Structural engineers typically have analytical and mathematical minds and are proficient at problem-solving. Leadership and management abilities with strong interpersonal communication skills are also essential. Some projects require three-dimensional conceptual skills and knowledge of physics.
Structural engineers can work with various structural materials
, such as steel, concrete, masonry, and wood.
To become a structural engineer, individuals typically need a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, with a focus on structural engineering coursework. This degree program covers essential topics such as structural analysis, mechanics of materials, steel and concrete design, and structural dynamics. Some universities also offer dedicated structural engineering degrees, providing students with a more focused education in this field.
Upon completing a bachelor's degree, aspiring structural engineers may choose to pursue a master's degree in structural engineering, further expanding their knowledge and expertise in this discipline. In addition to formal education, many engineering jobs, including structural engineer jobs, require professional licensure. In the United States, this involves passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, gaining relevant work experience, and subsequently passing the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam to obtain the Professional Engineer (PE) job title.