7 Best Engineering Certifications for the Modern Engineer

engineering-certification
7 Best Engineering Certifications for the Modern Engineer

From chemical and operations engineering to software and civil engineering, the engineering industry constitutes a large portion of positions in the STEM fields. Although broad in responsibility and scope, positions in engineering fields are usually highly specialized and require a combination of academic and professional experiences. To get an edge against others in this competitive profession, additional qualifications are almost always necessary to demonstrate your knowledge and proficiency in niche or required skills. While many turn to traditional educational routes to acquire this knowledge, online engineering certifications offer an enticing and cheaper alternative to attain the same expertise at your own pace and convenience!

The right certifications can impact an engineer’s career trajectory and professional credibility. Acquiring certifications provides proof of an engineer’s competency and credentials in skills required for the job and shows the engineer’s willingness and commitment to professional development following graduation. This proactive approach to learning and work is highly desired in any workplace and testifies to a professional's work ethic and values. 

Searching for the right certification can be a hassle; this article will cover 7 key certifications for various engineering roles and will discuss the scope, price, audience, and duration of each one, For those considering stepping up their game and getting the qualifications needed to land a new job or better-compensated position, this article may be right for you! 

Table of Contents

Are Certificates Worth It in Engineering?

A certificate in a core engineering skill can make the difference between missing and receiving an offer for your dream position. Certifications for an engineer represent continued education and a proactive willingness to keep up-to-date with evolving and advancing standards and technologies within the industry. Here are some reasons an engineering certification is fully worth the time and money!

Career Advancement

Engineering certifications can lead to better job positions, promotions, and recognition within the industry. By pursuing continued education, certifications allow engineers to continuously develop their skill sets and keep their knowledge and experience in demand by the company and future potential employers. 

Increased Earnings

There is great potential for a substantial salary increase for certified engineers compared to their non-certified peers. Certifications and supplemental qualifications can earn an engineer the credibility to land an administrative or leadership position. Studies show that certified engineers can earn higher salaries of upwards of 15% in pay compared to their non-certified counterparts! 

Networking Opportunities

Taking the time to become more certified is not an undertaking every engineer is willing to take. Pursuing certifications can help you expand your professional network by placing you in the same space as other professionals, experts, and industry leaders, whether it be through seminars, training sessions, or conferences. You will get the opportunity to receive training, learn from, and grow with like-minded individuals with similar professional end-goals as you!

📚Further reading: How to Network Like a Pro: 15 Never-Outdated Tips to Get You Started

Despite all the benefits that completing an engineering certificate has on an engineer’s career, there are still challenges and other considerations that need to be weighed before signing up for a course. 

Cost 

Although certifications increase one’s earning potential, the upfront financial investment required for obtaining certifications can place the certification out of reach for many. There are many costs to consider when signing up for a certification course, including exam and testing fees, preparatory course fees, and material costs to name a few. 

Time Commitment

Certifications are as much an investment of time as they are a financial investment. Many courses require over 6 hours of work a week and take place over several months. This is a significant investment as many engineers who choose to take certification courses are fully employed and have heavy workloads. What’s more, some certifications need to be renewed after a certain number of years to maintain knowledge of the most current best practices, so engineers must be conscious of the amount of time they realistically have to juggle their existing workload with the additional workload of an intensive certification course. 

Relevance

It is not enough to take a certification simply because it sounds interesting. Upon evaluation of your existing and missing qualifications, choosing a certification that is relevant to your field of work will allow you to directly reap the benefits of the certificate upon completion. In addition, also ensure that due market research is conducted to make sure that the certification is a worthwhile medium-to-long-term investment.

At the end of the day, certifications are supposed to support your personal and professional development. When choosing which certification course is right for you, think about what your long-term career goals are and which certifications can help you get there the fastest!

Professional Engineer (PE)

The Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) is a certification exam that is designed to test the minimum required knowledge necessary to complete the fundamental responsibilities of an engineer in a particular field. The exam is offered to test 27 different engineering specializations and costs around $375 as costs may vary depending on the type of engineering. The organization that manages the exam, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), offers a wide range of written and visual resources, exam prep notes, and mock exams for participants to review. There are options to sit the exam in person and online, making it very accessible to many. Entry-level engineers who want to add more credit to their existing academic and professional qualifications can consider this certification program today!

Project Management Professional (PMP)

The Project Management Professional certification and exam is designed for those who wish to add a quantifiable testament to their ability to lead and execute projects across multiple fields. The exam and resources are available in over 10 languages and are designed for those who have existing project management experience but wish to formalize it through an in-demand certification. The PMP certification is bestowed on participants who meet all prerequisite course requirements and pass a 180-question exam which can be taken in person or online. The exam costs $405 for members and $575 for non-members. 

Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB)

The Certified Six Sigma Black Belt certification is designed for those in the business, operations, and processing fields and teaches ways to increase efficiency in production spaces. The CSSBB course costs $49 and includes a free book that teaches the material that will be tested in the exam. The book includes discussions of topics related to defining, measuring, analyzing, improving, and controlling production so that it minimizes last and maximizes efficiency! The book and exam are designed to be as possible, which makes it a no-brainer for an engineer looking to complete an in-demand and worthwhile certification! 

LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP)

The LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) specialty certification course is designed for civil engineers and other engineers specializing in green and environmentally sustainable building. LEED AP is intended for those already working on or have experience with green building safety processes and practices and the LEED rating system. The LEED AP program offers training materials to prepare for the exam and requires at least 30 hours of continuing education to maintain the certification. The course is available for 5 distinct specializations that span across types of buildings, costs $550 ($400 for USGBC members), and culminates in a 100-question multiple-choice exam that can be taken online or in person. 

Certified Reliability Engineer (CRE)

The Certified Reliability Engineer is targeted at professional engineers who wish to demonstrate and display their proficiency in performance evaluation and prediction. The material covered in this course includes the topics of design review and control, mathematical modeling, reliability testing, and reliability information systems, amongst many others. The exam costs $533 for the first test and $333 for subsequent retesting. To qualify for the CRE exam, candidates must have 8 years of experience in an area under the Certified Reliability Body of Knowledge or 3 years of experience in a relevant decision-making position. However, this time can be shortened with waivers (1-5 years) that can be claimed from a degree in a relevant field. 

Certified Chemical Engineer (CCE)

The Certified Chemical Engineer (CCE) certification is offered by the National Certification Commission in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, and is designed for (you guessed it) chemical engineers! The CCE certification is designed to demonstrate a chemical engineer’s level of education and professional experience and showcases an engineer’s interest in pursuing higher-level continued education throughout their career. This certification requires 4 years of relevant experience and costs $500 to sit the exam. The CCE certification also requires a renewal every three years, but this is done through obtaining Continued Education Units (CEU) rather than sitting a renewal exam.

Software Engineering Master Certification (SEMC)

The SEMC is organized by the IEEE Computer Society and is intended to demonstrate the advancement of proficiency in 12 key modules in the software engineering field. This certification is not intended for students or recent graduates; typically, several years of professional experience and a deep understanding of software engineering construction, testing, and execution are base requirements to succeed. Enrollment in this certification program (including the course material and exam fee) will cost $1200, or $865 for only the exam. The exam can only be taken online and must be completed within one year of purchase. 

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

The CCNA certification is designed for those in the software engineering field who wish to provide licensed proof of knowledge in network and security fundamentals and IP services. The course costs $300 plus tax and is valid for three years. Before expiry, certificate holders can renew their license through retesting or Continued Education Units. Pursuing this certification is highly recommended for all levels of IT professionals as it does not have any specific requirements to enroll; this is good motivation for entry-level IT professionals to step up their game and take this in-demand certification today! 

Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP)

The Certified Systems Engineering Professional certification is designed for systems engineers with more than five years of professional experience. To take this certification course, candidates must follow the process outlined on the CSEP website; this will include registering as an INCOSE member, submitting the requested application materials, paying the application fee and, finally, passing the exam. The exam can be taken online or in person and tests concepts that systems engineers apply in practical work settings. Candidates can take the test 3 times in 12 months, and the exam payment is valid for one year. 

How to Showcase Engineering Certifications on a Resume?

Successful completion of an engineering certificate is the first step; the next step is to show the world you have it! Certifications can be included in different sections of a resume and should clearly state the important information related to the certification so that employers can easily identify your expertise and hard-earned qualifications. This includes information like the name of the certification, the date of completion, a secure certification identification number, and the name of the issuing body for the certificate. 

Where to List Certifications on a Resume

Certifications can be listed under several section headers. Some of the most common examples include

Under a dedicated "Certifications" section

engineering-certification

A certification section in a resume should be reserved for those who possess many relevant certifications and wish to display all of them in one place. 

Integrated within the "Education" section


engineering-certification

If you have completed a certification as part of an educational pursuit, you can include it in the Education section of your resume. This is good to group your certifications so that employers can more easily connect your academic experience with your complementing certification. 

Mentioned in the "Professional Experience" section


engineering-certification

If you have substantial work experience in a particular field and have obtained certification courses during that time to increase your standing or position within the company, then you can opt to include the certifications you obtained in that position as part of the job description. This is good for professionals who want to demonstrate to employers their willingness to engage in continued education, as well as show their targeted development throughout their professional careers. 

Conclusion

Completing certifications following graduation is a good reflection of your work ethic and attitude toward continuous professional development. Engineering certifications offer the opportunity for engineers to display the depth and scope of their knowledge in high-demand areas in their fields. The certifications require a significant investment of time and money, but the payout in terms of professional development, approval from employers, and upward career progression more than justifies the price. If you are an engineer and wish to take your career to the next level, check out an in-demand certification in your field. It may just open the right doors and get you that position you have always dreamed about!

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--- Originally Written by Alexander Coye ---

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