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Become A Structural Designer

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Working As A Structural Designer

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • $79,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Structural Designer 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 Designer

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 Designer Career Paths

Structural Designer
Senior Structural Designer
14 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Design Manager Project Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Project Manager Owner/Operator
Construction Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Project Manager Owner
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Structures Engineer Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Structures Engineer Project Engineer Senior Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Structures Engineer Project Engineer Owner
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Piping Designer Senior Piping Designer
Lead Piping Designer
12 Yearsyrs
Piping Designer Piping/Mechanical Designer
Senior Piping Designer
12 Yearsyrs
Piping Designer Senior Mechanical Designer Senior Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Systems Engineer Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Civil Engineer Civil/Structural Engineer
Senior Structural Engineer
12 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Senior Design Engineer
Lead Design Engineer
6 Yearsyrs
Structural Design Engineer Senior Design Engineer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Structural Design Engineer System Design Engineer Senior Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Lead Designer
Design Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Engineer Development Engineer Electrical Engineer
Senior Electrical Designer
14 Yearsyrs
Engineer Maintenance Supervisor Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Structural Design Engineer Senior Mechanical Designer
Design Checker
11 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Design Engineer Lead Engineer Section Manager
Manager Of Engineering Department
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Structural Designer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Do you work as a Structural Designer?

Average Yearly Salary
$79,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$51,000
Min 10%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$120,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Arup Group
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
4.4 years
How much does a Structural Designer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Structural Designer in the United States is $79,116 per year or $38 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $51,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $121,000.

Real Structural Designer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Principal Structural Designer Worleyparsons Group, Inc. Houston, TX Feb 11, 2013 $183,352
Pdms Structural Designer NES Global, LLC Houston, TX Feb 29, 2012 $156,000
Principle Civil/Structural Designer I CB&I Inc. Houston, TX Oct 08, 2016 $135,491 -
$167,560
Civil/Structural Designer Foster Wheeler USA Corporation Houston, TX Jun 11, 2015 $127,691 -
$140,000
Civil/Structural Designer Foster Wheeler USA Corporation Houston, TX Sep 20, 2015 $118,368
Civil Structural Design (OIL and Gas Industry) Foster Wheeler USA Corporation Houston, TX Sep 07, 2013 $113,650
Civil/Structural Designer Foster Wheeler USA Corporation Houston, TX Sep 16, 2013 $108,160
Structural/Aesthetic Designer B&H Art-In-Architecture Ltd. New York, NY Oct 01, 2010 $107,203
Civil/Structural Designer Belcan Services Group, LP Baytown, TX Aug 25, 2014 $106,080
Civil/Structural Designer Belcan Services Group, LP Baytown, TX May 15, 2012 $106,080
Principal Structural Designer Fluor Enterprises, Inc. Sugar Land, TX Aug 28, 2015 $105,000
Civil/Structural Designer (OIL & Gas Industry) Foster Wheeler USA Corporation Houston, TX Sep 17, 2010 $98,176
Structural Designer Ammann & Whitney New York, NY Jun 05, 2012 $86,403
Structural Designer Ammann & Whitney New York, NY Aug 05, 2011 $84,718
Structural Designer Gannett Fleming, Inc. Phoenix, AZ Jan 15, 2013 $73,424 -
$85,280
Structural Designer 1 Forell/Elsesser Engineers, Inc. San Francisco, CA Mar 09, 2016 $73,000 -
$85,000
Structural Designer Volt Management Corp Chula Vista, CA Mar 01, 2010 $72,836
Structural Designer III Forell/Elsesser Engineers, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 15, 2016 $72,700 -
$85,000
Structural Designer Priserve Consulting Inc. Houston, TX Sep 27, 2013 $72,000
Wireless Structural Designer/Detailer W-T Engineering, Inc. Hoffman Estates, IL Oct 26, 2010 $70,000
Junior Structural Designer STX (Us) Marine Inc. Houston, TX May 06, 2013 $70,000 -
$90,000
Structural Designer Pangolin Structural LLC Phoenix, AZ Oct 27, 2016 $68,700
Avionics Mechanical & Structural Design Project EN Emteq, Inc. Miramar, FL Oct 15, 2010 $60,300 -
$71,300
Structural Designer Stantec Consulting Services Inc. Columbus, OH Sep 09, 2016 $60,029
Structural Designer KSI Professional Engineers Farmingdale, NJ May 16, 2016 $60,000
Structural Designer Engineering Group Associates, P.C. New York, NY Jul 02, 2012 $59,438
Structural Designer Baldridge & Associates Structural Engineering, Inc. Palatine, IL Aug 19, 2015 $59,000
Structural Designer EAC Consulting, Inc. Miami, FL Sep 01, 2013 $58,760
Structural Designer R & L Lopez Associates, Inc. El Monte, CA Sep 16, 2010 $58,645
Structural Designer Baldridge & Associates Structural Engineering, Inc. Palatine, IL Aug 26, 2014 $58,282

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Top Skills for A Structural Designer

  1. Shop Drawings
  2. Access Platforms
  3. Structural Analysis
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Generated detailed shop drawings for primary, secondary & tertiary steel for topsides and jacket, bridges and living quarters.
  • Traveled to the Denver design center weekly to support the Civil/Structural department assisting with access platforms over a 3 month duration.
  • Performed structural analysis and design prepared construction documents, reviewed of specifications to obtain construction permits with building officials.
  • Work also included development of Standard Structural Details and Structural Drafting/CAD Standards.
  • Walked down the facility to verify new pipe routing and to identify all new potential locations for added pipe supports.

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Top 10 Best States for Structural Designers

  1. Texas
  2. Alaska
  3. New York
  4. Louisiana
  5. Oklahoma
  6. New Jersey
  7. Minnesota
  8. Connecticut
  9. Washington
  10. Oregon
  • (434 jobs)
  • (10 jobs)
  • (372 jobs)
  • (40 jobs)
  • (61 jobs)
  • (121 jobs)
  • (96 jobs)
  • (67 jobs)
  • (160 jobs)
  • (130 jobs)

Structural Designer Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 4,084 Structural Designer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Structural Designer Resume

View Resume Examples

Structural Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

79.1%

Female

12.5%

Unknown

8.4%
Ethnicity

White

53.0%

Hispanic or Latino

19.8%

Black or African American

11.3%

Asian

11.1%

Unknown

4.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

44.8%

Carrier

7.5%

Russian

6.0%

German

4.5%

Japanese

4.5%

Persian

4.5%

Cantonese

3.0%

Serbian

3.0%

Mandarin

3.0%

Arabic

3.0%

Italian

3.0%

Portuguese

1.5%

Comanche

1.5%

Hebrew

1.5%

Bosnian

1.5%

French

1.5%

Dari

1.5%

Ukrainian

1.5%

Armenian

1.5%

Korean

1.5%
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Structural Designer Education

Schools

Houston Community College

12.6%

University of Houston

12.3%

ITT Technical Institute-Houston West

7.9%

Lamar University

5.8%

Rochester Institute of Technology

5.4%

Pennsylvania State University

5.1%

Drexel University

5.1%

University of Phoenix

4.3%

Arizona State University

4.0%

Texas A&M University

4.0%

Portland State University

3.6%

University of Central Florida

3.6%

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

3.6%

Purdue University

3.6%

North Carolina State University

3.2%

Delgado Community College

3.2%

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

3.2%

Wichita State University

3.2%

University of Texas at Austin

3.2%

University of New Orleans

2.9%
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Majors

Civil Engineering

28.4%

Drafting And Design

25.5%

Mechanical Engineering

7.0%

Engineering

5.0%

Architecture

4.2%

Business

4.1%

Graphic Design

3.8%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.3%

Engineering Technology

2.1%

Industrial Technology

2.1%

Construction Management

1.9%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.9%

Project Management

1.8%

Computer Science

1.7%

Architectural Engineering

1.7%

Civil Engineering Technologies

1.6%

Aerospace Engineering

1.3%

Electrical Engineering

1.2%

Architectural Technology

1.2%

General Studies

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

31.9%

Other

24.7%

Associate

24.3%

Masters

11.1%

Certificate

4.2%

Doctorate

2.4%

Diploma

1.4%

License

0.1%
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