.

Civil engineering technicians may progress to become building and construction managers.

They may also specialise in areas such as water supply, roading and structural engineering.

Years Of Training

1-2 years of training usually required.

Civil engineering technician

To become a civil engineering technician you need to complete a New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (NZDE) – Civil Engineering. This qualification takes two years of full-time study to complete.

Alternatively, some companies offer cadetships, so you can study part time towards the diploma while working.

Once on the job, civil engineering technicians can work towards completing the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering Practice (NZDEP). This leads to certification as an engineering technician and chartered membership of Engineering New Zealand

Civil engineering draughtsperson

Employers prefer to hire civil engineering draughtspeople with experience in specific CAD (computer-aided design) software. Alternatively, you may be able to complete a diploma in CAD.

A New Zealand Diploma in Engineering is not necessary to become a draughtsperson, but it is useful. 

Civil Engineering Technician/Draughtsperson