What Does a Structural Engineer Do?
Did you know that structural engineers work to effectively design, construct, and maintain bridges, buildings, sporting arenas, and other types of buildings? Structural engineers endeavor to design public works that will withstand any forces to which they may be exposed. These engineers play a vital role in the safety and efficiency of many different types of urban environments. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Structural engineers are civil engineers that are focused on the constructional and architectural integrity of various types of public works. As a structural engineer, your main goal will be to ensure that your project is able to withstand all types of stress. Your attention will be divided among issues including initial design, finance, and construction.
When you are a structural engineer, you play an active role in the design phase of a construction project by determining its structural integrity. You will use both theoretical concepts and practical knowledge to assess how external forces, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and snowstorms could compromise the architecture of a building or a piece of infrastructure.
Once the design phase is complete, you may be asked to estimate the cost of a project. You will need to understand budget constraints, as well as the cost of materials and the labor needed to complete your project. Many structural engineering academic programs will include courses that may prepare you for this part of the job. For example, the University of California-San Diego offers an engineering economics section as part of its introductory course (www.ucsd.edu).
As the construction of a structure progresses, structural engineers serve as site inspectors and help supervise the execution of blueprints and the implementation of their designs. As an engineer, you'll be expected to communicate technical data to construction engineers and managers who supervise builders and other laborers. If you are interested in this type of specialty, schools like Penn State University offer structural engineering degrees with a concentration in construction engineering technology (www.harrisburg.psu.edu).
Salary Info and Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the median annual salary earned by civil engineers, including structural engineers, was $79,340 in May 2012. The employment of such engineers is expected to grow by 20% between 2012 and 2022, per the BLS.
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