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Structural engineer

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Summary of occupation

​Structural engineers research, plan, design and monitor the construction, maintenance, renovation or demolition of the framework of buildings, stadiums, bridges and tunnels to ensure they are strong, durable, and safe. They take into account all structural loads when planning, such as predicted pedestrian and road traffic, and natural forces such as wind, rain, earthquakes, and cyclones to ensure the overall stability of the structure. Structural engineers usually work as part of a team with architects, builders, and other engineers to create a safe and sturdy structure.

ANZSCO description: Analyses the statical properties of all types of structures, tests the behaviour and durability of materials used in their construction, and designs and supervises the construction of all types of structures. Registration or licensing may be required.
Alternative names:
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

​A structural engineer needs:

  • an interest in the practical application of engineering and science
  • good communication and teamwork skills
  • excellent problem solving skills
  • aptitude for computing and design
  • good planning and organisation skills
  • to adhere to strict safety regulations.
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Working conditions

A structural engineer usually works from an office during the design phase, although some time may be spent on site to determine planning. During the construction phase, structural engineers may be based on building sites, where they may have to wear personal protective equipment.

Structural engineers usually work for design and consultancy firms around Western Australia. They can also work as consultants to assist in the safe demolition of buildings, or assess damage to structures in emergencies and natural disasters.

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Salary details

Graduate structural engineers can expect to earn approximately $1 154 per week ($60 000 per year), depending on the organisation they work for. With experience their earning potential may increase substantially.

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Tools and technologies

​Structural engineers use drawing and measuring instruments and materials, as well as Computer Aided Design (CAD) and structural engineering software packages (such as SpaceGass and StrucPLUS). They must also analyse building plans and construction materials against a range of building standards and codes to ensure that a finished structure complies with the law and will be strong enough to stand on its own and withstand all weather conditions.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

​To become a structural engineer you usually have to complete a degree in engineering, majoring in civil engineering, civil and construction engineering, or civil and environmental engineering. You may need to complete further postgraduate study to specialise in structural engineering.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant undergraduate degree courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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