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Become A Structural Design Engineer

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Working As A Structural Design Engineer

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • $103,446

    Average Salary

What Does A Structural Design Engineer Do

Civil engineers design, build, supervise, operate, and maintain construction projects and systems in the public and private sector, including roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and systems for water supply and sewage treatment. Many civil engineers work in design, construction, research, and education.

Duties

Civil engineers typically do the following:

  • Analyze long range plans, survey reports, maps, and other data in order to plan projects
  • Consider construction costs, government regulations, potential environmental hazards, and other factors in planning the stages of, and risk analysis for, a project
  • Compile and submit permit applications to local, state, and federal agencies, verifying that projects comply with various regulations
  • Perform or oversee soil testing to determine the adequacy and strength of foundations
  • Test building materials, such as concrete, asphalt, or steel, for use in particular projects
  • Provide cost estimates for materials, equipment, or labor to determine a project’s economic feasibility
  • Use design software to plan and design transportation systems, hydraulic systems, and structures in line with industry and government standards
  • Perform or oversee surveying operations in order to establish reference points, grades, and elevations to guide construction
  • Present their findings to the public on topics such as bid proposals, environmental impact statements, or descriptions of property
  • Manage the repair, maintenance, and replacement of public and private infrastructure

Civil engineers inspect projects to insure regulatory compliance. In addition, they are tasked with ensuring that safe work practices are followed at construction sites.

Many civil engineers hold supervisory or administrative positions ranging from supervisor of a construction site to city engineer, public works director, and city manager. Others work in design, construction, research, and teaching. Civil engineers work with others on projects and may be assisted by civil engineering technicians.

Civil engineers prepare permit documents for work on projects in renewable energy. They verify that the projects will comply with federal, state, and local requirements. With regard to solar energy, these engineers conduct structural analyses for large-scale photovoltaic projects. They also evaluate the ability of solar array support structures and buildings to tolerate stresses from wind, seismic activity, and other sources. For large-scale wind projects, civil engineers often prepare roadbeds to handle large trucks that haul in the turbines. In addition, they prepare the sites on the shore or offshore to make sure that the foundations for the turbines will safely keep them upright in expected environmental conditions.

Civil engineers work on complex projects, so they usually specialize in one of several areas.

Construction engineers manage construction projects, ensuring that they are scheduled and built in accordance with plans and specifications. These engineers typically are responsible for the design and safety of temporary structures used during construction.

Geotechnical engineers work to make sure that foundations are solid. They focus on how structures built by civil engineers, such as buildings and tunnels, interact with the earth (including soil and rock). In addition, they design and plan for slopes, retaining walls, and tunnels.

Structural engineers design and assess major projects, such as buildings, bridges, or dams, to ensure their strength and durability.

Transportation engineers plan, design, operate, and maintain everyday systems, such as streets and highways, but they also plan larger projects, such as airports, ship ports, mass transit systems, and harbors.

The work of civil engineers is closely related to the work of environmental engineers.

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How To Become A Structural Design Engineer

Civil engineers need a bachelor’s degree. They typically need a graduate degree and licensure for promotion to senior positions. Although licensure requirements vary within the United States, civil engineers usually must be licensed in the locations where they provide services directly to the public.

Education

Civil engineers need a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, in one of its specialties, or in civil engineering technology. Programs in civil engineering and civil engineering technology include coursework in math, statistics, engineering mechanics and systems, and fluid dynamics, among other courses, depending on the specialty. Courses include a mix of traditional classroom learning, work in laboratories, and fieldwork.

A degree from a program accredited by the ABET is needed in order to earn the professional engineer (PE) license. In many states, a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering technology also will suffice as an academic requirement for obtaining a license.

About 1 in 4 civil engineers has a master’s degree. Further education after the bachelor’s degree, along with the PE license and previous experience, is helpful in getting a job as a manager. For more information on engineering managers, see the profile on architectural and engineering managers.

Important Qualities

Decisionmaking skills. Civil engineers often balance multiple and frequently conflicting objectives, such as determining the feasibility of plans with regard to financial costs and safety concerns. Urban and regional planners often look to civil engineers for advice on these issues. Civil engineers must be able to make good decisions based on best practices, their own technical knowledge, and their own experience.

Leadership skills. Civil engineers take ultimate responsibility for the projects that they manage or research that they perform. Therefore, they must be able to lead planners, surveyors, construction managers, civil engineering technicians, civil engineering technologists, and others in implementing their project plan.

Math skills. Civil engineers use the principles of calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced topics in mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Organizational skills. Only licensed civil engineers can sign the design documents for infrastructure projects. This requirement makes it imperative that civil engineers be able to monitor and evaluate the work at the jobsite as a project progresses. That way, they can ensure compliance with the design documents. Civil engineers also often manage several projects at the same time, and thus must be able to balance time needs and to effectively allocate resources.

Problem-solving skills. Civil engineers work at the highest level of the planning, design, construction, and operation of multifaceted projects or research. The many variables involved require that they possess the ability to identify and evaluate complex problems. They must be able to then utilize their skill and training to develop cost-effective, safe, and efficient solutions.

Speaking skills. Civil engineers must present reports and plans to audiences of people with a wide range of backgrounds and technical knowledge. This requires the ability to speak clearly and to converse with people in various settings, and to translate engineering and scientific information into easy to understand concepts.

Writing skills. Civil engineers must be able to communicate with others, such as architects, landscape architects, and urban and regional planners. They also must be able to explain projects to elected officials and citizens. This means that civil engineers must be able to write reports that are clear, concise, and understandable to those with little or no technical or scientific background.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as a civil engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, approve design plans, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years working under a licensed engineer
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after earning a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam commonly are called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Each state issues its own licenses. Most states recognize licensure from other states, as long as the licensing state’s requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements. Several states require continuing education for engineers to keep their licenses.

Advancement

Civil engineers with ample experience may move into senior positions, such as project managers or functional managers of design, construction, operation, or maintenance. However, they would first need to obtain the Professional Engineering (PE) license, because only licensed engineers can assume responsibilities for public projects.

After gaining licensure, a professional engineer may seek credentialing that attests to his or her expertise in a civil engineering specialty. Such a credential may be of help for advancement to senior technical or even managerial positions.

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Structural Design Engineer jobs

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Structural Design Engineer Career Paths

Average Length of Employment
Design Engineer 3.4 years
Top Employers Before
Designer 3.5%
Engineer 2.8%
Internship 2.8%
Top Employers After
Engineer 3.7%

Structural Design Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

83.8%

Female

12.5%

Unknown

3.8%
Ethnicity

White

64.8%

Asian

16.8%

Hispanic or Latino

10.3%

Unknown

6.8%

Black or African American

1.3%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

37.3%

Arabic

11.8%

German

7.8%

French

5.9%

Mandarin

5.9%

Chinese

3.9%

Cantonese

3.9%

Turkish

2.0%

Portuguese

2.0%

Nepali

2.0%

Ukrainian

2.0%

Persian

2.0%

Filipino

2.0%

Carrier

2.0%

Hindi

2.0%

Tagalog

2.0%

Russian

2.0%

Shan

2.0%

Italian

2.0%
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Structural Design Engineer Education

Schools

Wichita State University

14.9%

University of Southern California

7.5%

Washington State University

6.8%

University of Houston

5.6%

Wayne State University

5.0%

Purdue University

5.0%

University of Florida

4.3%

Arizona State University

4.3%

University of Washington

4.3%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.3%

University of Texas at Austin

4.3%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.7%

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

3.7%

Missouri University of Science and Technology

3.7%

University of Colorado at Boulder

3.7%

Pennsylvania State University

3.7%

University of Pittsburgh -

3.7%

University of Kansas

3.7%

Auburn University

3.7%

Tennessee Technological University

3.7%
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Majors

Civil Engineering

38.2%

Mechanical Engineering

26.4%

Aerospace Engineering

7.6%

Engineering

5.3%

Business

4.2%

Drafting And Design

3.5%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

2.4%

Architectural Engineering

1.8%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.7%

Industrial Engineering

1.1%

Construction Management

1.1%

Manufacturing Engineering

0.9%

Project Management

0.9%

Computer Science

0.9%

Finance

0.8%

Industrial Technology

0.8%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

0.8%

Systems Engineering

0.6%

Computer Information Systems

0.6%

Civil Engineering Technologies

0.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.5%

Masters

32.2%

Other

11.6%

Doctorate

4.5%

Associate

2.9%

Certificate

2.8%

Diploma

0.7%
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Internship
Temporary

Real Structural Design Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Principal Structural Design Engineer Air Resources Americas LLC Houston, TX Jul 22, 2013 $340,000 -
$400,000
Civil & Structural Design Engineer NES Global, LLC New Orleans, LA Dec 29, 2014 $158,000
Junior Pdms Structural Design Engineer NES Global, LLC Houston, TX Apr 29, 2013 $150,000
Structural & Payloads Design Engineer Volt Management Corp Long Beach, CA Jan 08, 2015 $140,142
SR. Structural Design Engineer Hi-TEK Professionals, Inc. Wichita, KS May 28, 2014 $136,000
Structural Design & Integration Engineer Can-Am Consultants, Inc. Wichita, KS Oct 01, 2015 $133,422
SR. Structural Design Engineer International Plant Services, LLC La Porte, TX Jan 22, 2015 $126,464
Structural & Payloads Design Engineer 3 Volt Management Corp Long Beach, CA Jan 08, 2015 $121,213
Structural & Payloads Design Engineer 3 Volt Management Corp Long Beach, CA Jan 08, 2015 $121,150
Design Engineer 3-Structural Fluor Enterprises, Inc. Sugar Land, TX Jan 02, 2013 $120,000
Structural Design Engineers CTS Technical Services, Inc. Savannah, GA Oct 20, 2016 $119,101
Structural Design Engineers CTS Technical Services, Inc. Savannah, GA Aug 09, 2016 $119,101
Technical Specialist I Structural Design Engineer Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation Savannah, GA Sep 23, 2015 $118,955
Structural & Payload Design Engineer CTS Technical Services, Inc. Ladson, SC Apr 01, 2015 $105,644 -
$125,220
Intermediate Structural Design Engineer Composite Fokker Aerostructures, Inc. Mukilteo, WA Feb 01, 2014 $105,000 -
$123,700
Structural Design Engineer (Payloads) CTS Technical Services, Inc. Everett, WA Aug 01, 2014 $102,263
Structural Design Engineer CTS Technical Services, Inc. Tukwila, WA Sep 11, 2014 $102,263
Civil/Stuctural Design Engineer International Plant Services, LLC The Woodlands, TX Oct 01, 2014 $102,000
Structural/Design Engineer II John Zink Company, LLC Tulsa, OK Aug 03, 2016 $99,466
Structural Design Engineer The Boeing Company Everett, WA Nov 26, 2016 $97,698 -
$112,000
Structural Design Engineer John Zink Company, LLC Tulsa, OK Nov 20, 2015 $75,000
Structural Design Engineer IV Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Inc. Seattle, WA Aug 23, 2014 $74,700
Structural Design Engineer III Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Inc. Seattle, WA Aug 23, 2014 $74,700
Structural Design Engineer III Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Inc. Seattle, WA Apr 28, 2015 $74,672
Intermediate Structural Design Engineer Fokker Aerostructures, Inc. Mukilteo, WA May 30, 2015 $74,570 -
$104,954
Structural Design Engineer David Mar Structural Design Studio, Inc. Berkeley, CA Mar 16, 2015 $74,290
Structural Engineer, CAD Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Hyattsville, MD Sep 30, 2013 $74,051

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Top Skills for A Structural Design Engineer

StructuralDesignCatiaV5EnoviaLCALayoutFuselageAutocadStructuralAnalysisACICADCatiaV4SteelStructuresTPDMGDFiniteElementAnalysisStructuralComponentsSupportStructureDesignConceptsShopDrawingsAisc

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Top Structural Design Engineer Skills

  1. Structural Design
  2. Catia V5
  3. Enovia LCA
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Created structural design penetrations to provide passages for systems routing changes and a larger aircraft engine.
  • Modeled tube routing throughout aircraft; prepared drawings both detail and installation using CATIA V5.
  • Design check and release methods through ENOVIA LCA per Sikorsky's design standard.
  • Experienced in developing layouts, specifications and Interface Control Documents.
  • Bonded fuselage and wing assembly delivered in ten months from start of design.

Top Structural Design Engineer Employers

Structural Design Engineer Videos

Bucknell Civil Engineering 2013 Senior Design Project

Career Spotlight: Civil Engineer

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