A master’s degree in telecommunications engineering, one of the highest-paying master’s degrees, can help you succeed as a telecom engineer. However, you may need more than a degree to work in this field. Some of the qualifications you may need to be a telecom engineer include a professional engineer license, the Internet Protocol Engineering Professional Credential and the iNARTE Telecommunications Engineer Certification.
A Professional Engineer License
In the engineering profession, whether or not you need a license depends on what your job duties entail. Generally, engineers who are responsible for signing and sealing engineering plans need to be licensed, as do engineers who offer their professional services to the public, according to the National Society of Professional Engineers.
To earn your Professional Engineer license, you need to complete two exams, plus meet education and experience requirements. If you’re working toward licensure, you can take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam shortly after graduation or even before you graduate. The FE exam is offered in different disciplines, and aspiring telecommunications engineers typically choose the Fundamentals of Engineering Electrical and Computer Exam.
After completing this exam and obtaining at least four years of work experience, you can take the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) Exam. The PE Electrical and Computer: Electronics, Controls and Communications Exam is the specialized PE exam that covers topics like digital logic, digital components, the analysis and design of digital and analog control systems, communication systems, analog and digital modulation techniques and noise and interference in communication signals.
The FE and PE exams required for licensure also cover general knowledge in topics in electrical and computer engineering, including circuit analysis, measurement and instrumentation, safety and reliability and signal processing.
The Internet Protocol Engineering Professional Credential
If you want to work in the cable telecommunications industry, you might be interested in pursuing the Internet Protocol Engineering Professional (IPEP) designation. Offered by the interconnected Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) and International Society Broadband Experts (ISBE), the IPEP credential is awarded to applicants who demonstrate their knowledge of Internet Protocol systems engineering in seven categories of knowledge.
The general networking theory exam category includes questions on protocols, protocol layer comparisons, data encapsulation, ethernet, networking and routing concepts, standards, protocol mechanics, services and applications. In the IP theory category, questions measure test-takers competence in standards and protocols of IPv4 and IPv6, along with routing basics and route protocols. The network design and performance analysis aspect of the test covers design guidelines, VLANs, standard routing protocols and virtualization. Test questions on IP network test and integration and troubleshooting include the topics of network impairments, testing practices, system level test methods, approaches to isolating problems, troubleshooting network problems and security.
The portion of the test that focuses on IP network deployment and operation encompasses topics in network architecture, network management, network monitoring, growth and capacity planning for networks, maintenance, system upgrades, disaster recovery, security and home networking. A section of exam content pertaining to multimedia includes video and audio competencies, voice over IP and the network requirements to transmit multimedia communications over IP. Finally, part of the exam emphasizes standards and Internet-related organizations and the specific RFCs that relate to Internet protocols.
To pass the IPEP exam, as with the other certification exams offered by the SCTE and ISBE, you need a minimum score of 76 percent.
The iNARTE Telecommunications Engineer Certification
Another qualification of interest to telecom engineers is the iNARTE Telecommunications Engineer certification. The International Association for Radio, Telecommunications and Electromagnetics offers this credential at three levels: junior, senior and master. Junior telecommunications engineers need at least four years of work experience, while master telecom engineers have eight years of work experience in the telecommunications engineering field.
You don’t need to take an exam for this certification, but you do need to earn your General Radiotelephone Operator License (GROL) from the Federal Communications Commission. To get the GROL from the FCC, you must pass two written exam elements. One of these elements emphasizes basic radio law and operating practice for maritime operations. This written exam element is short, consisting of just 24 questions. The other written exam element, based on general radiotelephone knowledge, is longer, at 100 questions. It encompasses questions about the operating procedures, electrical principles, circuit components, signals, antennas and more pertaining to radio transmitters and receivers.
iNARTE also awards telecommunications certifications to telecom technicians, who install, operate, maintain and repair telecommunications equipment.