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Hints and tips - and why be a Professional?

Why go on a course that is accredited? What does this actually mean?

An accredited course (by the Engineering Council) will ensure that the course you are on will be approved…this will help you when you graduate because it shows employers that the qualification you have is accepted by industry. This will mean you are on the first step to becoming a chartered engineer with your chosen professional institution which means recognition of your ability wherever you work, in UK or abroad.

What if I am doing an engineering qualification that is not accredited or based in a university? How do I know it will be accepted?

Professional institutions will approve other non accredited courses if they meet their criteria, they will look at the content of the course you have done and make a decision…it is better to make sure and check with your college or training provider before you apply for a course.

What does it mean to become a professional?

There are many professions we all know about… law, architecture and medicine are professions that are well recognised and have a long history. There are many more, and engineering is another major profession. Engineers use their judgement and experience to solve important problems and create safe solutions.

Being a professional means the job you do will have a set of characteristics - you will demonstrate specialist knowledge and expertise and you will be committing to a set of values. As a professional you commit to a code of ethical behaviour - so while you have responsibility for your clients, you also have a responsibility to society. You sign up to a professional code of conduct.

As an example there are legal restrictions that will limit some work only to chartered engineers - so the letters after your name testify to everyone that you are competent and trusted.

Right… you go to university to study engineering… do you have to become a member straight away? Is it a good idea to join as a student member?

When you start university you may know which sector of engineering you want to follow, in which case it makes great sense to join the institution - to get access to lots of resources and information and meet other engineers when they have local events. Check out the list of institutions with web-links to membership sections on this site or on Engineering Council website. Costs to join vary - some will be free, some will be a small amount...but they set you on course for progression to chartered engineer.

But what if I don't yet know what I want to do after my degree?

Some institutions are very broad based. One example is the IET, an institution for a wide range of engineers. They offer membership at different levels and a dedicated section for students and apprentices on their website.

IET Students Section

Do you have to have a university degree to become chartered? What if I am an apprentice?

Anyone on a recognised course of engineering study, at any level can progress to become chartered. The Engineering Council has three levels of chartership. You can become an Engineering Technician (EngTech) by having a Level 3 qualification together with professional development and experience, which is then assessed.

You may progress from apprenticeship to further professional development and experience which means you can then apply to become an Incorporated Engineer (IEng).