The concise answer to the above question is – probably not. First, we need to differentiate a certificate from a certification. The former is typically awarded after the completion of specific training or coursework and possibly an examination. Overlap with the two terms occurs when you take a CPR course (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), for example. Upon successful completion, you are certified by the Red Cross and most likely receive a certificate suitable for framing. Therefore, you now have your CPR certification.
The world of finance has many certifications, such as:
- CPA: Certified Public Accountant
- CFP: Certified Financial Planner
- CFA: Chartered Financial Analyst
- CIC: Chartered Investment Counselor
The above list and more might be a work requirement or attained to enhance one’s credibility, boost a resume, impress clients and colleagues, add prestige, and show dedication to the profession. In contrast, engineering has one penultimate credential – the P.E. or Professional Engineer. The National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) states that the P.E. demonstrates the highest competence and assurance of quality. This designation is more than a certification; it is a license to practice engineering in one’s state of employment. Each state sets its own set of eligibility requirements.
The Texas Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, for example, you need a minimum of four years experience as an engineering practitioner, at least an accredited bachelor’s degree, which must include eight hours of math (beyond trigonometry), and twenty hours of engineering sciences. The college program needs to be on the list of accredited schools by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
A bachelor’s degree in engineering management may not have the requisite hours to meet eligibility for applying for licensure. Arizona State University, for example, offers a B.S. in Engineering Management (E.M.) with six hours of calculus and three algebra courses that might meet the P.E. requirement. However, there are few engineering science hours, but mostly natural sciences, like physics, anatomy, chemistry, and geology. Generally, the coursework in engineering management teaches administrative and leadership skills for those not aspiring to be practicing engineers.
Individuals entering the field of engineering management could open their own business one day in a consulting role. The P.E. is mandated in all states when an engineer represents clients. Also, state licensing boards have the authority, in some cases, to impose penalties on engineers performing duties that require a license.
The information above pertains principally to the practicing engineer. You could avoid licensure (a P.E.) if you choose the path of planning, organizing, and directing engineering activities, known as engineering management. The American Society for Engineering Management is a source for two certifications:
Certified Associate in Engineering Management (CAEM)
There are possibilities for the CAEM depending on whether you graduated with a bachelor’s or master’s degree. The former must be in an engineering field or technology, and it requires an exam. Individuals with a master’s in E.M. do not have an exam. The certification requires understanding the basics of the Engineering Management Body of Knowledge or EMBoK. No experience is needed to apply.
Certified Professional in Engineering Management (CPEM)
Candidates with a bachelor’s degree, as outline above, require at least four years of work experience; graduates with a master’s need a minimum of three years. Both academic levels have an examination, after which successful test-takers receive a certificate valid for three years. Before renewal, you must take the required continuing education hours.
The CPEM and CAEM are open to graduates from all engineering disciplines, like aeronautics, biomedical, chemical, electrical, industrial, mechanical, civil, environmental, and nuclear. Other eligible professions include computer science, mathematics, physics, and technology management.
Individuals with a conferred bachelor’s degree and other specific requirements might be eligible for a graduate certificate in management. The Stanford School of Engineering offers a Graduate Certificate in Technology and Engineering Management that takes one to two years.
The College of Engineering at Northeastern University has a Graduate Certificate in Engineering Management that you can finish within one year part-time in Boston. The core courses cover project management, economic decision-making, and engineering probability & statistics—the school networks with over 255,000 alumni and 3,350 employers.
Does an Engineering Project Management certificate interest you? The Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at the University of Florida offers this nine-credit graduate program to undergraduate students in any engineering discipline.
Another resource for project management is GoSkills, which has a 46 lessons program titled Project Management for Engineers. This online learning format is the choice of over 600 businesses, including Fortune 500 companies that use the Learning Management System. For the nominal price of $199/year, students have unlimited access to all courses taught by award-winning instructors at your pace.
No four-year degree? No problem. The Project Management Institute (PMI) has a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) for graduates from high school education or an associate’s degree. Applicants must have at least 23 hours of project management education before sitting for the 150-questions examination.
Students enrolled in a degree-granting institute may earn the CAPM while completing their degree. The cost is $257, including membership in PMI, and $225 for the CAPM exam (member price).
Certificates, certifications, and some with exams are ways to add prestige to your educational and work accomplishments. All are vital to success in the perpetually competitive job market.