Correct Qualification/Title for a postgraduate diploma (Australia)
July 20, 2014 7:57 PM   Subscribe

If someone completes a Postgraduate Diploma (in Engineering) and they do not have an undergraduate degree in Engineering (but rather in something else, i.e. architecture), does the postgraduate dip. qualification enable this person to be called/ titled an engineer?

This question for Australia specifically - the postgraduate diploma qualification is at RMIT University and could be counted towards the masters program.
posted by Under the Sea to Education (6 answers total)
If this is regarding jobs, companies can call you whatever they hire you to do. Outside of some limited areas (civil engineering, some architecture-related engineering work, some govt/defense engineering work), engineering roles rarely require licenses, and even if a license WAS required, neither an undergraduate degree or a postgrad diploma would matter one way or another. I can't think of any discipline where a degree is a necessary and sufficient requirement for a specific job title that did not otherwise call for a license or certification for which the degree was a prerequisite.

Will a company hire you for a role with the title engineer? Who knows, but that's between you and them and it's on you to convince them that you can do what that role entails. That might be harder without an undergrad degree but in my experience, all but the most competitive companies hiring engineers aren't that dogmatic about degrees and are more interested in what you can do. YMMV though, all my experience is US.
posted by heresiarch at 8:20 PM on July 20, 2014

The first poster is not quite correct for Australia. Legal requirements for being considered a Professional Engineer require that you have completed a degree recognised by Engineers Australia. Whether you're entitled to be called an 'Professional Engineer' as far as various parts of legislation are concerned is up to them, and for obvious reasons, employers will only hire people who do meet this if any of the legislation does apply to them.

Some of the details for how program recognition work are here:

Note that being hired into a job title that happens to include the word engineer in an industry that doesn't have that legal requirement can and does happen (e.g. software engineer), but there is a difference between that and 'Professional Engineer'.

The best way to know if your postgrad diploma qualifies? It will be listed on the course website for RMIT under the diploma if it does. For example, there might be something like this:

"Professional recognition and accreditation

This program is provisionally accredited by Engineers Australia. Full accreditation will be sought for this program as soon as it is feasible to do so within the accreditation time lines set by Engineers Australia.

Once it is fully accredited, graduates of the program will be eligible for graduate membership of Engineers Australia."
posted by Ashlyth at 9:15 PM on July 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Mod note: A few comments deleted. Folks, let's stick to answers that address the requirements for Australia specifically. Thanks.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:17 PM on July 20, 2014

My husband is an engineer, as is my father in law, brother in law, sister in law, her husband and my brother. They've all worked with a range of people called engineers at work. Some are degree qualified, some have a related TAFE qualification (eg electrician + work experience = electrical engineer). I worked in engineering recruitment for nearly 10 years. I'm in Sydney. If you're asking if you can call yourself an engineer in a social setting, i say go ahead. If you're asking if you can apply for engineering jobs, that depends entirely on your work experience (but yes, with exceptions as mentioned by heresiarch eg for a gov position). Recruiters won't put you forward if you've never done that particular job or something very similar before. If you're asking if you can have it as your job title, you're absolutely good to ask, organise that with your boss. If you want to know if you qualify to join Engineers Australia, they've got a list of accepted qualifications on their website. And as a recruiter, no client ever asked that someone be a member. It's not necessary, its not the equivalent of the Law Society for lawyers.

So my answer is a small yes that gets bigger the more work you've done. You could have no formal tertiary qualifications but enough work experience to be very respectably called an engineer, like some of my husband's peers.

Maybe let us know some context if you want more specific answers.
posted by stellathon at 4:21 AM on July 21, 2014

With regard to anything official, like a job title, you will do yourself a disservice and likely create trouble down the road if you use the word "engineer" without meeting professional qualifications for that title as defined by the professional engineering licensing agency that applies to your discipline. Socially, I agree with stellathon that it is likely easiest to refer to yourself as an engineer - if anyone in the know asks you further questions about it, you can tell them you are pursuing certification, and vanishingly few of these people will take issue.

I'm an American engineer working for an Australian company, who lived/worked in New Zealand and Australia for several years.
posted by hootenatty at 8:20 AM on July 22, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks all. I have double checked with the university who have given this response:

"This program does not yet have accreditation by Engineers Australia. However, accreditation will be sought for this program as soon as it is feasible to do so within the accreditation time lines set by Engineers Australia. Once fully accredited, graduates of the program will be eligible for graduate membership of Engineers Australia."

Looking further into the continuing Masters program of the same, it simply states "Professional recognition and accreditation: Graduates will meet the requirements for Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Level 9." I guess I need to clarify the award and recognitions further with the department.

FWIW, the PGDip is engineering in "Sustainable Energy". There is about 7-8 years work history under the belt for a renewable energy technology supplier (specialist in power conversion products and system integration for industrial/commercial-scale projects). The work role has largely been developing feasibility studies and proposals, working across sales, marketing & engineering departments. I'm at a bit of cross road now and working out options but also don't feel totally comfortable posting information on a public forum about it :/
posted by Under the Sea at 10:12 PM on July 24, 2014

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