In California, a "Structural Engineer" is an engineer who has first received a state license as a civil engineer. Then he or she must obtain three additional years of experience directly related to structural engineering. After the experience and reference checks, there is a 16 hour (two day) test given by the state that must be passed. Then they have the authority to use the title "Structural Engineer."

     This specialized engineering knowledge and experience enables the Structural Engineer to analyze and design buildings or other structures to withstand the forces of gravity, earthquakes, or wind.

    This gives the consumer an additional assurance (as compared with a civil only license) that this person is qualified to design and evaluate structures (buildings). Many civil engineers have education and experience in other areas such as surveying or road building.