What it takes to get into structural engineering

Structural Engineering

A structural engineer is someone who designs, plans and oversees the construction of new buildings or bridges, or even alterations to existing structures or properties, with the focus being on ensuring that the building itself is structurally secure and designed in a way that will last the test of time. Structural Engineering itself can be very rewarding, especially when you see your design turn from design into reality.

As part of the job, a structural engineer will work on things such as:

  • load and stress calculations for buildings/structures
  • the preparation of reports, drawings and designs
  • providing technical advice
  • selections of the best materials for construction based on requirements
  • working with relevant professional staff, such as architects
  • applying for and obtaining planning permissions for jobs where needed
  • project management
  • property inspection for safety
  • monitoring and inspecting the work done by contractors

Structural engineers have 2 job paths they can go down, one is as a contractor who will be on site overseeing the build job and ensuring that the build fits the requirements from the design; as well as the option to work within an office, creating the designs that a contractor will follow for a building, construction/engineering consultancies will often have members for both, allowing for both the design and build to be managed.

In terms of the working hours for a structural engineer, it depends on the type of engineer, for one based primarily in an office, they will follow standard office hours with overtime needed for deadline driven projects, while an engineer working on site will likely have longer hours and more overtime needed for project completion.

Qualifications Needed

There are paths into a career in structural engineering for both university graduates and school leavers.

Graduates will need a degree in civil or structural engineering certified by the Organization of Structural Engineers. You can then acquire one of two identified professional credentials with the Institution of Structural Engineers. You can apply for bundled engineer (IEng) status with a BEng, or charted engineer (CEng) status if you graduated with a BEng plus a masters, or an MEng. Both titles will assist career potential customers, however chartered engineers are frequently of higher worth to employers.

You then need to complete period of occupation training with a certified employer, in addition to an expert evaluation, before you can get either of these titles.

Appropriate work experience will boost your graduate application. Many employers offer sponsorship, trip work and ‘year out’ positionings which can provide important contacts and a helpful insight into the occupation.

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