Structural engineers help to design and build structures, from hospitals and bridges to oil rigs.

What does a structural engineer do?

Structural engineers work closely with clients, architects, contractors and other engineering professionals to make improvements to existing buildings, for example adding extra structural safety features. Duties might include:

  • developing engineering plans using computer-aided design software
  • investigating the properties of different building materials
  • working out the loads and stresses on different parts of a building
  • using computer models to predict how structures will react under a variety of weather conditions

What do I need to do to become a structural engineer ?

To do this job, you’ll need to have skills in maths and science and be good at solving problems. If you’re interested in the design and structure of buildings and have a lot of creative ideas, this could be the ideal career for you.

You'll normally need a degree or postgraduate qualification in structural or civil engineering. You may also be able to get started with a degree in a related subject, such as construction, the built environment or maths, but it may take you longer to qualify. 

Related skills

  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Financial planning
  • Interpersonal skills
  • IT
  • Numeracy
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Time management

Academic route

  • Five GCSEs (A-C)
  • Two or three A levels, including maths and a science subject (normally physics)

Vocational route

  • Level 3 diploma in engineering
  • HNC/HND or foundation degree in an engineering subject

Essential qualifications

  • A degree in structural or civil engineering.

Desirable qualifications

  • Postgraduate qualification in structural or civil engineering

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

As well as working in building construction, you could use your skills to work in construction design, project management, research and lecturing. 

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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