Civil Engineer vs Structural Engineer: What's the Difference?

When it comes to engineering, there are many different disciplines that require specialized knowledge and skills. Two of the most popular engineering disciplines are civil engineering and structural engineering. Although they may belong to the same field of engineering, they differ in several respects. Simply put, all structural engineers are civil engineers, but not all civil engineers are structural engineers.

Civil engineers design and maintain structures such as public and private buildings, water systems, airports, and roads. Structural engineers analyze, design, build and maintain structures and materials that counteract or reinforce loads. Civil engineering focuses more attention on design elements, while structural engineering is more concerned with inspecting materials used for construction. They ensure that the materials used for construction can support the design of the structure.

When it comes to professional licenses and certifications, the United States requires that all professional engineers working for the public have a license that certifies that they have the knowledge and skills necessary to design, build and maintain infrastructure. This field of engineering is offered at universities as a civil engineering subject and a specialization that result in a master's or doctorate degree. Structural engineers are needed to ensure that all buildings are safe, and that's why they have more certification requirements than civil engineers. Engineering firms, such as Godfrey-Hoffman's 26 Hodge in Connecticut, provide civil engineering and structural engineering services to clients because they understand that both are essential in any construction job or development project.

If the structure fails, a structural engineer will be needed to determine what happened and why it happened. In the US, employment of civil engineers is expected to increase by 2% in the next decade. A civil engineer is a professional who designs and supervises the construction of public infrastructure. They ensure that materials do not weaken and endanger the lives of the people who use the building or structure. Students can earn a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering before pursuing graduate degrees in this area if they so choose.

However, there is another option for you as an aspiring structural engineer, although it is considerably more difficult. The geographic location of your project will determine responsibility for your engineering design and implementation needs.

Grace Martin
Grace Martin

Hardcore internet maven. Award-winning tv fan. Coffee ninja. Devoted beer enthusiast. Evil tv ninja. Professional food aficionado.

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