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There are a few key differences between civil engineers and structural engineers which you should be aware of if you are thinking about pursuing one type of engineering over the other. The differences are similar to the analogy all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares. All structural engineers are civil engineers, but not all civil engineers are structural engineers. Structural engineers typically focus on the physical structure of buildings or bridges, while civil engineers may also have expertise in environmental issues and transportation. While both civil and structural engineering require the same undergraduate degree, structural engineers are required to take additional testing and exams.

Civil Engineering Includes the following Areas of Expertise:

Civil engineering designers are experts in a variety of disciplines, including transportation planning and design, infrastructure management and construction, environmental engineering, and stormwater management. Civil engineers typically work with clients to create plans and designs that will improve the quality of life for residents and visitors in their area.

The civil engineering field is growing rapidly, as more people become aware of the importance of infrastructure improvements in order to maintain a strong economy. Civil engineers are essential members of team who help to make these improvements a reality.

Structural Engineering Includes the following Areas of Expertise:

Structural engineering is the design of any structure, from a simple box to a complex bridge, with an eye to safety, performance, and cost-effectiveness. Included in this field are the designers of bridges and other large structures, as well as those who specialize in buildings and infrastructure. Structural engineers must be able to think critically about how various loads will affect a structure, and create a plan that meets or exceeds these expectations. Additionally, structural engineers must be knowledgeable in materials science and engineering in order to choose the most appropriate materials for a given project.


Civil engineering is compromised of many different sub disciplines. Structural engineers work on large buildings, such as office towers and hospitals. Both groups are involved in ensuring that buildings are safe and withstand natural disasters. They also help to plan communities by designing public facilities, such as schools and parks.