How to become a Highway Engineer

highway engineer careers

What does a Highway Engineer do?

Incorporated highway engineers plan, design, build and maintain road transport systems, taking into account geographical features, impact on the environment and community, the type of traffic which will use the road and local authority planning procedures. The design will include traffic management systems such as traffic signals, roundabouts, one-way systems, traffic calming systems, cycle-ways, safe routes, parking and pedestrianisation schemes. Incorporated highway engineers may be responsible for either a whole project or a part of a project.

Work with other professionals such as chartered engineers and surveyors is carried out to decide on appropriate construction materials, and the incorporated highway engineer may oversee the project site to ensure that the construction or maintenance is in line with specifications.

Incorporated highway engineers need knowledge of planning legislation and environmental and social issues, and may assist in drawing up policies and reports for government, local authorities or other agencies in relation to road building, transport, or other associated planning matters. They may also give evidence at public inquiries into planning matters and could be involved in local public consultations.

What's the working environment like working as a Highway Engineer?

Working hours vary, and there may be on-call duties and unsocial hours.

Incorporated highway engineers work in offices and on construction sites where conditions may be dirty and cold or wet. Extensive travel and both long and short periods away from home may be required.

What does it take to become a Highway Engineer?

To be an incorporated highway engineer you should:

  • have a detailed, methodical approach and be able to work to deadlines
  • understand planning and safety legislation
  • have sound technical knowledge with management and computer skills, and a high degree of numeracy
  • be able to produce and interpret technical drawings
  • have well-developed communication skills for preparing reports and presenting information
  • work equally well alone and as part of a team
  • hold a driving licence.

Highway Engineer Career Opportunities

Incorporated highway engineers work for local and national government, for consultants, specialist contracting and construction companies which undertake engineering projects in Britain and abroad. They can also work for materials suppliers and producers. Promotion is usually to team leader or consultant. Incorporated highway engineers may also become general managers.

Experienced incorporated highway engineers may set up their own business or work on a freelance basis as consultants specialising in certain types of projects. There are many opportunities to work overseas for British-based organisations and for international organisations.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Highway Engineer that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Institute of Highway Incorporated Engineers
20 Queensberry Place
Tel: 020 7823 9093

The Engineering Council
10 Maltravers Street
Tel: 020 7240 7891

Institution of Civil Engineers
1 Great George Street
Tel: 020 7222 7722

Engineering and Marine Training Authority (EMTA) *
EMTA House
14 Upton Road
Tel: 01923 238441

Construction Industry Training Board *
Bircham Newton
King's Lynn
PE31 6RH
Tel: 01485 577577

National Training Organisations (NTOs) ceased to be recognised by the government on 31 March 2002. However, some will continue operating for several months. Please contact individual NTOs with queries regarding their current status.

From March 2002, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills began licensing new Sector Skills Councils - charged with boosting skills and productivity in business sectors. For information about Sector Skills Councils, their roles and responsibilities, please visit the Sector Skills Development Agency website: www.ssda.org.uk

Facts and Stats:

  • Isambard Kingdom Brunel was only 5ft tall and wore a top hat to make himself look taller
  • Engineering generates more than 40 per cent of the UK¿s national wealth
  • The Box Hill tunnel, part of Brunel¿s Great Western Railway, took five years to dig and at two miles long was the longest tunnel in the world at the time

Courses to help you become a Highway Engineer