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Individual Certification As An Engineering Manager?

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

EM Skills and Real World Concepts

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.755.1 - 10.755.6

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Paper Authors

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Rafael Landaeta

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Kawintorn Pothanun

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William Peterson

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1642

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.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015