Want to deliver projects independently? Legislation in some Australian states may require you to upgrade your engineering associate or technologist qualifications and become a registered Professional Engineer in order to do this — and there’s a way to accelerate the process.
In June this year, New South Wales joined Queensland and Victoria to legislate a comprehensive statutory registration scheme that requires Professional Engineers in certain areas to be registered to practise without supervision.
With other states and territories considering similar registration requirements, engineering service providers across the country may soon be required to upgrade their associate or technologist qualifications to professional engineer status in order to deliver projects independently.
How can engineering technologists do this in a way that is flexible, recognised and relevant to their specific industry?
The University of Southern Queensland’s Master of Engineering Practice can help you get there in as little as 18 months — and you can complete it online. Unique and tailored, the degree incorporates workplace learning as a potential way to earn credit for your degree, and ensures a flexible, accelerated pathway to Professional Engineer status.
Strengthening the industry
The new registration requirement comes at a time when public confidence in the industry has been shaken following a continuing investigation into possible engineering and safety issues in several high-rise residential buildings and other infrastructure across Australia.
Dr Steven Goh, Associate Head of the School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern Queensland, said the registration requirement aimed to strengthen the engineering industry and provide confidence to the public in engineering services that are delivered.
“In several states in Australia, by law, only engineers who are registered will be able review work, sign off on it and take responsibility for its quality,” he said.
“Without registration, it’s not possible to work independently in areas covered by legislation and, under the compulsory registration, only suitably qualified and industry experienced engineers are eligible.”
Recognising your experience
The Master of Engineering Practice was originally developed with and is accredited by Engineers Australia. Entry requirements include a three-year bachelor’s degree in engineering science or technology and those eligible for Technologist membership with Engineers Australia. However, other three-year qualifications, such as environmental science or construction management may also be eligible via the Graduate Diploma of Engineering Practice.
“Three-year qualified engineers, recognised by Engineers Australia as Technologists, are generally very good at their specialised area of practice,” Dr Goh said.
“For example, they may be skilled in signalling in the railway industry, but when they move into a broader area of electrical engineering, they also need a good understanding of things like power transmission and electronic circuits. In some instances, there may also be overarching responsibility for health and safety and community engagement.
“A Professional Engineer would be expected to take ownership of these areas, whereas technologists may focus on specific industry-based technical expertise. This degree helps three-year qualified engineers to develop a broader range of competencies.”
Dr Goh explained that credit may be gained for experience and prior learning, which allows you to complete the degree sooner.
“As experienced technologists, these broader range of competencies may have been attained during employment and project delivery,” he said.
“Addressing these requirements using your work experience is one of the key features of the program and will help you to achieve your goal of attaining Professional Engineer status.
“This also ensures that the degree is highly relevant to your specific industry and is tailored to your level of skills and knowledge.”
Stepping stone to Chartered status
Graduates of the University of Southern Queensland’s Master of Engineering Practice may also have a head start when seeking the Chartered Professional Engineer credential.
“Chartered Engineers are highly recognised in their specific discipline and area of practice,” Dr Goh said.
“You are recognised by your peers for your engineering excellence and professionalism, and this is recognised across a number of countries with mutual agreements in place.
“The Master of Engineering Practice prepares students for the Chartered journey,” he added.
“At completion, you should have relevant competency claims and supporting evidence ready to submit to Engineers Australia for assessment.
“So, not only do we help you to get registered, we also help prepare you for the Chartered recognition that can improve your global mobility.”
To learn more about the University of Southern Queensland’s Master of Engineering Practice click here.