The Institution of Engineers in Scotland (IES)

The Professional Engineer - Promoting professional engineering

Auburn University

How to Reach Chartered Engineer (C.Eng) Status

Chartered Engineer is the highest qualification level in the UK for Professional Engineers. It sets the gold standard and is recognised globally. The intellectual requirement for successful professional engineers is of the highest order.

Professional engineers, in contrast to people who have served an apprenticeship in an engineering trade, have undertaken formal university or college training and have had their qualifications recognised by a professional institution for part qualification for chartered status. The accreditation of degree courses is controlled by the Engineering Council see: Accreditation of Higher Education programmes and Approval of Qualifications and Apprenticeship programmes

Note that not all university engineering degree courses are accredited by the institutions and you must choose one that is, otherwise you may not attain chartered status. Seek advice from the institutions before undertaking your degree.

The chartered engineer is a measure of professional competence awarded by the main engineering institutions e.g. Institution of Civil Engineers, Mechanical Engineers, Chemical Engineers etc.

To become a chartered engineer one must satisfy three basic criteria: for education, for practical experience/training and a professional assessment.
The quickest educational route is to get a Master of engineering (MEng) degree. Other possibilities are the Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) degree route and the Higher National Certificate (HNC)/Higher National Diploma(HND) routee and for some subjects,a City and Guilds Route - see diagram below.

At least 3 years of practical experience is needed. Most people have more than that when they attain chartered status.
The form of the professional assessment depends on the regulations of the institution involved.

Educational routes for attainment of chartered status


The M. Eng Degree

The most direct route to attaining the required educational qualification is to take an accredited M.Eng degree at a UK university. This is normally a four year programme in England and 5 years in Scotland.

Entry directly to M.Eng degree courses requires a high level of performance in school examinations. The entry standard for MEng courses has been rising in recent years as a result of a growing shortage of professional engineers in the UK and the significant growth in salaries relative to other professions. The minimum entry standard varies between universities and departments but is often below that required for medicine, accountancy etc. This difference is mainly caused by the relationship between numbers of applicants and the number that can be accepted. It does not represent a lower intellectual requirement for professional competence.

students at Near East University, Northern Cyprus

The Bachelor degree Route (e.g. BEng Hons, BSc Hons, BTech Hons)

It is important to realise that the assessment of ability resulting from school examinations may not always correlate well with the needed abilities of a professional engineer. Some pupils with straight A's may find that they cannot cope with some of the professional engineering activities and some who do not achieve high grades from school examinations may have special abilities that are relevant to successful professional engineers. This is of course true for entry to any profession.

Those who do not achieve entry to an MEng course but are able to graduate BEng can become eligible to apply for chartered engineer status on the basis of further educational attainment. This can include formal programmes of Continuing Professional Development and opportunities may exist to take an additional year at university to achieve an MEng. It is important to check when considering any job offer that your prospective employer’s CPD scheme is satisfactory to the qualifying institution.  Ask both if necessary.

Note too that University entrance grades for BEng are likely to be slightly lower than for M.Eng courses so it is worth applying for both via UCAS to avoid disappointment if your achieved grades don't quite hit the mark.

Higher National Certificate/Diploma Route

Engineering employers also recruit high school leavers who have passes in maths and science in their subject groups to train them to Technician and Incorporated Engineers grades. These are Engineering Council formal qualification grades below chartered status.

Such training will usually involve employer day release and /or night school sponsorship to local colleges towards acquiring HNC and/or HND qualifications.

It is possible to extend such studies to degree level in some cases starting in the second year of a degree course.

Some universities make special provision for this route. See, for example, the Engineering Academy at the University of Strathclyde where an enchanced HNC course can enable students to save time in achieving a bachelor’s or master’s degree by this route.  Again it is permitted and also worth applying for the  ‘enhanced’ route via UCAS to avoid disappointment if your achieved grades are not adequate for degree course entrance.

City and Guilds Qualification Route

Students following the City and Guilds qualification route can reach C&G Level 7 Post Graduate Diploma in Engineering for a range of subjects including Electrical and Mechanical Engineering which is set at the standard of the final year of a British M.Eng degree course.
The City and Guilds website advises that some professional engineering institutions may impose constraints on the time taken and the number of re-taken exams at Level 7 to achieve the Post Graduate Diploma.
IESIS has not addressed all of the City and Guilds options in the above basic qualification route map and recommend students contact City and Guilds for precise guidance if intending to progress to HNC/HND equivalent, Incorporated Engineer or Chartered Engineer status.