June 12, 2005
June 12, 2005
June 15, 2005
10.755.1 - 10.755.6
Individual Certification as an Engineering Manager?
William R. Peterson, Rafael E. Landaeta, Kawintorn Pothanun
Old Dominion University
Several of the discipline specific professional societies are offering or planning to offer certification of individuals as engineering managers. Does this have implications for Engineering Management programs at universities? Other stakeholders (faculty, students, employers, and graduates of engineering management programs) are impacted by certification as well. This paper attempts to look at the issue from several points of view. This paper is intended to provoke a dialog on the topic.
Background Certification of individuals in certain skills has been common for many years. A certified applicator for any of the different predetermined time systems is one example of a typical certification. The skill is taught by the certifying organization – often the owner of a proprietary system - for a fee. The holder of the certification has typically been tested to ascertain their competency to use the tool (or software); the “prerequisite” for the certification is typically limited to those necessary to understand the training. While degreed engineers may hold these certifications, the certification is seldom difficult to obtain. Other examples are certified network engineer – which is not an engineer – where the training is offered by a trade school or as continuing education and is not based on “engineering” as we know it.
In engineering certification of interest has long been that of PE (Professional Engineer). This certification is more of a license to practice engineering and is required by state law for certain engineering work. Examples of this work are structural designs and pressure vessels. In many, if not most states, the offering of engineering consulting services requires at least the principal(s) in the firm to have a PE. The professional organization for holders of the PE designation is the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) 1. This organization supports the need for the license/certification and provides support and services for the holder of this certification. Membership in NSPE is not required for certification and NSPE does not offer the PE certification.
The awarding of the PE in the United States is done at the state level by some governmental board – for example in Virginia PE certification is done by the Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Landscape Architects. Each state board sets its own requirements but they generally follow the same basic requirement set:
“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”
Landaeta, R., & Pothanun, K., & Peterson, W. (2005, June), Individual Certification As An Engineering Manager? Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. https://peer.asee.org/15309
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