Students FAQ

Students FAQ

1-How to Become a Structural Engineer?
To the average non-engineer on the street, structural engineering is what they think of, when “civil engineering” is mentioned. While the other civil engineering specialties are just as important in their own way, it is structural engineering that is the most common and the most visible to society in general.
That’s because structural engineers work on the engineering projects which we see every day; buildings and bridges. Most people can go through their whole life, without personally seeing the work of a coastal or geotechnical engineer. Even if they did see it, they may not realize what they are seeing. However, we all have seen pictures of the world’s tallest buildings and the world’s longest bridges; in some cases, we’ve seen those structures in person.
Because of the number of lives which are affected by the work of structural engineers, the requirements are very demanding. There is little room for error in determining the structural requirements of a suspension bridge or skyscraper. Likewise, there’s little opportunity for testing, other than through computer simulations and models. Therefore, the vast majority of a structural engineer’s work is based upon their ability to calculate stress loads and materials deflections.

2- Structural Engineering Education
Becoming a structural engineer doesn’t just happen overnight; it’s the result of many years of study. The aspiring structural engineer should really start their preparation before entering college. Since so much of structural engineering is the application of math and science, it is important to take as many of these classes as possible in high school, preparing oneself for entering college.
Higher math, such as geometry, trigonometry and calculus all play a part in structural engineering. Likewise, much of engineering is applying the principles of physics to develop solutions to practical problems. While it is possible to take these classes in college, the student who waits till college to start their engineering studies is starting out behind and will have to race to catch up.

3-How to become a chartered or incorporated civil or structural engineer?
Each qualification requires certain knowledge, beginning with academic qualifications.
• Incorporated engineers need an accredited undergraduate degree or equivalent.
• Chartered engineers need either an accredited MEng degree or an accredited BEng (Hons) degree plus either an approved masters degree or a period of further learning in the workplace (eg the technical report route – see below).
Once in the workplace, engineers start initial professional development (IPD), which runs over a number of years depending on the qualification and the educational starting point as well as the engineer’s situation and motivation. An engineer needs to demonstrate professional competencies in personal skills, engineering skills, and management and commercial skills. IPD leads to the professional review, where an engineer is assessed in an interview and, in some cases, by an additional examination.
However, there is a variety of routes through to professional qualification, such as the technical report route, since engineers come from a range of backgrounds. If you are unsure of your academic eligibility or need more information on the numerous routes to membership, contact the relevant professional institution.

4-Finding an employer who'll support you towards CEng or IEng?
All civil and structural engineering employers will claim to provide training but you need to find out the details. Do thorough research to find schemes approved by the relevant professional institution.
Talk to current graduate employees about training on social media sites and at careers fairs and find out when they expect to go forward to professional review. When you talk to employers, ask them about mentors, the level of support they provide and how you will gain the practical experience you need to qualify.

5-Joining a professional institution as a student
Student membership looks good on your CV and it’s free for both the ICE and the Institution of Structural Engineers. Both provide student members with online services, such as access to publications and literature, technical updates, a members’ online area and invaluable connections.
Branches, meetings and conferences are networking events where you can meet other students and graduates, experienced engineers and potential employers. It’s the ultimate way to get a personal view of the industry and work that may interest you. These events will also help you gain knowledge of your professional institution, which is a core objective of professional qualification.