Posts tagged ‘Professional Registration’
For nearly 30 years I’ve been connecting employers and job seekers in the civil engineering industry. Sometimes I have someone who is a great fit for a position but the company does not want to interview the person. Why? Because the individual did not have a particular professional registration/license that the company felt would be valuable to the position – PE, AICP, LEED AP, PMP, etc.
Now before you fire off hate mail about the importance of professional knowledge and experience, I agree that both are important. That being said, a four-year degree and working for the same company for many years don’t mean you earned the right for job security or future promotions. Registrations are an unbiased barometer of your skills. They also illustrate your value, provide marketability and help you to stay current with industry knowledge and trends.
Show your Value
By showing your skills are up-to-date, you might be in line for the next promotional progression in your current or future role. You’re also showing your employer that you are a valuable member of the team and willing to learn new things.
You may not think you need to be marketable because you’re not planning on leaving your current employer – especially in the current job market. With the many employer market driven changes and changing client loyalty, you should want to show you’re at the top of your game.
The days of employees working their entire career with one company are going the way of the Dodo bird. Employees often leave for new opportunities. (Sometimes too soon but I’ll address that topic in a future blog.)
And don’t forget about mergers, buy-outs or downsizing. As companies try to achieve greater success with reduced overhead (polite corporate speak for fewer people), they will want individuals who are among the best in their field. Registrations are another way employers’ view that you go above and beyond what is asked by putting in the time and effort.
Sure you have your undergraduate degree and possibly a masters or Ph.D. You also have on-the-job training and years of experience that you couldn’t pick up from the classroom. You also supplement workplace information with seminars and journals. Registrations or new accreditations are third-party recognition that you’re keeping your expertise current. It also shows that you passed an industry’s measurement of knowledge. It’s not a joy to complete, but you’ll thank yourself weeks, months or years down the road.
Now I’m not saying that licenses are the Holy Grail for a successful career. You still need to know your stuff and prove your worth. But as the job market expands and companies search for the best and the brightest to achieve greater success, professional registrations could give you an edge over another person for a promotion or a future job search.
Carol Metzner President, The MetznerGroup Managing Partner, CivilEngineeringCentral.com View Carol’s profile & connect with her on LinkedIn civil engineering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering blog :: civil engineering discussion
Is NOT pursuing your Professional Engineering license even an option? If you are a member of the consulting world (and possibly other worlds), the answer is “NO!” When entering the field of engineering, especially as a consultant, pursuing one’s Professional Engineering license is a must. It lends itself to a higher level of credibility and respect, it shows initiative, shows understanding and knowledge, and it allows for a level of trust by the community within which you work that you might not otherwise receive. Quite honestly, who wants to put the engineering of a dam or a bridge in the hands of an unlicensed engineer just because they have 25 years of experience, even if they hand off the plans to be signed by a PE? Not me; not the public; and not the owner of that bridge or dam. If that was the case, then I would prefer you put the prefix “Dr.” in front of my last name, as I have successfully nurtured back to health my three children time and time again after diagnosing them with headaches, colds, flu, fevers, and other various ailments. Luckily I have been able to successfully nurse them back to health; but if I make one error or neglect a certain symptom that lands them in the hospital as a result, I’m in big trouble. Often times I speak to engineers by self imposed title, not by registration. They may have a BS, they may or may not have passed their Fundamentals of Engineering examination, but for some reason they have not fully pursued their P.E. license. As a search consultant, I always inquire as to why? Here are the top three responses, with my two cents added:
A. “My college professors never really pushed registration.”
Shame on your professor, shame on the university you attended. Someone deserves a letter of reprimand. If it’s not too late, take the FE Exam – it’s a lot of book/classroom material; move quickly so you are not too far removed from this information. The Dean of the engineering program at your Alma Mater should be informed that s/he needs to change their philosophy. By NOT pushing registration to the student body, they are holding back their students from long term opportunity.
B. “My boss said it wasn’t really necessary.”
If your boss is not pushing it, s/he may be threatened by you – threatened that you may advance more rapidly then them once you have your P.E. Or threatened that you may leave as you will become more marketable to the competition. If this is the case, get out while you can.
C. “Work/Life/Family got too crazy.”
You’re preachin’ to the choir, my friend. Everyone is working crazy hours and is so busy at home. That is no excuse these days…in fact, it’s 1AM on a Wednesday morning and here I am writing this article after putting in a full day of work at the office. Your employer should be supporting you in the registration process and making sure they give you the appropriate training, mentorship, and study time. For those that were not given this opportunity earlier in your career, it may be too late. Eventually you get married, start a family, and then it REALLY becomes difficult. GET IT DONE EARLY.
So, unless you have the desire to be a glorified engineering technician (not that there is anything wrong with that), make the pursuit of your P.E. license your number one priority early in your career. I can’t tell you how many times I have presented a candidate who has all the technical, project, operations and marketing experience that my client is looking for, but they will not even consider the candidate because they do not have their license. Is this closed minded? Maybe. Is it reality? Definitely.