what is a structural engineer?

Structural engineers are professionals who specialize in designing and analyzing structures, such as buildings, bridges, and other infrastructure. As a structural engineer, you'll work closely with architects and construction teams to ensure that structures are safe, stable, and can withstand various loads. You'll ensure that your buildings can stand up to wind, seismic activity, and gravity.

Structural engineers are responsible for creating blueprints and specifications for structures. You'll take into account factors such as the materials to be used, the intended purpose of the structure, and the environmental conditions in the area. You'll use your knowledge of physics, mathematics, and engineering principles to develop efficient and innovative solutions that meet the design requirements and safety standards.

In addition to design work, structural engineers also ensure that the structure is built according to the specifications and that safety protocols are followed. You'll also conduct inspections and tests on existing structures to identify any issues and recommend necessary repairs or improvements.

Overall, as a structural engineer, you play a crucial role in ensuring the safety, stability, and functionality of the built environment. Your work helps to create some of the most impressive and valuable structures in the world, from towering skyscrapers to intricate bridges.

Would working as a structural engineer suit your aptitude for designing and analyzing structures? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a structural engineer role.

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average structural engineer salary

The median annual wage for civil engineers, including structural engineers, was $88,570 as of May 2020. The lowest 10% of civil engineers earned less than $55,380 annually while the highest 10% earned more than $144,560 annually.

Your salary as a structural engineer varies depending on factors such as your education, experience, location, and industry. If you have advanced degrees such as a master's or a Ph.D., you will earn a higher salary than those with a bachelor's degree. Similarly, experienced structural engineers can earn more than entry-level engineers.

In terms of location, salaries can also vary widely depending on where you live. For instance, according to the BLS, structural engineers in California, New York, and Texas tend to earn higher salaries compared to the national average.

Finally, the industry that you work in can also play a role in determining your salary. For example, those in the engineering services industry tend to earn higher salaries than those in government or construction. Pursuing industry certifications and staying up-to-date with the latest technologies and trends in the field can also increase your salary prospects.

Wondering what you can earn as a structural engineer? Find out immediately with the Randstad salary checker! You can quickly and easily see what the average salary of a structural engineer is.

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types of structural engineers

Structural engineering is a broad field that encompasses various specialized areas. Here are some types of structural engineers:

  • aeronautical structural engineer: This type of structural engineer specializes in designing and analyzing aircraft structures. As an aeronautical structural engineer, you'll work closely with aerospace engineers and aircraft manufacturers. Your goal is to ensure that an aircraft is safe, stable, and can withstand various types of loads, such as turbulence and extreme weather conditions.
  • nautical structural engineer: This type of structural engineer specializes in the design and analysis of ships and offshore structures such as oil rigs. You'll work with naval architects, marine engineers, and shipbuilders to ensure that vessels are safe, stable, and can withstand waves, wind, and other stressors.
  • oil and gas structural engineer: Oil and gas structural engineers design and analyze structures used in the oil and gas industry, such as drilling platforms and pipelines. Working with oil and gas companies and construction teams, you'll ensure that drilling structures are safe and stable.

working as a structural engineer

As a structural engineer, your job is to ensure that buildings, bridges, and other structures are sound. You will work closely with architects, construction teams, and other specialists to design, plan, and oversee the construction of various structures.


structural engineer skills and education

To become a structural engineer, you typically need a bachelor's degree in civil or structural engineering. Some employers may prefer candidates who have a master's degree in a related field. Additionally, it is important for structural engineers to obtain a Professional Engineer (PE) license, which requires passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam and the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. Continuing education and professional development courses may also be required to maintain licensure.

skills and competencies

As a structural engineer, you need a strong background in mathematics and physics as well as a solid understanding of construction materials and methods. Other important skills include:

  • analytical thinking and problem-solving
  • attention to detail
  • communication skills to work with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders
  • project management skills to handle multiple projects simultaneously
  • proficiency in computer-aided design (CAD) software and other relevant software programs

You should also have a thorough understanding of building codes and regulations as well as environmental factors that may impact a structure's stability and safety. Additionally, experience working on large-scale construction projects can be beneficial for career advancement.


FAQs about working as a structural engineer

Here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about structural engineers.

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