Property management

Structural engineer

Structural engineers help to design and build large structures and buildings, like hospitals, sports stadiums and bridges.

Annual Salary

£22,000 to £50,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 40

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Structural engineer jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • working with clients, architects, and other engineering professionals
  • developing engineering plans using computer software
  • investigating the properties of building materials like glass, steel and concrete
  • advising on which material is best for the job
  • working out the loads and stresses on different parts of a building 
  • using computer models to predict how structures will react to the weather
  • working out ways to improve energy efficiency
  • inspecting unsafe buildings and deciding whether they should be demolished
  • preparing bids for contract tenders
  • supervising project teams
  • giving progress reports to clients and senior managers
  • working out why and how buildings have collapsed, like after an earthquake

University

You can do a degree or postgraduate award in:

  • structural engineering
  • architectural engineering
  • civil and structural engineering

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, including maths and a science
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

College

You can take a Level 5 Higher National Diploma in Civil Engineering at college, which may help you to find work as a trainee engineer. You'll do more training on the job to qualify.

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels for a higher national certificate or diploma

Apprenticeship

You could complete a civil engineer degree apprenticeship and take professional training afterwards to qualify in structural engineering.

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and college qualifications like A levels for a degree apprenticeship

Other Routes

You’ll usually need a degree or postgraduate qualification in structural or civil engineering.

You could also start as an engineering technician by completing an HNC, HND or foundation degree in an engineering subject. You can then become a fully qualified structural engineer with further training on the job.

Studying for an accredited qualification can help your career prospects. You’ll find accredited courses from Joint Board of Moderators (JBM).

£22,000 to £50,000

Starter salary: £22,000 (graduate)

Experienced salary: £24,000 to £40,000

These figures are a guide.

35 to 40

You’ll usually work from 35 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday, with a combination of office work and site visits.

You could work on projects overseas.

You could move into construction design, project management, research and lecturing. 

You could also move into consultancy work, like providing services to building insurers, or work overseas on construction and engineering projects with disaster relief agencies like RedR UK.

The Institution of Structural Engineers and Go Construct have more information about careers in structural engineering.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You’ll need:

  • excellent skills in maths, IT and science
  • creativity
  • project management skills
  • the ability to manage a budget
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