5 different fields for structural engineering

Published on: 1 Dec 2016

To many people, a career in structural engineering means a life overseeing aspects of building construction and while that may be true of many in the profession, structural engineers can end up working in a range of varied and exciting disciplines.

Here is just a handful of the wide-ranging professional fields a structural engineering career can bring:


Of course, it’s the most obvious! Structural engineers help design and construct buildings so they stay standing after the scaffolding has been taken away; but buildings come in many forms. A new home might require a structural engineer’s input, but so will a skyscraper, a new opera house or football stadium.


Aircraft, satellites, and even space vessels need to be developed. The role of a structural engineer is fundamental in this process. Not only do they have to create a structure that can withstand the rigors of its environment, but also one that operates consistently under those conditions. Aeroplanes don’t just get you from A to B, they’re also places of comfort and safety, and much of this is down to how their structures have been designed.

Oil and gas

A career in the oil and gas industry can see a structural engineer work on a range of projects. Whether it’s a pipeline, a rig, or a gas or oil field, the one thing that’s common across exploration of this kind is that the structures are vast. So be prepared to work on massive projects whether you end up designing, testing, or inspecting the equipment.


Passenger vessels, cargo ships, and boats of all other kinds might form the bulk of the engineering done at sea, but a structural engineer who works in the nautical field could as easily develop and maintain other, non-moving structures - like wind turbines - or even those to support oceanography.


Whether it’s a footbridge over a stream, a rail bridge over a gorge, or a road bridge spanning an expanse of ocean, each project will require a structural engineer to work on the design so the bridge both works with its environment. The engineer’s designs will help ensure the bridge carries its load as safely on days when the conditions are extraordinary as it does when things are run-of-the-mill.