Structural engineer

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

Average salary (a year)

£22,000 Starter


£50,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

40 to 42 a week

You could work

between 8am and 6pm

How to become a Structural engineer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • working towards this role


To qualify, 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.

It’s important that you study for an accredited qualification as this can help your career prospects later on.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

More information


You could start off as an engineering technician by completing a BTEC higher national certificate, higher national diploma or a foundation degree in an engineering subject. You can then become a fully qualified structural engineer with further training on the job.

More information

Further information

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

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
  • knowledge of English language
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to read English
  • You will be expected to use a computer confidently as part of this job.

What you'll do

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 could work on a construction site, on a demolition site, in a commercial building, on commercial land or in an office.

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

You may need to wear safety clothing.

Career path and progression

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.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Civil Engineer Apprentice

  • Wage : £148.00 Weekly
  • Location: Dover CT16 1BL

Degree Apprenticeship – Civil Engineering – South East

  • Wage : Competitive salary
  • Location: Croydon CR0 0XT

Courses In England

BEng (Hons) Civil Engineering (DA)

  • Provider: University of Portsmouth
  • Start date: 15 September 2019
  • Location: PORTSMOUTH

Civil Engineer Degree Apprenticeship - Subject to Validation

  • Start date: 03 September 2019
  • Location:

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