A Guide to a Career as a Structural Engineer

A Guide to a Career as a Structural Engineer

Written by Deepak Bhagat, In Education, Published On
July 22, 2022

Structural engineering involves creating and building structures that can be used as offices, churches, stadiums, bridges, dams, and so much more. This career choice will require you to learn how much weight and force a structure can handle, and how to construct it securely so people can use them.

The responsibilities of a structural engineer are rather demanding, so this must be something you are truly ready to pursue. Not to mention it can be extremely profitable for you financially, especially if you are good at your job. Still interested? Read on to learn how to get started.

A Guide to a Career as a Structural Engineer

  • Education First

Just as with most careers, formal education in the subject on a high academic level is required. To start, you must earn a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in civil or structural engineering. The entrance requirements for university admission in the US differ depending on the state you reside in. The most common requirements are a high level of math, including calculus with the inclusion of chemistry, and computer science with your high school diploma.

Oftentimes science and environmental studies are required. At the very least, they will be very beneficial to your studies. You need to know about biology, plants, chemistry, and if something in your structure might be bad for the environment or the people that will use it. These factors come into play constantly when you are designing a structure that will need to withstand external forces such as the weather.

  • Become Recognized with Certifications

Even with 10 years of studies behind you, without that formal certificate, you will not be able to get a job. It is a basic requirement just like with most trades, such as locksmithing, electrical work, construction, and manufacturing.

You will need one main certification if you remain in the US, The Structural Engineering License (SE), certification. Once you have this certification under your belt, you will be able to apply for a job with a reputable company. Places such as this structural engineering Saint Louis office are always looking for fresh new talent. There is a waiting period in which you are allowed to qualify, but this differs by state. You are looking at five years at least. These certifications also must be registered through the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). This is the licensing board for all American states, including parts of South America.

  • Expectations and Your Future

This career is an excellent choice if you enjoy technical drawing, or just building things. There are a few other skills that you need to adopt if you want to be successful though. For one, you need to have attention to detail. You are dealing with structures that people may walk on, so every aspect matters. You will also need to be highly organized because you will be working with large projects that have many moving parts.

Once you are qualified and in the field of structural engineering you can expect to be mostly office-bound. Your job will be to focus on the design, but occasionally you will need to go to construction sites to take measurements or alter your design.

The nature of the job could take you to other places in the world. New structures are always being built, so you could see a bit of international travel time in your future. No doubt this is a worthwhile career, and the sooner you can get started, the better.

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