Structural engineers specialize in the analysis and design of load bearing structures. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that structural engineers are classified as civil engineers and represent one of 17 different fields of engineering specialization recognized by the Federal Government's Standard Occupational Classification system. The salary for structural engineers falls within the pay scale for civil engineers whose salary is affected by factors such as location and employer.
Average Salary and Employment
The number of individuals employed as civil engineers in 2010 was 249,120, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau indicates that the average salary for structural and other civil engineers was $82,280, as of May 2010. The bureau indicates that the largest employer of structural engineers was companies offering architectural or engineering services. State and local governments were the second and third largest employers, respectively.
Placing the average salary within the context of the of the pay scale of civil engineers nationwide shed some light on what structural engineers can expect to make. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most civil and structural engineers made between $61,590 and $97,990 annually in 2010, with a median salary of $77,560. The highest paid engineers in this area of specialization made more than $119,320 per year, while the bottom 10 percent earned an average of $50,560.
Location also provides an indicator of the expected pay for structural engineers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, California is the state with the highest average annual salary for this engineering specialty at $94,970 per year in 2010. Louisiana was the second-highest paying state with an average salary of $92,730 per year, while those working in Alaska and Texas made $89,350 and $89,110, respectively.
Structural engineering salaries also vary by industry or employer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top-paying industry for engineers in this field was commercial and industrial machinery equipment at $133,830 per year in 2010. Those working in heavy and civil engineering construction averaged $99,210 per year, while those working in the oil and gas extraction industry made an average salary of $105,250 per year, as of 2010.