What is a Structural Engineer?

You have probably heard of a civil engineer, but what is a structural engineer? A structural engineer is a civil engineer who has specialized in engineering structures that are weight bearing or must be able to resist weight loads. For example, if you worked in this field you might deal with designing buildings, oil rigs, or dams. You might become an expert in aircraft design or tunnels or any other type of structure.

This is an important job because the integrity of the design will determine the viability and safety of the structure.  The roles of a structural engineer include the following:

  • Analyze the needs that must be addressed including safety, aesthetics and environmental impact
  • Design the structure insuring it meets all load requirements and conforms to regulatory codes and requirements
  • Research the engineering specifications
  • Determine appropriate materials to be used that affect structural integrity
  • Prepare construction drawings
  • Complete cost estimates
  • Work with the construction personnel to insure engineering specifications are understood and properly incorporated
  • Make necessary changes as needed during construction

Reading the list you can see that, as a structural engineer, you are a blend of designer, accountant, construction supervisor and safety coordinator.

Excellent Pay Reflects Training and Responsibilities

To be a structural engineer it is necessary to earn a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.  The structural engineer degree is awarded as a specialty civil engineering degree. You can also pursue a master’s degree specifically in structural engineering. The classes you will take include math, physics, general and special engineering, and engineering computer software like AutoCad among others that include life sciences.

To work as a structural engineer, you must also be state licensed. To obtain a license it’s necessary to graduate from a school that has been accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. You must also have 4 years of actual engineering work experience and pass a state administered exam.

During the course of your career, you can also earn a number of specialty certifications by attending professional workshops and completing additional courses offered by professional engineering organizations.

Entry level structural engineers, with less than 4 years of experience needed for licensing, earn $47,000 to $62,000 according to PayScale.  With a license your pay will increase significantly. Structural engineers with 5 to 9 years of experience are paid an average annual salary between $58,000 and $75,000.

How much does a structural engineer make a year with more than 10 years experience? Earnings increase to between $68,000 and $89,000.  An expert in structural engineering can make as much as $111,000 with 20 years or more of experience.

Great Employment Prospects Match Great Salary!

The employment prospects for civil engineers are excellent. The number of jobs is expected to grow by 24 percent by 2018 according to the U.S. Department of Labor. This is due to population growth leading to increasing need for buildings in general and supporting public structures like water facilities.

You can find employment with many different organizations and agencies. Structural engineers work for construction firms, universities, and state and federal agencies.  With a license and experience you can also work as a self-employed consultant.

The structural engineer salary you can expect to earn is partially dependent on the city where you work. For example, structural engineers in New York City are paid an average salary between $57,000 and $79,000.  San Francisco is another high paying city with the average salaries running between $60,000 and $85,000.

But if you work in Dallas, the average salary figures drop to $54,000 to $70,000.

The next question is: how much money does a structural engineer make a year by industry?  The highest paying industry is the aerospace and defense industry which pays an average of $63,000 to $91,000.  Structural engineers working in the construction industry are making an average salary of $51,000 to $68,000.

Other industries where you can look for employment include general and specialty engineering consulting firms.  Some engineering firms specialize solely in structural engineering consulting.

Project managers have the most responsibilities and the pay reflects that fact. Project managers are paid an average annual salary of $56,000 to $79,000.  You can compare this to structural engineers specializing in engineering design who are paid an average of $53,000 to $73,000.

Exciting Career

Structural engineering is an exciting career because the work you do becomes enduring structures the benefit people. You also get to work with many other professionals including architects, builders, government inspectors and other civil engineers. Many of your projects will require working as a member of a team so you need to work well with people from all walks of life.

If you are considering going into engineering and enjoy detailed work that relies on technology this is a great career choice.  You can earn excellent money while working on varied and interesting projects.

Details on a Career in Environmental Engineering

The broad term of “environmental engineering” has many jobs underneath it. Of course all the jobs have something to do with environmental engineering.

And any career in environmental engineering is a great career to pursue because it pays well and is a job that is in demand. Let’s take a look at some of the facts regarding a career in environmental science.

To enter a career in environmental engineering a person needs to have at least a bachelor’s degree in the field of environmental engineering. To attain higher positions a master’s degree and sometimes a PH.D is needed. During schooling the most important classes are obviously the math, science, and environmental classes.

Usually the main goal of a career in environmental engineering is to protect the environment. Within environmental engineering there are many sub-categories that do just that – protect the environment.

Environmental Engineering Careers

The subcategories are: land management, wastewater management, storm water management, hazardous waste management, toxic materials control, water supply protection, air pollution control, industrial hygiene, radiation protection, solid waste disposal, and public health. Within these subcategories there are even more categories and jobs that exist within each one.

So there are very specific jobs that are performed in environmental engineering. And many of these jobs are in need of employees. That’s actually one of the main reasons why a career in environmental engineering is a good idea. It’s not uncommon for there to be open jobs that simply aren’t filled because there isn’t a qualified person to fill the position.

Another great reason is the starting salary of environmental engineers. A person taking an entry level position as an environmental engineer can expect to make about $40,000 or more in most states. Of course that number may vary slightly from state to state and from job to job. But the starting salary for an environmental engineer is very competitive.

Job security is another perk for a career in environmental engineering. Again, there are more jobs open then there are for people to fill them. Therefore, you can be almost certain that you won’t lose your job as an environmental engineer. You’re job won’t be phases out – there aren’t too many environmental engineers, there aren’t enough.

The final great reason to be an environmental engineer is the fulfillment it brings. You are helping people, which is great. Also, you will get the satisfaction of seeing something you conceived in your mind actually come to life. You will see something be erected or built that you thought up. And that something will help solve a problem, which will also make you feel fulfilled and good about yourself.

A career in environmental engineering is a great way to go. You will need a bachelor’s degree or a higher degree to become an environmental engineer but once you become one you won’t have any problem finding a job. And you’ll be able to pick from a variety of jobs that are part of the large field of environmental engineering.

Go Green with an Environmental Engineering Degree Online!

If your goal in life is to safeguard the earth’s resources then getting an environmental engineering degree online is a great choice.  This is a “green” discipline in that careers are devoted to matters such as managing environmental regulations and cleaning up hazardous materials.  Using a blend of chemistry and knowledge of biology, the environmental engineer works to improve the environment by finding ways to prevent or correct ecological damage and to minimize environmental threats to human health.

Excellent Opportunities Everywhere You Look

Environmental engineering is an excellent choice of careers. Right now the number of positions is expected to grow by 31 percent during the ten year period ending 2018. But job growth could very well be stronger as the focus on environmental issues continues to grow. Federal and state governments are committed to developing and enforcing environmental laws, and that means you can expect new jobs at the government and private industry levels to emerge.

In addition, population growth is placing demands on the environment that are leading to increasing public health concerns.  Job duties include the following as an example:

  • Develop methods for controlling pollution
  • Manage waste disposal
  • Address public health concerns
  • Prevent environmental problems or disasters
  • Research and design hazardous-waste management procedures
  • Research and design industrial wastewater treatment systems
  • Work on environmental clean-up procedures at accident sites

As you can see, this is a truly exciting career field offering a wide range of career paths. When working on theenvironmental engineering degree, you can expect to take plenty of math and science courses. Thanks to online learning that can be done from a distance master of environmental engineering degrees can also be pursued. Technology has made it possible to earn degrees in your field of choice no matter where you live, and that’s great news for you and the environment!

Let’s Talk Money

It’s always nice when you can earn good money while also pursuing a chosen career. If you have a passion for protecting the environment then you will be happy to know that you can also make an excellent salary. This is true even if you have little experience.

Online environmental engineering degrees are valuable as you can see from the average annual pay rates for people already working in the field as published by PayScale.

  • Under 1 year of experience | $42,000 to $56,000
  • Experience over 1 year but less than 5 years | $47,000 to $59,000
  • Experience of at least 5 years but less than 10 | $56,500 to $70,000
  • Experience of at least 10 years but less than 20 | $68,700 to $90,000
  • Experience of at least 20 years or more | $75,800 to $108,000

You can not only start your career at an excellent salary right out of college but you can also expect greater earnings as you get experience.

Who do environmental engineers typically work for? They work for:

  • Federal, state and local governments
  • Universities as researchers or in-house engineers

Private businesses concerned with limiting environmental impact of outputs (especially manufacturers)

  • Non-profits dedicated to environmental protection
  • Consultant

When you earn an environmental engineering bachelors degree online, you not only have career opportunities in the U.S. Issues like global warming and population growth has created a worldwide concern about environmental protection.  If you desire to work overseas one day, this is an ideal degree to possess.

The annual salary for an environmental engineer varies from city to city and state to state. For example, you will likely earn more working in Los Angeles than in Chicago.  According to PayScale, the pay range for employed environmental engineers in Los Angeles is $58,000 to $104,000. The pay range in Chicago is $48,000 to $67,000.

When looking at the average salary by state the ranges are fairly close. You can begin working at an average salary of $53,000 in California as opposed to $51,000 in New York on the other side of the country. In Texas starting average salaries are $57,000 compared to Florida’s $49,000.

What this information tells you is that the city of employment impacts pay much more than the state you work in.

Excellent Prospects

A degree in environmental engineering is an excellent choice if you have an interest in dealing with environmental topics of all kinds. You can choose to work on issues like:

  • Water pollution
  • Air pollution
  • Public health protection
  • Wildlife protection
  • Recycling
  • Water supplies
  • Industrial facility designs (to protect the environmental)
  • Hazardous waste transport and disposal
  • Acid rain

In other words, you can specialize if you want and that could lead to even higher earnings. With advances in technology there are going to be new types of careers in environmental engineering developing all the time. This is a cutting-edge field of study and one that will pay you quite well.



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