Structural engineers who work with roads and bridges are also often known as civil engineers. Structural engineers are responsible for overseeing structural design and analyzing existing structures for safety. They ensure that the bridges and roads can support necessary loads (such as cars, trucks, and trains) without excessive stress or degradation. They are also responsible for determining the load-bearing of a structure during environmental changes such as hot and cold seasons, excessive wind, or natural disasters such as earthquakes (with needs varying depending on geographic location).
Structural engineers often work for government or public entities, or for subcontractors or private companies that work on public contracts. Standards for becoming a civil engineer vary among countries; in the United States, civil engineers generally must obtain a bachelor's degree from an accredited program and pass several licensing exams, such as the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, which allows one to become an engineer in training (EIT). EITs can then work to become licensed professional engineers; this is typically a four-year process and culminates in the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam.
Structural engineers typically work during regular business hours in an office environment. Some site visits may be required, which could potentially mean limited exposure to harsh climates. Site visits may also include climbing, crouching, and other physical movements that are not typically used in a standard office. Successful structural engineers have strong knowledge of math, good analytical skills, strong organizational abilities, and excellent communication skills.
Structural Engineer, Roads and Bridges Tasks
Manages and directs staff at project site.
Performs engineering duties; plan, design and oversee the construction and maintenance of buildings, bridges, and other structures.
Researches and analyzes maps, blueprints, photos, charts, and other data to plan projects.
Gathers information to prepare and present reports on project topics.