Credentials to call yourself an Engineer?

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Credentials to call yourself an Engineer?

Post by ktomecek » Tue May 29, 2007 6:22 pm

My partner and I own an engineering design firm. I meet and work with people all the time that call themselves engineers, yet my practical experience and knowledge quickly shows me that I am more of an engineer than they are. So my question is, when can you call yourself an engineer. Is it based on schooling? If so at what level? I have no problem calling a doctor a doctor since it is pretty well defined what it takes. Can anyone shed light on this?


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Post by Joseph » Tue May 29, 2007 6:46 pm

I have the feeling that a person should have a four year degree in a science field before being eligible. That actually leaves me out.

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Chris Smith
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Post by Chris Smith » Tue May 29, 2007 8:12 pm

Contact China?

They can tell you?

The way of the republican......

Other than judge this idiot, based on this idiots experience.......?

[What do you want, rocket science?]

In my day it was called an "apprentice-ship", its anybodies guess?
[they dont want educated people]

Stupidity rules... sheep and buying is the way. Duhhh

Just look at the republican party of today...

And shrub who cant walk and chew bubble gum,... is YOUR man?

Eat shi* and live, they will be back...

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Post by Ed B. » Tue May 29, 2007 8:27 pm


First - I don't know what the connection is from the post just before mine and its relationship to your original question ? ? ?

Second - When I was working in the telephone industry, a few people that I met would introduce themselves as an engineer. My reply to them would be - "Diesel, Steam or Hot Air ?"

Ed B.

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Post by Externet » Tue May 29, 2007 10:07 pm

I say a piece of paper issued by a recognized institution saying that a person has completed successfully the something engineering courses, No matter if in months or years or decades of study.

Now, what is a recognized institution is another question.

I find a problem in English, where a locomotive conductor is also an engineer and probably other fields use the title.

- Abolish the deciBel ! -

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Bob Scott
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Post by Bob Scott » Tue May 29, 2007 11:21 pm

Usually, to become a professional engineer requires that you complete the four year engineering degree that gives you a BSc Eng. After completing a few years doing real engineering in Electronics or electical, civil, mechanical, chemical etc. you can apply to the IEEE for the P.Eng. designation. This is the professional credential. They send you an iron ring. Every iron ring is made from the wreckage of a certain bridge (I don't remember which one). The bridge collapsed due to poor design, so every ring is a reminder that engineering designs should be built right.

I have a couple of relatives who attained the Bsc. Eng. but were directly hired from university to do sales and management work, for very large salaries. They cannot use the P. Eng designation because they have never actually engineered anything and do not have iron rings.

Otherwise there are the historic "non-professional" Engineers designated as Locomotive Engineers, Building Engineers and Marine Engineers for people who take charge of steam plants.

There are also broadcast engineers. These are technicians and technologists who have technical employment in broadcast stations.

In Japan there is no large difference between an engineer and a technician. In the USA in electronics manufacturing plants, "test engineers" may actually just have technical diplomas. They get to be called "Engineer" but get paid a lot less than a real P. Eng.

Bob :cool:

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Post by philba » Wed May 30, 2007 6:03 am

A couple of points:

1) Ed.B, don't ask, don't tell. It just stirs up the dust.

2) an engineer (lower case) is more a matter of practice. Often it is simply a job title. Since the world of engineering is very broad, there are different rules/practices/laws - even within each engineering discipline. I know that within computer/digital engineering, even EE degrees aren't 100% required. I've worked with many people with the title "engineer" but had not completed an engineering degree. And lets not forget "Software Development Engineer" - A Comp Sci degree is nice but an amazing number of SDEs don't have one and it's not at all uncommon to find them with no degree at all.

3) if you are doing an engineering job, you can call yourself an engineer.

4) Professional credentials, like P. Eng, are pretty specific. In some forms of engineering, they are desired/required. However, in many many engineering disciplines, they are basically irrelevant. I doubt many engineers in silicon valley have that title.

5) title inflation. bob touched on that. in the semiconductor industry, there are an amazing number of "engineer" job titles that have nothing to do with actually creating something: sales engineer, customer engineer, test engineer, compliance engineer, applications engineer, qa engineer and so on. I used to joke with my secretary that she was a secretarial engineer.


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Post by jwax » Wed May 30, 2007 7:21 am

I like this one-
(n.) A person skilled in the principles and practice of any branch of engineering.
It doesn't reference or implicate a formal degree, or even education, just the "skill".

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Post by Robert Reed » Wed May 30, 2007 8:37 am

In any skilled profession, there is training(education) and practice (actually doing) involved. I do beleive a 4 year degree is a true prerequisate to the title of engineer. However without practice and plenty of it, that degree will take you nowhere. Its often been stated that an engineer is obsolete 10 years after his degree. How do we overcome that - by practice and continuing non stop education (short courses, seminars, etc.). The bottom line here is that years of experience probably out weigh the degree after some years have passed. A good engineer not only has to keep current with new technology but must possess the desire and passion to promote his skill. I have seen non degeed engineers that could run circles around some of the younger degreed engineers. I have also worked with some younger degreed engineers who were absolutely brilliant. The difference - passion and desire!

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Post by GoingFastTurningLeft » Wed May 30, 2007 1:14 pm

The guy who mops the floor and takes out the trash is a Custodial Engineer.

I was the "broadcast engineer" for my college TV station my final year. It meant I knew how to use every single piece of equipment, and how to wire every single thing up into whatever else it could be plugged into. I did design and build a circuit to allow the exisiting VCR IR automation system to "push" play on a DVR player, allowing things like a full broadcast day on the weekends when no one could get into the studio. This circuit has been in operation since last march and it still gets its job done.

It doesn't make a whole lot of sense for the IEEE to give out rings made from a bridge though. Seems like something the ASME would do.

I applied for a "project engineer" job last year (which i didn't get) which basically had you figuring out what lengths of certain cables you'd need to go from point A to point B in a room, and then what you'd need to support it from the ceiling, right down to every nut and bolt. Thing is, they'd then have a technician actually do the install. Kind of glad i didn't get that job...

I think to be an engineer you actually have to understand what you're doing both on paper and in the real world, ie you need to have the ability to be your own technician. You wouldn't believe some of the EE's I graduated with... some of them were great on paper but didn't know which way to plug a diode in...

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Post by Bear » Wed May 30, 2007 3:09 pm

"Engineer" is a mostly worthless title for describing abilities. The only worthwhile "Engineer" title is the one granted by the state you live in.
If "electrical engineer" appears on your business card, or appears in a ad for your services and is a licensed profession (IE Architect, EE, Civil Eng., Structural Eng.) in your state, then you must
also advertise your license number, otherwise you are subject to legal penalties. You do not have to belong to any societies or trade groups.
I do not know if you need to have a 4yr. degree from a state licensed institution or if you can challenge the tests and take them without the diploma from a college.
Thats the way it is in California.

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Post by Chris Smith » Wed May 30, 2007 3:17 pm

In California you CAN challenge the test for your exams and credits.

I got my cedits that way, never attending any formal class rooms.

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Post by rshayes » Wed May 30, 2007 8:53 pm

The first requirement in California is to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. This used to be called the Eingineer in Training (EIT) examination. It is an eight hour exam covering the math and physics normally taught in a four year engineering curriculum. It is only given once or twice a year. Passing this exam without taking at least some of the appropriate college courses in not very likely.

The second requirement is at least six years of experience (some states require eight). Evaluation of this experience is based on written affidavits of engineers familiar with your work, not your claims in a resume. An acceptable four year degree can be substituted for fours years of experience, but you will still need two years of actual experience.

The third requirement is to pass one of the specific professional examinations (chemical, electrical, mechanical, etc.) The first two requirements must be met for admission to these examinations. The professional examinations are also eight hours long and cover specific areas of engineering. The problems are both multiple choice and essay type questions. The pass rates on these examinations are usually in the 25 to 35 percent range, even for people with the required education and experience.

In theory, you can be licensed as a Professional Engineer without formal training. In practice, the probablility of this is very low. Partial completion of an engineering curriculum combined with at least six years of experience is a possibility, but not very common.

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Post by ian » Thu May 31, 2007 8:00 am

I knew a girl a while back who graduated to be an "environmental
engineer" Smart girl but very low key. Anyway she had a hard time
finding a job, where I was she was the receptionist. She finally got
a job working real cheap for a jerky company. Well, this company
starts losing its employees because they're so cheap. A year into the
job she's promoted 3 times because her bosses keep quitting.
It got so bad the owner sat down one day and decided who his core
people were, the ones he couldn't do without. A week later she gets a
$30,000 raise.
Too late though, she had been applying for other jobs and better
opportunity was offered. She quit a month later.
Anyway this post hits close to home, I've been trying to start my own
company for a few years now doing electronic design. My childhood
was such that I could not go to University. I've always been
fascinated by electronics, I'm skilled, but only got enough education
for a technician's job.
I started advertising and to prove myself I did a few hefty jobs real
cheap. I find many people have a hard time finding a good electronic
guy for a reasonable price. Many have hired "hackers" and lost money
trying to get something made before coming to me. Now I have
amazing references that get me past that "can you really do this?"
I have a customer now that is better than a customer. I befriended
the owner of a company that is a manufacturers rep of industrial
electrical devices. These devices don't always do exactly what his
customer wants and that's when I get the call. I'm working on deals
now that are off the charts.
But the ULTIMATE IRONY of all this is that I've trying to get some
electronic devices made but don't have the time. So I contacted a
University professor and asked if some of these devices could be
good engineering projects for electronic engineering students. He
said yes, so now I mentor engineering students, providing project
ideas and steering then through the design process.
Every time I think about it I smile.

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Post by mnboy » Thu May 31, 2007 9:07 am

I have heard the phrase "engineer by trade, not by education" That could be interpreted in a couple of different ways. Engineer by experience being one way, or engineer by title only could be another. I fall into the engineer by experience group. Like ian, I did not have the means to attend a 4yr school. Therefore I attended a 2yr tech college and obtained an AAS. I then got a job in the electronics industry as a "technician" and worked my way up with time and experience into an engineering title. The group I work in consists of about half AAS guys and half EE guys. The EE guys of course being generally the youngest. And if you came in and observed the work coming out of our group, I think you would be hard pressed to guess which guys have the EE and which do not.

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