How do I become a structural engineer?

Structural engineering is certainly an exciting career path, with these highly skilled professionals responsible for designing the impressive structures and support systems for our built environment. If the idea of helping to design everything from bridges and schools to hospitals and stadiums fills you full of creative ideas, a structural engineering qualification could be a great route for you.

If you are wondering how to become a structural engineer, our team have put together this quick guide to set you on the right path.

What academic qualifications do I need?

To become a structural engineer, you will need to achieve an academic qualification, with accredited engineering degrees at either BEng or MEng level being the most popular entry routes. There are various university and college-based degrees available in subjects such as structural engineering, architectural engineering, and civil engineering, with each offering a great foundation for this career path.

The degree-based entry routes tend to be available to those who have studied A Levels or equivalent qualifications, although it is still possible to become a structural engineer through an apprenticeship route. Depending on your previous qualifications, there are gradual steppingstones which can be followed to take you from Level 3 GCSE qualifications through to the Level 6-degree level apprenticeships, with eventual Chartered Structural Engineer status.

Do I need professional experience?

Although academic qualifications are essential within this career path, the hands-on practical experience gained on the job is also vital. We always recommend courses which offer industry placements alongside studies, as the relevant work experience is invaluable, and it can help guide you towards your preferred specialism.

In addition, as this is such as fast-moving industry with new technologies, building materials and methods always developing, once you gain your qualifications it is still important to stay up to date with industry wide developments.

What skills do I need to be a structural engineer?

Of course, before you dive into a lengthy course, it is important to decide whether your skills, personality and interests are suited to a career in engineering. In general, you should have a natural interest for science, technology, design, and maths. These are areas which you will be studying daily during your qualification route, and you should also have a natural ability for solving complex problems though excellent attention to detail and reasoning skills.

Chartered engineering status

Once you have the required experience and qualifications, structural engineers often apply for Chartered status through either the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) or the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). Both of these professional membership organisations are the ultimate sign of knowledge and experience, and in many cases Chartered status will be required to access the wealth of opportunities this exciting industry has to offer.

Simplify Structural Engineering – Chartered under the Institution of Civil Engineers

Here at Simplify Structural Engineering, we are passionate about supporting entrants into the world of engineering, with many recent graduates and apprentices all choosing Simplify as their place to start their career. If you would like to find out more about our apprenticeship opportunities or our graduate-entry positions, please contact our team today and we will be more than happy to discuss potential roles.