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Structural engineer

Alternative titles for this job include

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

Average salary (a year)

£24,000 Starter


£55,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 42 a week

You could work

between 8am and 6pm

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a structural engineer

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 out about accredited courses from 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

More Information


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

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for these courses vary.

More Information


You could complete 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

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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.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

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
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role 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
  • work out ways to improve energy efficiency
  • inspect unsafe buildings and decide whether they should be demolished
  • work out why and how buildings have collapsed

Working environment

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 may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You could move into:

  • construction design
  • project management
  • research
  • lecturing
  • freelance consultancy work, like providing services to building insurers
  • helping on construction and engineering projects overseas with disaster relief agencies

You could also specialise in an area of work such as:

  • renewable energy projects
  • sustainable building materials
  • forensics, where you investigate why a building or structure has failed

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Civil Engineering Degree Apprenticeship (Level 6) - Nationwide

  • Wage: Competitive salary Annually
  • Location: Not known

Ground Engineering - Level 6 Apprenticeship - London

  • Wage: Competitive salary Annually
  • Location: London

Courses In England

Civil Engineering — BTEC Level 3 Diploma

  • Start date: 09 September 2024
  • Location: LIVERPOOL

Civil Engineering BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: Wigan

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