Engineering Engineering

Structural Engineer

Structural engineers are creative innovators, they use maths and science to design structures, solve problems, and shape the world around them.

They design structures to withstand stresses and pressures imposed through environmental conditions and human use and ensure buildings and other structures do not deflect, rotate, vibrate excessively or collapse and that they remain stable and secure throughout their use. 

Discover more about this career and other professions in construction on one of our Budding Brunels courses - find a course near you.

What The Job Involves

What are the key responsibilities for this position?


Key Responsibilities

analyse configurations of the basic structural components of a building or other structure
calculate the pressures, stresses and strains that each component, such as a beam or lintel, will experience from other parts of the structure due to human use or environmental pressures such as weather or earthquakes
consider the strength of various materials, e.g. timber, concrete, steel and brick, to see how their inclusion may necessitate a change of structural design
liaise with other designers, including architects, to agree on safe designs and their fit with the aesthetic concept of the construction
examine structures at risk of collapse and advising how to improve their structural integrity, such as recommending removal or repair of defective parts or rebuilding the entire structure
make drawings, specifications and computer models of structures for building contractors
work with geotechnical engineers to investigate ground conditions and analyse results of soil sample and in-situ tests
liaise with construction contractors to ensure that newly erected buildings are structurally sound
apply expert knowledge of the forces that act on various structures
use computers and computer-aided design (CAD) technology for simulation purposes

Why not come on one of our Budding Brunels courses to find out more about professions in construction? See our upcoming courses here.


Entry Requirements

Four or five year undergraduate degree
Followed by a minimum of three years of professional practice before being considered fully qualified
Structural engineers are licensed or accredited by the Institution of Structural Engineers
Depending on the degree course they have studied and/or the jurisdiction they are seeking licensure in, they may be accredited (or licensed) as just structural engineers, or as civil engineers, or as both civil and structural engineers

What key skills and personal attributes help with this role?

Skills & Attributes

good analytical and problem-solving skills
strong mathematical ability
computer literacy
a grasp of physics
three-dimensional conceptual skills
excellent spoken and written communication skills
creative skills - must be able to draw clear diagrams
teamwork skills
attention to detail
the ability to liaise well with professionals from other disciplines
an interest in the design and structure of buildings

How much can you expect to earn and what are the career progression options?

The following figures are intended as a guideline only.

Salary & Progression

Graduate trainees: £22,000 - £28,000
Experienced structural engineers: £28,000 - £35,000
Senior structural engineers: £35,000 - £70,000
Case Study


mechanical engineering

What did you think about this experience?

"During my placement at Network Rail I gained a lot of insight into the construction industry, particularly the railway industry.  The site visits to stations were really good as I could see the development of the track and platforms needed for the Crossrail trains.  In addition, I was able to speak to a range of people working on different aspects of the project, from civil, mechanical and signalling engineers to telecoms people and project managers.  I really enjoyed the placement and it was great to see how different engineering disciplines work together."

How do you think this experience influenced in your decisions for your future career?

"This experience has confirmed my decision to study engineering at university and I have been able to look at which engineering discipline I would like to follow.  From this placement I have developed a strong interest in mechanical engineering and gaining work experience in this type of engineering is what I hope to do next."

Find a course

Give it a go

Experience construction and learn more about this career through one of our courses.

Find a course near you or, request a course near you

Discover more about this career

Find a course near you
Key: Budding BuildersBudding Builders
Budding BrunelsBudding Brunels Head OfficeHead Office

Visit one of our friends

Want to find out more, or need more information? Contact us, or visit one of our friends below.