Structural engineer

Construction and building

Career outlook for structural engineer

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would create and improve the structure for all kinds of building projects.

You would be a key part of a team of construction professionals. You might work on everything from houses, theatres and hospitals to bridges, oil rigs and space satellites.

You would:

  • Work with clients, architects, contractors and other professionals on construction plans
  • Develop design ideas using computer aided design (CAD)
  • Research different materials and decide which would be suitable for the job
  • Work out the loads and stresses on different parts of a structure
  • Use computer simulations to learn what will happen to structures under different conditions, such as high winds or earth tremors
  • Inspect unsafe buildings and recommend options for repairs or demolition
  • Make sure projects meet legal, environmental and health and safety requirements
  • Prepare bids for tenders
  • Manage project teams and give reports to clients and senior managers

You would need to come up with practical, attractive designs within a budget.

Working conditions


You would normally work between 35 and 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday.


Your work would consist of a combination of office work and site visits.


There may be the chance to work on projects around the world, depending on your employer and the nature of the projects you are working on.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Working with technology
  • Designing
  • Problem solving
  • Observation
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Filtering
  • Developing a plan
  • Managing resources

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


To qualify, you'll normally need a degree or postgraduate qualification in structural or civil engineering such as a BEng or MEng degree (SCQF level 11) in structural engineering.

You may also be able to get started with a degree in a related subject such as construction, the built environment or maths, but it may take you longer to qualify.

There are no Structural Engineering qualifications below degree level (SCFQ level 9/10) in Scotland but relevant courses in areas such as Civil Engineering are available from SCQF level 6.

To enter a Structural Engineering degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of four Highers or a relevant HNC/HND.

To enter a postgraduate course (SCQF level 11) you will usually require an honours degree in a relevant subject.

An alternative route may be to start as an engineering technician by completing an HNC/HND (SCQF 7/8) in an engineering subject. You can then become a fully qualified structural engineer with further training on the job.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most courses)
  • Maths (required by most courses)
  • Business management
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Geology science
  • Technologies subjects

Helpful to have

To register with the Engineering Council UK (ECUK) you need both academic qualifications and practical experience.

You can get the necessary experience through a sandwich course or through sponsorship from your employer.