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Structural Engineering is the area of study and employment that is responsible for ensuring the durability and longevity of a given system or structure. Considered a subfield of civil engineering, structural engineers make sure that the frames and designs presented can support the addition of pieces in order to complete the project while maintaining durability, or rather determine whether the foundation and skeleton of a structure or system can support the addition of material without collapse.
Education and Schools
A program in structural engineering will focus on the physics of architectural frames and foundations, allowing an individual to learn to identify flaws in design and planning to ensure that the proposed project is constructed and built to last. As a sub field of civil engineering, exposure to large projects relating to infrastructure are common, including sewer systems, freeways, roads and other public projects. A program will provide education in science, architecture, mathematics, and city planning.
A curriculum may include:
- Engineering Principles
- Design and Structure
- Foundations and Frames
Individuals searching for structural engineering schools should look for civil engineering and engineering departments that maintain close to ties to local projects and government, have internship or research opportunities, and have modern facilities that are regularly updated and reviewed to ensure relevancy of education. Access to reviews and contact information for such departments are readily available and should be pursued as part of the vetting process for any individual wishing to find their intended school.
Organizations, such as the American Society for Engineering Education work for the advancement of engineering education through the promotion of proper teaching, providing resources for development, and working to advance the cause and understanding of the field among the population.
Individuals will seek employment in public agencies or through private contractors. Individuals may seek entry level employment with a bachelor’s degree, but most supervisory and research positions require at minimum a master’s due to increasing complexity of the work. The demand for educated structural engineers is expected to increase proportionally to the number of public projects and infrastructure developments taking place over the next decade.