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Structural engineer

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

Annual Salary

£24,000 to £55,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 42 a week

You could work: between 8am and 6pm;

Future employment

There will be 2.4% more Structural engineer jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

As a structural engineer  you could:

  • develop engineering plans using computer software
  • investigate the properties of building materials like glass, steel and concrete
  • work out the loads and stresses on different parts of a building
  • use computer models to predict how structures will react to the weather
  • inspect unsafe buildings and decide whether they should be demolished
  • work out why and how buildings have collapsed

Possible green job

This job could help the environment.

For a structural engineer to be a green job, you could:

  • create energy efficient building designs
  • recommend the use of low-carbon materials like sustainably sourced timber and recycled steel
  • design structures which can be used to generate sustainable energy

Find out more about green careers

Working environment

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

You could work in an office, at a client's business, on a construction site or on a demolition site.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time and at height.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

You can do a degree or postgraduate course in:

  • structural engineering
  • architectural engineering
  • civil and structural engineering

You might have an advantage if you do a course that includes an internship or a year in industry placement. Your university careers service can advise on how to find relevant work experience.

You can find accredited courses through the Engineering Council.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and a science for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information

You could do a college course in civil engineering. This might help you to find work as a trainee structural engineer. You'll then need to do more training on the job to qualify.

For more information

You could apply to do a Civil Engineer Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship and take professional training afterwards to qualify as a structural engineer.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
For more information

You could start as a civil engineering technician and study for a degree qualification while you're working.

More information

Career tips

If you're 11 to 18 years old, you can do 'taster' days and short residential courses with the Engineering Development Trust (EDT).

This will give you an idea of what it's like to study and work in engineering.

Professional and industry bodies

You can become a member of The Institution of Structural Engineers.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in structural engineering from The Institution of Structural Engineers and Go Construct.

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You could move into:construction design; project management; research or lecturing; freelance consultancy work, like providing services to building insurers; work on construction and engineering projects overseas, with disaster relief agencies

You could also specialise in:renewable energy projects; sustainable building materials; forensics, where you investigate why a building or structure has failed

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:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of building and construction
  • design skills and knowledge
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to read English
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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