Regulation and Licensure in Engineering - Title Usage - United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Engineering in the UK is not a licensed profession. In the UK, the term "engineer" is often applied to non-degreed vocations such as technologists, technicians, draftsmen, machinists, mechanics, plumbers, electricians, repair people, and semi-skilled occupations. Many of these occupations adopt the term "engineer", "professional engineer", "registered engineer", "gas engineer", "heating engineer", "drainage engineer", "automobile engineer", "aircraft engineer" and many hundreds of derivatives. British Gas describe their installation and maintenance mechanics as registered professional engineers. Most members of the UK public perceive the engineer and engineering as a semi-skilled trade. The work and identity of UK Chartered Engineers is often styled as science and scientists by the UK media causing public confusion. There are a few fields of practice, generally safety related, which are reserved by statute to licensed persons. A growing movement in the UK is to legally protect the title "Engineer" so that only professional Engineers can use it; a Directgov petition was started to further this cause.

The Engineering Council UK grants the titles Chartered Engineer, Incorporated Engineer, Engineering Technician and declares them to be "professional engineers". The Incorporated Engineer is an Engineer as declared by the Engineering Council of the United Kingdom and the European definition of title under 2005/36/EC. UK Incorporated Engineers are recognized internationally through the Sydney Accord academic agreement as Engineering Technologists.

All Chartered and Incorporated engineers in the UK are members of an engineering institution usually aligned with their undergraduate degree (Mechanical, civil, chemical, electrical, aeronautical etc.). There are various levels of membership including; student, associate, member, fellow with designator letters. An example is Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (MIET) (formerly Institution of Electrical Engineers). This category is open to professional engineers with suitable qualifications and involvement in areas relevant to the interests of the Institution (Engineering and Technology). MIET is a regulated professional title recognized in Europe by the Directive 2005/36. MIET is listed on the part 2 professions regulated by professional bodies incorporated by Royal Charter-Statutory Instruments 2007 No. 2781 Professional Qualifications-The European Communities (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2007.

The U.K. has other "professional" engineering titles registered via the Engineering Council UK (ECUK): Incorporated Engineer (IEng) and Chartered Engineer (CEng).

Incorporated Engineer is a first-cycle qualification for Bachelor of Engineering or Bachelor of Science degree holders (Sydney Accord, equivalent to Technologist). Chartered Engineer is a second-cycle qualification usually reserved for holders of integrated Master of Engineering degrees . Both IEng and CEng require substantial professional experience (4–8 years post graduate), a professional review and interview.

It is illegal in the U.K. to hold that one is a Chartered or Incorporated Engineer unless so registered with Engineering Council. The title of "Engineer" by itself is not regulated in the U.K.

While Engineering Council is the primary body registering Engineers in U.K., there are other professional societies that register engineers as well. Under its Royal Charter, Engineering Council grants licences to engineering institutions allowing them to assess candidates for inclusion on its Register of Professional Engineers and Technicians, and to accredit academic programmes and professional development schemes. There are over 30 institutions licensed to register professional engineers with Engineering Council.

Candidates can become a Chartered Engineer (CEng) or Incorporated Engineer (IEng) in the UK through the Engineering Council Examinations that are administered by the City and Guilds London Institute. These qualifications also offer a flexible way to meet requirements for further learning or continued professional development.

The exams are available at 3 levels, from undergraduate level to the equivalent of a MEng degree. One can choose from areas such as electrical, chemical, civil, mechanical and computer engineering.

The Engineering Council Examinations are for those with extensive science or engineering knowledge.

For the Level 5 qualification, at least 2 "A" levels or Level 4 qualifications in engineering or science are needed. For Level 6, the Level 5 Certificate in Engineering or a comparable qualification is required. Level 7 requires the Level 6 Diploma in Engineering or a UK-accredited BEng degree. These examinations have been administered by City and Guilds since 2001.

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