Thinking about a Professional Qualification? Decide which avenue is right for you.
Published: 02 Jun 2015
Professional qualifications are valuable in the engineering industry as they demonstrate a benchmarked level of competence as an engineer. Whether you aim to become a Chartered Engineer (CEng) or Incorporated Engineer (IEng), the benefits of your professional qualification can include a boost to your career, increased earning potential and greater responsibility. UK engineering standards are also recognised internationally and therefore enhance your prospects for finding work abroad. As such, gaining your professional qualifications and putting in the extra hard work is well worth the effort.
The Engineering Council sets the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC) and licences professional engineering institutions to assess candidates for inclusion on the national register of professional engineers and technicians. The Engineering Council currently holds the national registers of 222,000 Engineering Technicians (EngTech), Information and Communications Technology Technicians (ICTTech), Incorporated Engineers (IEng) and Chartered Engineers (CEng).
‘Chartered Engineers develop solutions to engineering problems using new or existing technologies through innovation, creation and change and they may have technical accountability for complex systems with significant levels of risk.’ (Engineering Council)
To become a Chartered Engineer, you need to have an appropriate Masters degree (MEng) or Engineering Doctorate (EngD) accredited by one of the major engineering institutions, such as the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). There are over 30 licensed institutions to choose from, so be sure to select one that best relates to your field. If you haven’t obtained either an MEng or postgraduate degree, you still have other options. Learning Whilst Earning is another route to professional qualifications (including IEng, CEng and EngTech/ICTTech) for those who prefer a more practical, work-based method.
‘Incorporated Engineers maintain and manage applications of current and developing technology, and may undertake engineering design, development, manufacture, construction and operation.’ (Engineering Council)
To become an Incorporated Engineer, you will need to take an accredited BSc Honours degree followed by several years in the industry to demonstrate your technical competence and ability to work at a professional standard.
While both CEng and IEng are highly regarded, the competence requirements are more stringent for CEng than IEng. Average salaries between the two also vary, where the median salary for Chartered Engineers was £55,000 in 2010, compared with the £43,300 median salary of Incorporated Engineers. Regardless of sector, the most sought after positions are generally accredited to chartered status.