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Design & planning

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 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

40 to 42 a week

You could work: between 8am and 6pm;

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Structural engineer jobs in 2025.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

In this role you could be:

  • 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

Working environment

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

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

Your working environment may be cramped, dusty, at height, outdoors some of the time and noisy.

You can get into this job through:

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

You can do a degree or postgraduate award in:

  • structural engineering
  • architectural engineering
  • civil and structural engineering

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
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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national certificate or higher national diploma
For more information
Apprenticeship

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

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
Work

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

More information

Career tips

If you're aged between 11 and 18, you can do 'taster' days and short residential courses with the Engineering Development Trust to get an idea of what it's like to study and work in engineering.

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 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:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of building and construction
  • design skills and knowledge
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of English language
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to read English
  • business management skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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