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How to become a Structural Engineer

Structural Engineer
avg. starting salary

Ready to lay the foundations for a new career? Penchant for making tenuous jokes about your profession? You should become a Structural Engineer… Structural Engineers design, develop, build and maintain structures. These structures could include skyscrapers, large buildings, oil rigs, bridges and dams, or any other structure which may require specialist attention Working primarily as consultants to architects or contractors, Structural Engineers are primarily concerned with safety and the environmental effects of their work, rather than just being obsessed with building things big. Typical duties for a Structural Engineer could include:
  • Using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) to calculate pressures and stresses on different components of a structure
  • Managing risk, and mitigating the effect of environmental forces on a structure (such as high winds, snow or earthquakes)
  • Weighing up the strength of various materials, and measuring their overall impact on a structure if used during construction
  • Inspecting new structures during construction to make sure everything meets regulations
  • Overseeing the demolition or remodelling and repair of structures which are unsafe
  • Making sure all work meets legal requirements and health and safety standards

As with most roles within Engineering, to become a Structural Engineer excellent analytical and mathematical skills are absolutely essential. However, what really makes a potential Structural Engineer stand out is a flair for solving potentially complex problems, and a preference for safety and the laws of physics over aesthetic design. If you just want to build things that look good, becoming a Structural Engineer may not be your true calling. Other key skills and attributes include:
  • A natural talent for science
  • Critical thinking skills
  • The ability to work well under pressure
  • A good knowledge of building regulations and a high regard for safety
  • Computer literacy
  • Exceptional communication skills


Structural Engineer

Up to £32,000

Chartered Engineer

Up to £50,000

"If you build it, they will come. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you should build it, and that they’ll be safe. That’s basically how I’d sum up being a Structural Engineer. Making plans for the biggest buildings in the world is all very well, but without the right foundations these designs would never meet the light of day. And although it may not be particularly glamorous, through my work I know that I'm keeping people safe and secure whenever they step into one of my buildings. And that’s more than enough for me."

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