What is a Structural Engineer?
A structural engineer is an individual who is registered or licensed to practice structural engineering as defined by the statutory requirements of the professional registration laws of the state or jurisdiction in which the project is to be constructed.
A structural engineer utilizes mathematics and engineering principles to analyze and design a wide variety of buildings and structures.A structural engineer references a model building code to perform structural calculations, which are used to confirm code compliance in design and ensure structural safety. The model building code provides all the design requirements and guidelines needed by a structural engineer to perform their work, as it governs the analysis and design of all buildings and structures.
Becoming a structural engineer requires several years of education and training, as well as passing professional examinations administered by NCEES. Each state has minimum requirements that must be met prior to taking the Professional Engineering (PE) examination. In Arizona, the basic requirements are as follows:
1. Obtain a 4-year Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from an ABET accredited college or university.
2. Take and pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, which is a 6 hour computerized exam. This exam was formerly known as the Engineer-in-Training (EIT) exam.
3. Acquire 4 years of work experience under the direct supervision of a registered structural engineer, which is verified through submission of Certificate of Experience and Reference Forms. This requirement is reduced to 3 years if an individual possesses an advanced degree from an ABET accredited school, such as a Master of Science Degree in Civil Engineering.