Just like a Civil Engineer, a Structural Engineer is in the game of construction. Suffice it to say, Structural Engineering is a branch of Civil Engineering.
However, despite the similarities, both professions differ slightly. In this article put together by The World Scholarship Forum, we’ll look at the points where Civil Engineering meets Structural Engineering and the points where they differ.
Stay with me as we discuss Civil Engineering Vs Structural Engineering.
According to the BLS, civil engineers can expect an 11% rise in jobs between 2016 and 2026. Furthermore, the median annual salary for Civil and Structural Engineers was $86,640 in May 2018.
Before we go on to state the differences that exist between the two professions, we’ll give a brief highlight of the two professions. Carefully read through.
See the table of contents below for a cursory view.
Who is A Civil Engineer?
A Civil Engineer is one who plans and builds public works, such as dams, bridges, and other big infrastructure projects. It is one of the valued branches of engineering, dating back to the beginning of mankind.
In this, all aspects of building and organizing a structure fall under the remit of a civil engineer. This can include planning, design, budgeting, surveying, construction management, and analysis.
The Civil Engineer will be accountable for finding suitable materials, suggesting modifications and alterations, and assessing the structural integrity to convert the architect’s vision into realization.
How To Become A Civil Engineer
Civil engineering is an amazing career on each step of the professional ladder.
Whether holding a bachelor’s degree and starting out with entry-level positions or moving into teaching like a seasoned professional, there are various pathways that can be taken.
Carefully read through to see the steps needed to begin a career in Civil Engineering.
EARN A BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN CIVIL ENGINEERING
Bachelor’s degrees in Civil Engineering serve as the fundamental level of education. Under such programs, students take courses in mathematics, engineering, statistics, fluid dynamics, and architectural design.
They learn through a variety of mediums, including class lectures, internships or co-ops, and on-site fieldwork.
In a bachelor’s degree, students have the chance to concentrate their knowledge in a distinct area through specialized coursework and a research project.
COMPLETE A CIVIL ENGINEERING INTERNSHIP
Almost all programs require at least one semester or summer-long internship to fulfill degree requirements. Students use these experiences to apply theories they’ve learned in the classroom, learn practical skills, and gain insight into
a particular area of the field they may be interested in pursuing.
These opportunities also serve students well for future employment, enabling them to network with other professionals, receive a guide from a top Civil Engineer, and perhaps input their expertise into a job after graduation.
The majority of internships end in the junior or senior year of study.
CHOOSING A SPECIALTY/CONCENTRATION
Because the field is vast, most students elect to concentrate in a particular area. Some of the common specialties include construction engineering, structural engineering, land development, and use, transportation engineering, or geotechnical engineering, and a whole lot more.
Undergraduates typically spend 12 to 18 credit hours completing special topics in these areas, and may even complete an internship centered on their chosen specialization.
SUCCESSFULLY PASS RELEVANT EXAMS FOR CERTIFICATION
Civic Engineers who wish to offer their services openly must go through the following steps to be properly licensed. While specific rules are governed by individual states, some of the most common requirements are:
- Attend an ABET-accredited institution.
- Undergo the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination directly after completing a baccalaureate degree.
- Become a Civic Engineering (CE) intern, also known as an Engineer-in-Training (EIT).
- Complete a minimum number of professional hours, meet benchmarks along the way and complete the Principles and Practices of Engineering (PE) examination to become a CE Professional.
The American Society of Civil Engineers offers assistance to civil engineers in practice with a variety of test preparation aid and information about testing centers. Hence, you have to give the proper amount of time to studying and planning for these examinations.
LAND AN ENTRY-LEVEL JOB
After taking on a number of internships programs during college and completing the Engineer-in-Training phase, it’s possible that individuals will obtain a good number of contacts within the field through their networking efforts.
In Civil engineering, your networking strength determines a whole lot. That is to say, moving into the first professional role is typically achieved through existing contacts.
Therefore, all students and interns should make sure they are doing their best work, asking questions, learning practical skills, and meeting as many professionals as attainable.
What Does Civil Engineers Do?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), civil engineers “design, construct, supervise, operate and maintain large construction projects and systems, including roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and systems for water supply and sewage treatment,”.
Furthermore, Civil Engineers may also take on-site preparation activities, such as excavation, earthmoving, and grading for large construction projects.
Also, civil engineers may oversee or write the specifications for harmful or nondestructive testing of the performance, reliability, and long-term durability of materials and structures.
Asides the regular office work, Civil Engineers also go to project sites to supervise construction.
Civil Engineers speak about projects to ruling boards and the general public. They also write documents about the project like responses to requests for proposals, status updates, and technical reports.
In addition to a college degree, Civil Engineers who sign off on project plans or supervise other civil engineers must be licensed in line with the rules stipulated by state governments.
Licensing rules include several exams and require years of work experience. In the end, licensed civil engineers earn the appellation of a professional engineer (or PE).
How Much Does A Civil Engineer Earn? | Salary, Job Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics posits that most states have enforced mandatory continuing education requirements to maintain a license. Credit may be given for attending seminars, participating in workshops, and completing online classes.
According to the BLS, civil engineers can expect an 11% rise in jobs between 2016 and 2026. Furthermore, the median annual salary for civil engineers was $86,640 in May 2018.
What is Structural Engineering?
Structural engineering is a sub-discipline of civil engineering that is concerned both with the framework of structures and with the design of these structures to be stable and sustainable.
The structural engineer’s job, therefore, is to plan structures that will withstand the stress and pressure of the environment they are built so as to remain solid.
The structural designs are blended with those of other designers such as architects and building services engineers and often supervise the construction of projects by contractors on site.
They can also be involved in the design of machinery, medical equipment, and vehicles where structural integrity affects functioning and safety.
So, the idea of Structural Engineering theory is the application of physical laws and empirical knowledge of the structural performance of distinct materials and geometrics.
Hence, Structural Engineers will need to fully understand applied mechanics, material science, and mathematics.
A knowledge of these courses helps them understand and predict how structures support and resist self-weight and imposed loads.
What Are The Requirements To Become A Structural Engineer?
To become a structural engineer, you need to satisfy certain educational and licensing requirements. In every country, you must meet the same educational requirement of at least a bachelor’s degree to qualify you for entry-level structural engineering jobs.
That is to say, a bachelor’s degree in Structural Engineering or a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering is a must.
For those who might want to climb higher, a Master of Science degree or even a Master of Business Administration will be ideal. With a master’s degree, you’re fit to hold senior-level managerial positions.
As a Structural Engineer, you need to have a Professional Engineer (PE) licensure. Getting this license involves passing the National Council of Exams for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) conducts.
The first licensing test is the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam or the Engineer in Training (EIT) exam. Usually, you’ll take this test before graduation. Once you’ve scaled through, you can get entry-level jobs as a structural engineer.
The next licensure test is the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. This is the one you will take after four years of experience working with a licensed engineer. The experience requirements may vary by state.
In the UK you’ll need to charter to become a successful structural engineer. The Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) is the body that awards the title of Chartered Structural Engineer.
To become a chartered Structural Engineer in the UK you have to complete a UK MEng or BEng with an MSc degree.
Afterward, you will go through four years of Initial Professional Development and a professional review interview after the four years.
Once you pass the interview, you will take an eight-hour professional review examination which passing it will earn you a chartered membership (MIStructE).
What Do Structural Engineers Do?
Before you understand what structural engineers do, you need to realize that they are responsible for the construction of buildings, bridges, pipelines, industrial, tunnels, vehicles, ships, aircraft, and spacecraft.
This is because ‘structure’ is the hallmark of infrastructures. Thus, according to Wikipedia, Structural Engineers are responsible for engineering design and structural analysis.
So, Structural Engineers examine and design the gravity support and lateral force resistance of buildings, bridges, and other structures. Here’s an outline of the job description of structural engineers:
- Preparing reports, designs, and drawings.
- Making calculations about pressures, loads, and stresses.
- Considering the strength of construction materials and choosing appropriately.
- Providing technical advice on safe designs and construction to clients.
- Securing planning and/or building regulations approval from relevant bodies.
- Analyzing the configurations of the basic elements of a structure.
- Liaising with other professionals on the field such as architects and engineers.
- Monitoring and inspecting all the work contractors do to guarantee their structural soundness.
- Administering contracts and execute projects.
- Inspecting properties to assess the conditions and foundations.
- Using computer-aided design.
How Much Does A Structural Engineer Earn? | Salary, Job Outlook
Now the question is, after all the years of educational and initial professional experience, how much will I earn?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), structural engineers in the UK earn $86,640 annually as salary. In 2018, 326,800 were available for civil engineers and it is estimated to grow by 6% from 2018-2028.
On the other hand, Glassdoor gives the salary of structural engineers in the USA as $71,198 per year. This salary increases by education level and organization. For example, a structural engineer at WAI (Weidlinger Associates) earns an average of $91,351 yearly.
In the UK, however, Glassdoor predicts that a Graduate Structural Engineer will earn £28,652 yearly. On the other hand, Senior Structural Engineer Salaries in London will earn £45,448 yearly.
What Are The Differences Between A Civil Engineer and A Structural Engineer?
According to Yenem, a top structural Engineering firm, If a bridge falls due to faulty design, it’s a structural engineer’s problem. If the river floods and sinks the bridge due to insufficient consideration of flood levels and climate change, or the traffic is at a standstill most of the day due to insufficient lanes or bottlenecks on approach, it’s a civil engineer’s problem!
However, here are the distinct differences between Civil Engineering and Structural Engineering.
Firstly, Civil Engineering focuses on design elements while structural engineering is more concerned about inspecting the materials used for construction. The structural engineers are the ones to ensure that the materials used for construction fit structurally.
Secondly, Civil Engineering is a four-year bachelor’s degree course offered in colleges and universities while Structural Engineering is an advanced specialization that is achieved after one becomes a Civil Engineer.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, one can advance with postgraduate studies in Structural Engineering in order to specialize as a structural engineer.
Thirdly, a Civil Engineer can perform the duties of a Structural Engineer while a Structural Engineer can’t fully perform the duties of a Civil Engineer. In fact, Structural Engineering is a subject that is under Civil Engineering and it is also offered as a master’s or doctorate degree.
To sum it all, the two-degree courses are very significant when it comes to design and construction jobs. As a result, engineering firms provide both Civil and Structural Engineering services to their clients. Therefore, both engineering courses are important in any of the construction or development projects. If you need to pursue any of the careers, it is important that you understand the differences mentioned above.
Similarities Between Civil Engineering and Structural Engineering
Civil Engineering and Structural Engineering are two disciplines in the field of engineering which deals with the evaluation, design construction, and preservation of elements. Both must be knowledgeable regarding construction plans, must be able to teach those less experienced, and oversee their teams in the office and out in the field.
Generally, structural engineering is categorized as an area of specialization in Civil Engineering and they work hand in hand.
In summary, Structural Engineering is a branch of Civil Engineering that has distinct features. However, they both deal with designing, evaluation, preservation, and construction of structures.
FAQs On Civil vs Structural Engineering: Salary, Job Outlook, Requirements, Certificates
A Civil Engineer is one who plans and builds public works, such as dams, bridges, and other big infrastructure projects.
Civil engineers “design, construct, supervise, operate and maintain large construction projects and systems, including roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and systems for water supply and sewage treatment
Structural engineering is a sub-discipline of civil engineering that is concerned both with the framework of structures and with the design of these structures to be stable and sustainable
Structural Engineers examine and design the gravity support and lateral force resistance of buildings, bridges, and other structures.
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