How To Become A Structural Engineer

If you are a student who is interested in buildings or unusual structures and you have an aptitude for subjects including mathematics, science, technology and design, then a career as a structural engineer could be something you may want to pursue.

So how do you go about becoming a structural engineer?  Read on for more information.

How to become a structural engineer

Your career as a structural engineer begins with your exam choices at school.  The core subjects that you will need to do well in are mathematics and the sciences.  It will also be useful to include other subjects including computing, art, geography, technology and design.  It's important to remember that engineering is both an art and a science so you will need to have a flair for both in order to be successful.  You should continue to pursue your studies in these subjects up to 'A' level. 

During your school days, it would be helpful to try to organise a week's work experience with a firm of structural engineers.  This will give you a chance to see exactly what kind of tasks the job entails and you may also make some useful contacts for future employment. Structural engineering firms consult on and help throughout many steps of construction, so learning as much as you can about these processes can help you decide if it's something you want to be involved with.

Additional qualifications and apprenticeships

When you finish school, you can choose to pursue professional engineering qualifications through university.  Alternatively, you may be able to secure an apprenticeship with a firm of structural engineers, which may enable you to continue your education whilst working.  This approach has many advantages in that you will be able to learn on-the-job whilst earning a living and accumulating relevant experience.

You can often find details of companies that offer graduate positions and apprenticeships via their company websites or through adverts placed in industry publications.  Your college or school careers adviser may also be able to provide you with some useful contacts.  Keep an eye on your local press for announcements about industry trade exhibitions; it's often worth attending events like these as you can often make useful contacts at local firms who might have vacancies for apprentices.

Careers for engineers are also available within the armed forces so it may be worth having a chat with a local recruitment officer to see what's available.

If you are good at subjects such as mathematics and science and you're interested in the design and construction of buildings and other structures, a career as a structural engineer could be something you might like to consider.