What are the best professional certifications in engineering to earn?
Professional certification is a useful tool to highlight your expertise in the engineering field. Different from earning a college or university engineering certificate, professional certification is typically earned after you receive your degree, and indicates that you have a high level of specialized knowledge in your field. Regardless of your discipline, engineering certification is a powerful resume builder that can lead to increased professional growth and higher earnings.
The Professional Engineer credential, or PE, is the industry standard for professional engineering certifications. Applicants are required to have 4 years of job experience beyond a bachelors degree in order to sit for the exam.
If you are interested in software engineering or network administration, the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification can help you continue to build your career in information security. Although this certification is for professionals who have worked in the field for 5 years or more, it is something to consider when deciding which area of engineering to pursue.
Candidates are tested on general engineering expertise, ethics and knowledge specific to a wide range of disciplines, from civil engineering to a professional with a mining engineering degree. Earning the PE credential can result in a pay increase of $10,000 or more for an engineer with an onsite or online masters in engineering.
Another popular and useful engineering certification exam among engineers of all disciplines is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional credential, also known as LEED-AP.
The exam, which is administered by the Green Building Certification Institute, is considered the gold standard for engineers interested in sustainable construction. LEED-AP accreditation has become increasingly valuable among engineers, and can increase your salary by $5,000 or more.
What organizations offer certification in engineering?
A large number of professional associations offer engineering certification programs, many of which are very specific to a particular discipline within the profession.
The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying is the 92-year-old national nonprofit organization that administers the Fundamentals of Engineering and Principles and Practice of Engineering exams that are considered industry standards for engineering certification and licensure.
The Association for Energy Engineers (AEE) was the first organization to offer energy engineering certification programs and now offers the AEE Certified Energy Manager® credential. The AEE credential is widely recognized in the energy engineering industry and gives a competitive advantage to credentialed recipients.
The Society of Petroleum Engineers is the largest membership organization serving managers, engineers, scientists and other professionals in the petroleum industry. The organization offers a Petroleum Engineering Certification that measures engineering fundamentals and level of problem solving ability.
The International Council on Systems Engineering (ICOSE) has been serving the systems engineering community for 22 years and currently has over 8,000 members. The ICOSE currently offers a multi-level engineering certification exam that tests the knowledge and experience of systems engineers worldwide.
The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies offers engineering certifications to the professionals who work alongside engineers in order to distinguish them as the best in their fields. Available certifications include construction materials testing, bridge safety inspections and highway traffic operations.
Can I earn a certification in engineering online?
Surprisingly, in spite of the immense growth of quality online programming, there are currently no programs that will allow you to earn your engineering certification online. While most reputable certifying bodies will require you to take your engineering certification exam at a proctored testing facility, via computer module or pen and paper, you are able to do your exam preparation completely online.
You will find online study guides and practice examinations on the majority of testing organization websites, and will likely be able to schedule your test online as well. If you intend to take the Fundamentals of Engineering or Principles or Practice of Engineering exams, The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) website is a good place to start.
NCEES offers web resources that will help you to determine your eligibility to sit for the test, specifications for your area of focus and sample questions to prepare you for the examination. Since most tests are a minimum of 4 hours and can be spread out over 2 days, it is a good idea to read any testing policies posted to the website so that you know what to expect and what you are allowed to bring into the test with you.