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Engineers are concerned with developing economical and safe solutions to practical problems, by applying mathematics and scientific knowledge while considering technical constraints. The term is derived from the Latin root "ingenium," meaning "cleverness". The industrial revolution and continuing technological developments of the last few centuries have changed the connotation of the term slightly, resulting in the perception of engineers as applied scientists . The work of engineers is the link between perceived needs of society and commercial applications .


In Continental Europe and Latin America and also in Turkeymarker, the title is limited by law to people with an engineering degree, and the use of the title by others (even persons with much more work experience) is illegal. In Italymarker the title is limited to people who, besides holding an engineering degree, have passed a professional qualification examination (Esame di Stato). In Portugalmarker, professional engineer titles and accredited engineering degrees are regulated and certified by the Ordem dos Engenheiros. In the Czech Republicmarker the title "engineer" (Ing.) is given to people with a (master) degree in chemistry, technology or even economics (due to historical reasons and tradition). In Greecemarker the academic title of "Diploma Engineer" is awarded after completion of the five year engineering study course and the title of "Certified Engineer" is awarded to those that have completed the four year course of engineering studies at a Technological Educational Institute (TEI).

Laws exist in the U.S.marker, in Canadamarker and in South Africa that limit the use specific engineer titles, particularly the title of "Professional Engineer." However, most engineers in the U.S. do not become professional engineers. Titles indicating a specific, regulated branch of engineering, such as "civil engineer" or "mechanical engineer" are also regulated. Most U.S. states prohibit unlicensed persons from calling themselves an "engineer" or indicating branches or specialties not covered by the licensing acts. The IEEE's formal position on this is as follows:

"The title, Engineer, and its derivatives should be reserved for those individuals whose education and experience qualify them to practice in a manner that protects public safety. Strict use of the title serves the interest of both the IEEE-USA and the public by providing a recognized designation by which those qualified to practice engineering may be identified. The education and experience needed for the title, Engineer, is evidenced by

  • Graduation with an Engineering degree from an ABET/EAC accredited program of engineering (or equivalent*), coupled with sufficient experience in the field in which the term, Engineer, is used; and/or

  • Licensure by any jurisdiction as a Professional Engineer.

  • A degree from a foreign institution (or the total education when one person holds a graduate degree in engineering but no accredited B.S. in engineering) can be evaluated through a service offered by ABET."

Despite these laws, many individuals with no formal education in engineering are still often called engineers because of a history of engineering work. Because Canada regulates the use of the titles "engineer" and "engineering" in law the legal situation regarding the use title of "engineer" in Canada is unsettled. (See Professional Engineer for more details).

In Ireland, United Kingdom, and Australia, the title of "engineer" is unregulated and is increasingly incorrectly used to describe trades such as electricians, motor mechanics, gas fitters, TV and washing machine repair people, in addition to those engaged in professional engineering.

The word "technologist" is sometimes used synonymously as it derives from the prefix techno- and the suffix -ologist, hence, someone who studies technology. This applies particularly to those European countries with laws regulating the use of the title "engineer." A Technologist supports professional engineers in N America. Technologists can become professional engineers with further academic study — usually 2-3 years of an engineering degree. Regulation of the Technologist title is covered by the Sydney Accord. A UK Incorporated Engineer is equivalent to a Technologist as defined by the Sydney Accord. The I.Eng qualification is administered by the Engineering Council of the United Kingdom Association.

Education, training and skills

People who work as engineers typically have an academic degree (or equivalent work experience) in one of the engineering disciplines.

Engineers must have the skillset and methodology to problem solve, including soft skills.

North America

United States

In the United Statesmarker engineering certification is carried out by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. Professional engineers are required to pass a basic Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination, complete a specified number of years of working in the field, and then pass a rigorous and thorough Professional Engineering (PE) examination.

ABET is the recognized accreditation authority granting universities that offer education in engineering and technology the right to confer degrees. Degree programs include a Bachelor's degree in engineering or sciences (4 years), to a Master's in the same fields (adding 2 or 3 years depending on the university), to a Doctor of Engineering which entails completing original research. Doctors often go on to teach in schools of engineering. Some engineering schools have agreements with 2-year colleges whereby the college provides the initial engineering education, and the engineering school automatically admits students for their last 2 years. In addition, a few engineering schools have arrangements that allow students who spend 3 years in a liberal arts college studying pre-engineering subjects and 2 years in an engineering school studying core subjects to receive a bachelor’s degree from each school. Some colleges and universities offer 5-year master’s degree programs. Some 5-year or even 6-year cooperative plans combine classroom study and practical work, permitting students to gain valuable experience and to finance part of their education.


In Canadamarker, there are 40 institutions offering 239 engineering accredited programs delivering a Bachelor's degree after a term of 4 years. Many schools also offer graduate level degrees in the applied sciences. "Accredited" means that the engineers having successfully followed one of these programs have the possibility to obtain their licences. This specificity of the Canadian system as the engineers need a licence to engage in the profession. Some of the schools include: École Polytechnique de Montréalmarker, University of Torontomarker, University of Saskatchewanmarker, University of Victoriamarker, University of Calgarymarker, University of Albertamarker, University of British Columbiamarker, McGill Universitymarker, Dalhousie Universitymarker, Ryerson Universitymarker, University of Reginamarker, Carleton Universitymarker, McMaster Universitymarker, University of Ottawamarker, Queen's Universitymarker, University of New Brunswickmarker,UOITmarker, University of Windsormarker and Royal Military College of Canadamarker just to name a few.[6470] Every university offering engineering degrees in Canada needs to be accredited by the CEAB (Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board), thus ensuring high standards are enforced at all universities.

The procedure to obtain the licence is:
  • Be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident or on a valid workpermit / visa.
  • Have a Bachelor's degree from an accredited Canadian institution or from a recognized foreign university or other higher institution. The new Bachelor's degree being phased in throughout continental Europe under the Bologna declaration is not adequate since it is only a 3 year term, however, the traditional continental European systems of 5 or more years of study to a Dip. Ing. or Mag. Ing are. Thus, for recent European engineering graduates wishing to obtain a licence in Canada, it behoves them to consider completion of several additional years of study such as those leading to the Master's degree (1 additional years so making 4 years in total). The engineer's degree obtained from universities in Europe after completing 4 years of studies is valid.
  • Must work at least 4 years as an engineering intern of which at least 1 year must be in a Canadian company (supervised by a licenced senior engineer).
  • Be of good reputation.
  • Be fluent in English (French in Quebec, English or French in New Brunswick)

The engineer's licence is only valid in the province of delivery. There are however agreements between the associations to ease mobility.



Finland's system is derived from Germany's system. Two kinds of schools are recognized, the universities and the Ammattikorkeakoulu (literally vocational college, which are some times translated as University of applied sciences.

Traditionally, universities award only five-, to six-year Master's level degrees (Master of Science in Technology) called diplomi-insinööri, similarly as in Germany (Diplom-Ingenieur). The degrees are awarded by engineering faculties in universities (in Oulumarker and Vaasamarker) or by separate universities of technology (Helsinki UTmarker, Tampere UTmarker and Lappeenranta UTmarker). The degree is a scientific, theoretical taught Master's degree. It qualifies for further study into Licentiate or Doctorate. Because of the Bologna process, the degree tekniikan kandidaatti ("Bachelor of Technology"), corresponding to three years of study into the Master degree, has been introduced.

The AMK's are municipally administered schools that traditionally award 3.5-, to 4.5-year vocational degrees called insinööri . The aim of the degree is professional competency with less emphasis on scientific study. Although they may be called "Bachelor's degrees" in English, Finnish universities do not recognize them as equal to tekniikan kandidaatti, but require approximately one year of additional study. Recently, AMK's have also began awarding a higher AMK degrees (Master of Engineering), designed for AMK-engineers already involved in the working life (at least two years of professional experience). AMK's do not have the right to award Licentiates or Doctorates. Similarly, AMK-degree does not entitle one to apply for academic postgraduate studies without further preliminary studies at university.


In Francemarker, the engineering degree is delivered by "Grandes Écoles d'Ingénieurs" upon completion of 3 years of Master'studies. The Écoles typically recruit undergraduate students from CPGE (2 or 3 years after the Baccalaureat), even though some of them include an integrated undergraduate cycle. Hence graduate engineers in France have studied a total of 5 years after the baccalaureate. To be able to deliver the Master of engineering degree, an École Master 's curriculum has to be validated by the Commission des Titres d'Ingénieurs (Commission of the Engineering Title). It is important for the external observer to note that the system in France is extremely demanding in its entrance requirements (numerus clausus), and much more elitist than various other systems. In fact, being a graduate engineer in France is considered as being near/at the top of the social/professional ladder.

Inside a French company the title of Ingénieur refers to a rank in qualification and is not restricted. Therefore you can find sometimes Ingénieurs des Ventes (Sales Engineers), Ingénieur Marketing, Ingénieur Bancaire (Banking Engineer), Ingénieur Recherche & Développement (R&D Engineer), etc


In Germanymarker, the engineering degree is either delivered by Universities, Technical Universities or Fachhochschulen.

Students receive first a baccalaureate degree (3 years of studies) followed by a Master's degree (2 years of studies) according to the principles of the Bologna declaration, though traditionally, the degree received after completing an engineering education was the German Diplom.

The quality of German engineering expertise has long been much vaunted, especially in the field of mechanical engineering. This is supported by the degree to which the various theories governing aerodynamics and structural mechanics are named after German scientists and engineers such as Ludwig Prandtl. German engineers have also been praised at being very practical (i.e. skilled at physical work related to their discipline), ascribed to the high quality of the apprenticeship courses many German engineers go through as part of their education.


In Romaniamarker, the engineering degree and "engineer" title is delivered by Technical Universities upon completion of 4 years of studies. Additional master degree (2 years) and doctorate programs (4–5 years) provide the title of "doctor inginer". Students that started studies in Technical Universities before 2005 (when Romania adopted the Bologna declaration) need to complete a 5 years program to get the engineer title. In this case the master degree is obtained after 1 year of studies.Only persons with an engineer title can be employed as "engineers". Still persons with competence and experience in an enginnering field that do not have an engineer title, can still be employed to perform engineering tasks as "specialist", "asistant", "technologist" or "technician". But, only engineers can take legal responsibility and provide guarantee upon the work done by a team in the field of engineering. Sometimes a company that is in the field of enginnering and temporarely does not have any employees with an engineer title must pay for an external service of an engineering audit to provide legal guarantee for their products or services.


In Slovakiamarker, an engineer (inžinier) is considered to be a person holding master degree in technical sciences or economy. Several technical and economical universities offer 2-3 year master study in the fields of chemistry, agriculture, material technology, computer science, electrical and mechanical engineering, nuclear physics and technology or economics. A bachelor degree in similar field is prerequisite. Absolvents are awarded with the Ing. title always put in front of one's name; eventual ongoing doctoral study is offered both by universities and some institutes of the Slovak Academy of Sciences.

The Netherlands

In the Netherlandsmarker there were two paths to study engineering. The HTS or higher vocational technical schools awarded a practically orientated degree and the title ing. after four years study. The universities offered a more academically oriented degree and the title Ir. after five years study.

This changed in 2002 when the Netherlandsmarker switched to the Bachelor-Master system. This is a consequence of the Bologna process. In this accord 29 European countries agreed to harmonize their higher education system and create a European higher education area.

In this system the higher vocational technical schools award a bachelor degree and the title BEng after four years study. The university's with engineering programs award a bachelors degree and the title BSc after the third year. A university bachelor is expected to continue his education for one or two more years to earn his masters degree and the title MSc. A vocational bachelor may be admitted to a university master degree program although often they are required to take additional courses. The higher vocational technical schools have started to develop master degree programs specifically for their students. This slightly awkward situation is expected to disappear thanks to the European harmonization process.


In Turkey, engineering degrees range from a Bachelor's Degree in engineering (for a 4 year period), to a Master's Degree (adding 2 years), and to a Doctoral Degree (usually 4 – 5 years).

The title is limited by law to people with an engineering degree, and the use of the title by others (even persons with much more work experience) is illegal.

The Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (UCTEA) was established in 1954 and separates engineers and architects to professional branches, with the condition of being within the framework of laws and regulations and in accordance with the present conditions, requirements and possibilities and to also establishes new Chambers for the group of engineers and architects, whose professional or working areas are similar or the same.

UCTEA is maintaining its activities with its 23 Chambers, 194 branches of its Chambers and 39 Provincial Coordination Councils. Approximately, graduates of 70 related academic disciplines in engineering, architecture and city planning are members of the Chambers of UCTEA.

United Kingdom

In the UKmarker, like in United Statesmarker and Canadamarker, engineers are trained in universities but some can start in a technical apprenticeship (4-5 years) prior to enrolling in a university engineering degree. In addition those people who are unable to attend university can enroll in the Engineering Council UK examination program administered by the City and Guilds of London Institute. Some of these institutions have previously invested heavily in engineering subjects and have become globally renowned. Many engineering courses are assessed and approved by the Professional Institutions reflecting the subject covered; IMechE, IET, BCS, ICE, IStructE etc. The degree then counts in part to obtaining Chartered engineer Status after a period (usually 4–8 years) of structured professional practice, professional review and, if required, further exams to then become a corporate member of the relevant professional body. The term 'Chartered Engineer' is regulated by Royal Assent and not allowed to be used by other professions; the awarding of this status is devolved to the professional institutions by the Engineering Council.

In the UK, most engineering courses take 3 years for an undergraduate bachelors and a 4 year period for an Undergraduate Masters. Students who read a 4 years engineering course are awarded an Masters of Engineering (as opposed to Masters of Science in Engineering) Some universities allow a student to opt out after one year before completion of the programme and receive a Diploma if a student has successfully completed second year or certifificate if only successfully completed year one. Many courses includes an option of a year in industry, which is usually a year before completion. Students who opt for this are awarded a Sandwich degree.



In India, there are several engineering colleges imparting undergraduate and graduate courses in engineering, applied engineering and sciences. The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) are the renowned and reputed institutes in the country. Apart from them BITS-Pilani, Exattosoft University, SASTRA, DCE Delhi, NSIT Delhi, Aliah University Kolkata , Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Technology Delhi, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University Delhi, Al Falah School of Engineering & Technology, Maharshi Dayanand University, Jadavpur University, Indian Institute of Information Technology, MIT Manipal and BIT Mesra are other important engineering colleges.

Indian Institute of TechnologyThe Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) has seven centers located in Kharagpurmarker, Bombaymarker, Madrasmarker, Kanpurmarker, Delhimarker, Guwahatimarker, and Roorkeemarker. Also included in this list is IT-BHU.

With the plan to set up eight more IITs in the states of Rajasthan, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Punjab, and the conversion of IT-BHU to an IIT, the total number of IITs will be increased to 16.[2] Six of the eight proposed new IITs, namely, Rajasthan, Bihar (Patna), Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad), Orissa (Bhubaneshwar), Gujarat (Gandhinagar) and Punjab, are functional as of June 2008 and admitting students for the 2008-'09 academic year.[3] All IITs are autonomous universities that draft their own curricula, and they are, with the exception of IIT Kanpur, members of LAOTSE, an international network of universities in Europe and Asia. LAOTSE membership allows the IITs to exchange students and senior scholars with universities in other countries.[4]

Admission to undergraduate B.Tech and integrated M.Tech programs are through IIT-JEE (the Joint Entrance Examination) in which around 400,000 students appear annually out of which only 5,500 get selected. Admission to most postgraduate courses in IITs is granted through various written entrance examinations: GATE (for M.Tech.), JAM (for M.Sc.) and CEED (for M.Des.). The admission for Ph.D. program is based primarily on a personal interview, though candidates may also have to appear for written tests. The IITs are also well known for their special reservation policy, which is significantly different from the one applied in other educational institutions of India.For details of colleges in India see: Indian Institutes of Technology and Engineering colleges of India.

National Institute of TechnologyThe National Institutes of Technology (NIT) are premier colleges of engineering and technology education in India. They were originally called Regional Engineering Colleges (RECs). In 2002, the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, decided to upgrade, in phases, all the original 17 Regional Engineering Colleges (RECs) as National Institutes of Technology (NITs). There are currently 20 NITs, the latest being NIT, Agartala. The Government of India has introduced the National Institutes of Technology (NIT) Act 2007 to bring 20 such institutions within the ambit of the act and to provide them with complete autonomy in their functioning. The NITs are deliberately scattered throughout the country in line with the government norm of an NIT in every major state of India to promote regional development. The individual NITs, after the introduction of the NIT Act, have been functioning as autonomous technical universities and hence can draft their own curriculum and functioning policies.

The admission to undergraduate programs of all the NITs is done by the All India Engineering Entrance Examination popularly known as AIEEE. In addition to the NITs, a host of other well known national level reputed institutes like DCE, NSIT, IIITs, PEC, Thapar University, DA-IICT, BIT Mesra accept students from this examination. The examination is objective by nature and will be conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education popularly known as the CBSE uptil 2008. More than eight lakh(800,000) students appeared in 2008 for around 9000 seats in the B. Tech and B. Arch programmes available in all the NITs put together. Academic Session 2009 onwards the NITs have been entrusted with the task of organizing the AIEEE right from setting the question paper up to the counselling of students through their own set up under one umbrella, which will automatically entail the administrative procedure of the whole process. Every year from 2009 an elected set of NITs selected on a rotation basis will take individual turns to conduct the exam at the national level just like the IITs do for the IIT-JEE.


In Pakistan engineering certification is carried out by the Pakistan Engineering Council, a statutory body, constituted under the PEC Act No. V of 1976 of the constitution of Pakistan and amended vide Ordinance No.XXIII of 2006, to regulate the engineering profession in the country. It aims to achiece rapid and sustainable growth in all national, economic and social fields. The council is responsible for maintaining realistic and internationally relevant standards of professional competence and ethics for engineers in the country. PEC interacts with the Government, both at the Federal and Provincial level by participating in Commissions, Committees and Advisory Bodies. PEC is a fully representative body of the engineering community in the country.

Institute of Engineers Pakistan (IEP)The Institute of Engineers Pakistan is a purely professional body that aims to:- Promote and advance the science, practice, and business of engineering in all its branches throughout Pakistan.

- Promote efficiency in the engineering practice and profession.

- Regulate the professional activities and assist in maintaining high standard in the general conduct of its members.

- Lay down the professional code of ethics and to make it mandatory for its members in their professional conduct.

- Help in the acquisition and exchange of technical knowledge

- Promote professional interest and social welfare of its members.

- Encourage original research in engineering, conservation and economic utilization of the resources of the country.

- Foster coordination with similar institution in other countries and educational institutions in Pakistan and abroad for mutual benefits.

- To disseminate information and knowledge among engineers through lectures, conferences, seminars and publication of journal and papers.

- Cooperate with various government agencies and industrial enterprises advising them in matters concerning the profession and practice of engineering and promotion of technical education.


South Africa

Engineering training in South Africa is typically provided by the universities. The qualifications provided by these institutions must have an Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) accreditation for the qualification for graduates of these institutions to be registered as Candidate Engineers.

The academic training performed by the universities is typically in the form of a four year B.Sc(Eng) or BEng degree. For the degree to be accredited, the course material must conform to the ECSA Exit Level Outcomes (ELO). In final year, students are externally examined by representatives of ECSA, in the form of assignments and interviews. These assignments should require the knowledge gained through the previous three years of study to successfully complete.

Certified Professional Engineers (PrEng) are persons that are accredited by ECSA as an engineering professional. Legally, a Certified Professional Engineers sign off is required for any major project to be implemented, in order to ensure the safety and standards of the project.

Other meanings

Operating and maintaining equipment

The term 'engineer' is also often used to describe a technician or a person that mends and operates machinery or engines. But they still need to have an accredited degree from a 4 year institution. For example, in the United States a railroad engineer denotes the operator of a locomotive, a ship's engineer denotes the operator of the steam engine on a steamship, a broadcast engineer maintains broadcast facility operations, and a stationary engineer is normally responsible for a boiler plant and/or stationary steam engine. The term "field engineer" or "customer engineer" is often used to describe manufacturers' (or third party) supplied installers and/or maintainers of (complex) equipment at a user's site.

In the United Kingdom, there is no regulation of the term "engineer" as there is in many other countries and its use by repairers and fitters is particularly prevalent, giving rise to complaints of loss of status from traditional professional engineers. Debates about the use of the title of engineer, similar to that afforded to doctors, are widespread and periodically are directed towards government, with a view to establishing legislative protection for its use.

In firefighting, the term "engineer" refers to a firefighter whose assignment is to drive the fire apparatus and, if it has an on board water supply, to remain with the engine and operate the pumps so that the firefighters using the hoses have sufficient water to extinguish the fire.

Non-academic professional certification

The term "engineer" may also be used to describe holders of some forms of professional certification other than university degrees, such as (but not limited to) Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, Certified Novell Engineer, Red Hat Certified Engineer and so on.

In Canada, the usage of the term "engineer" to describe holders of professional certification is not legally permitted. The Canadian Council of Professional Engineers mounted an extended campaign to get Microsoft to renounce use of the word "engineer" in the title of their certification. A 2001 reader survey by Microsoft Certified Professional magazine found that over half of respondents supported changing the name of the MCSE to remove the word "engineer".

Military engineers

A military engineer is a member of any branch of the armed forces responsible for the design and construction and also the destruction of offensive, defensive and logistical structures for warfare. This term is used in military units throughout the world and has been used since ancient times, extended in modern terms to include the laying and disarming of minefields and booby traps.

The Engineering Officer in larger ships, and the senior engineering sailor (typically a Chief Petty Officer) is called the Chief Engineer. In smaller ships without an Engineering Officer the Chief Engineer runs the engineering department. To facilitate brevity of communication in an operational shipboard environment, the Chief Engineer on United States Navy vessels is colloquially referred to and addressed as "The CHENG", or simply "CHENG".

In the British Merchant Navy, the Chief Engineer is a rank equivalent to the Senior Engineering Officer on a US ship.

See also

Lists of notable engineers by discipline

Other related lists

Licensing and registration


External Links

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