What is a Structural Engineer?
In short, a structural engineer is a specialised engineer who helps to create a structure. A structural engineer will be a part of the design, analysis and build of a project. The main responsibility of a structural engineer is the strength, stability, and safety of a structure. As such, those in this role must have the appropriate qualifications, training, and knowledge to perform the job or else the consequences could be severe. With this said, a career in structural engineering is achievable for everyone, and there are a number of qualification options available, from full-time degrees to part-time structural engineering courses online, and from advanced further learning to structural engineering courses for beginners.
What does a typical day as a structural engineer look like?
A typical working day as a structural engineer will involve lots of variation. You may be performing a range of tasks including stress and strain calculations, layout design and liaising with architects and other engineers. The beauty of this job is that you may be working on any type of structure, of which there are thousands in the world, from houses to stadiums to tourist attractions, and so the nature of your day to day job will largely be determined by the scale and type of project you are working on. In general, most structural engineers will have a combination of office based and site based work, with sociable working hours of 40 per week, Monday to Friday.
Benefits of a career in structural engineering
- A wide variety of prospects, worldwide
- Not limited to one area – buildings, bridges, tunnels, and aircraft to name a few
- High demand – as long as we have houses, buildings, and bridges you will always be needed
- Job satisfaction from seeing your design come to fruition
- Desirable salary of between £22,000 to £70,000 in the UK, depending on experience
- Sociable working hours – in general Monday to Friday during the day
- Good career progression – advance in seniority, become a project manager or go into lecturing or research
In order to become a structural engineer you will need to have a either a degree in structural or civil engineering or a national diploma, such as an Advanced Diploma in Structural Engineering. A diploma is a great idea for those who are not able to commit to three years of full-time study and there are various institutions offering structural engineering courses online, such as the College of Contract Management. Further benefits of taking a structural engineering course online such as the advanced diploma are:
- Flexibility and convenience – Study alongside a full-time job or other commitments, with lectures in the evenings and weekends, as well as recorded sessions available to view if you are not able to attend live. Learn from the comfort of your own home and save money, time, and energy you would spend on attending an in-person institution
- Entry requirements – If you are looking for a structural engineering course for beginners but do not meet the entry requirements for university, do not worry. Courses such as advanced diplomas have fewer pre-requisites, and so are suitable for anybody regardless of the educational background
- Affordability – Online courses are a fraction of the cost of university, and all of your money goes towards your learning, rather than paying for additional features such as infrastructure and IT services at the university. So, if you feel like you cannot afford to become a structural engineer, rest assured a more affordable option is the click of a mouse away.
Important qualities of a structural engineer
So, you have a suitable qualification, but do you also possess the necessary attributes to have a successful career? If you answer yes to the following, a career in structural engineering is for you:
- A keen eye for detail
- Good communication skills
- Aptitude for problem solving
- Excellent teamwork