Wednesday, August 4, 2021

The Benefits to Investing in Continuing Education for Engineers

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Many engineers make their industry start with a bachelor’s degree and without any further education. This isn’t the norm when it comes to most key science professions, however, with the majority of advanced professionals requiring more education before they can enter the field. Research scientists and doctors, for example, are required to have further education, i.e. a thesis statement, a master’s degree, or a doctorate, a state license allowing them to work in their chosen professions, or relevant certifications. 

Many engineers, however, enter the industry after earning their bachelor’s degree at college. Not only that, but not all engineers are required to have a professional engineering license. When it comes to engineers and licensing, it depends on the field that they enter. Many can go as far as to end their careers without ever acquiring one.

Certification and Licensing

Continuing education isn’t just about how many degrees someone can obtain, however, but also certification and licensing. A license grants an engineer the right to be called a Professional Engineer (PE). An engineering student graduating from college is encouraged to take an exam called the Fundamental Engineering (FE) example. Once they’ve had four years experience or more under a PE with a license, and they’ve passed the FE, they can then apply to take the PE exam themselves.

Many engineers can benefit from acquiring a Professional Engineering license, even more so if that license represents a specific field. At some point in the future, it may even be a requirement for those seeking a PE license to return to school.

More Knowledge and Job Satisfaction

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It’s hard to measure much of the impact that continuing education provides. For example, it can make engineers more secure in their knowledge and provide overall job satisfaction. It also helps with career maintenance and helps to prevent their skill base from becoming obsolete, as technology grows in complexity and calls for interdisciplinary skills. For example, an engineer who was trained in coding PLCs will now require training on programming modern PLCs that are based on JAVAscript, and feature ethernet capabilities and touchscreen displays.

One reason for engineers to continue with education is to stay in line with the current crop of engineers entering the industry. By employers helping engineers to stay updated with current technology, they can get more production from their experienced engineers for longer, as well as improve the efficiency of their workforce. An educated workforce will provide savings in time, money, and labour.

Career Changes and Networking

For engineers looking to progress in their careers, they can also benefit from continuing education and professional training through career changes and networking. Many engineers change jobs, or even industries. With different certifications or higher degrees, they have the advantage of job mobility within their current role or change setting. A PE engineer in HVAC, for example, can explore opportunities in construction, as many drawings used for buildings are required to have a PE’s approval and signature. By continuing with education, it’s also easier to network outside of your industry.

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