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Ask an expert: Professional Registration

Ask an expert: Professional RegistrationFind out about the benefits of registration and how it works straight from the mouths of professional engineers.

Chris Browne is a Mechanical Engineer at Thales. He talks about how registration works and how it can oost your career.

What is Professional Registration?

Professional Registration is recognition by the UK Engineering Council that an engineer has demonstrated a particular standard of engineering competence.

What routes to registration are available?

The UK Engineering council recognises Engineering Technician (EngTech), Incorporated Engineer (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng). To obtain one of these qualifications, a period of initial development must be successfully undertaken, and the level of this development is measured against the Engineering Council UK Standard. successful registration occurs upon completion of a Professional Review with the Institution that is being applied to. A bachelors or honours degree or equivalent is required to go for IEng and a Masters or equivalent is required for application for CEng.

How can registration help your career?

Registration establishes a professional engineer's competence. It demonstrates a commitment to professional standards and to personal development.

I have also found in interviews that the activities undertaken as part of my professional development period have provided an additional talking point and merit to my CV. An example of this is positively discussing the outreach activities I have undertaken as part of my professional development with prospective employers.

What you need beyond a degree

Paul Welsh was a reviewer for CEng and IEng applications. He explains the skills required for registration, and how to prove them.

Your portfolio is your opportunity to demonstrate that you are performing as a Chartered or Incorporated Engineer. The ruling word is 'I', with virtually no mention of your employer. Remember, you are talking to experts: they probably wrote the standards you use, use technical terms without explanation and follow the instructions for the submission format and word count implicitly.

Supporting documents go in indexed appendices. They need to be both self explanatory and relevant. Tip: start collecting evidence as soon as possible. It's better to have too much to choose from than not enough. Ask your mentor to review your portfolio and react to their comments.

You need to demonstrate that you have the necessary technical skills: for IEng, that you know and can apply the relevant standards and who to approach when the rules don’t fit; for CEng that you understand the rules and can use their principles to develop an extension when necessary - one that you can justify in court. In addition you need to demonstrate your skills in project management, financial management and staff management. You need to understand the relevant forms of contract and demonstrate that you have a keen awareness of the social and environmental issues of your work. Your understanding of Health and Safety must be sound - it is a common cause of failure.