Getting from masters to chartered engineer status

As a chartered engineer (CEng), you will have an internationally recognised qualification marking your competence and knowledge of engineering and engineering in a business context. It is a higher qualification than that of an incorporated engineer (IEng) on account of the initial academic requirements and, more pertinently, the additional training received. The chartered engineering qualification is tailored more towards roles involving new project development, management, and leadership in a more general context.

Engineering Professional Status: Chartered Engineer

As defined by the Engineering Council, 'Chartered engineers (CEng) are characterised by their ability to develop appropriate solutions to engineering problems using new or existing technologies, through innovation, creativity and change. They may develop and apply new technologies, promote advanced designs and design methods, introduce new and more efficient production techniques and marketing and construction concepts, and pioneer new engineering services and management methods. Chartered engineers are variously engaged in technical and commercial leadership and possess interpersonal skills.'

Following academic study – typically to masters, MRes or MPhil level for chartered engineers of the future - an engineer will then undertake Initial Professional Development (ITP). Graduates would be well advised to look into how the training on engineering graduate schemes would assist them in future registration as an chartered engineer; many employers run schemes that are approved by professional bodies, with the aim of training candidates up to this level. The ITP normally takes around four to six years to complete. Achieving the level of competence required can be demonstrated in a number of ways according to the specific engineering discipline the candidate specialises in.

Assessment of capabilities and knowledge as an engineer is conducted in the form of a professional review. This is two-fold: firstly, the candidate will be required to submit application forms and a portfolio of evidence displaying the training and knowledge that they have gained. Secondly, an interview will be held, typically with two qualified members of the professional engineering institution with which the graduate is hoping to register. The interview will normally last in the region of 75 minutes, and will include both a presentation and an in-depth discussion of the portfolio already submitted.

Chartered engineer salaries

Salaries for chartered engineers do vary according to the company and the number of years of service. However, earnings are by no means a pittance; according to the Engineering Council’s Survey of Registered Engineers 2010 (published in January 2011), among the chartered engineers surveyed the median annual total earnings in 2010 (including bonuses, overtime pay etc) was £55,000; the mean was £67,714.

How to become a chartered engineer with a BEng degree

There are several options available if you have a BEng but want to become a chartered engineer. These include:

  • completing an accredited MSc before starting work
  • taking the Engineering Council’s MSc in professional engineering (designed to be studied while in employment)
  • submitting a technical report, based on engineering experience and demonstrating an understanding of engineering principles
  • taking Engineering Council exams.

Another route is to qualify first as an incorporated engineer, and then through further training and study proceed to gain a chartered engineer qualification.

The Engineering Council’s MSc in professional engineering is currently available from these separate institutions. While all have been developed in conjunction with the Engineering Council, each has its own individual areas of focus:

Aston University
Cardiff University
Kingston University
Northumbria University
Staffordshire University
University of Glamorgan
University of Hertfordshire