Communications, infrastructure, energy, healthcare are just a few of the ways engineering intersects with the world around us.

Engineering also plays an important part in the UK’s economy. Engineers make up 6% of the country's workforce and engineering firms contribute nearly a quarter of the UK's national turnover.

Professional registration and the professional engineering institutions

The Engineering Council is the UK’s regulatory body and sets standards for the profession across the disciplines on the engineering spectrum.

UK engineering is widely diverse and enjoys industry-leading expertise in several dozen different disciplines. These specialist areas have their own professional membership organisations, or institutions, working with Engineering UK to form the professional engineering community and ensure standards of practice across the profession.

Some institutions like the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) have over 150,000 members and operate all over the world. In contrast, the specialist Institute of Cast Metals Engineers (ICME) has 1,000 members.

Getting professionally registered with the Engineering Council benchmarks your skill as an engineer for employers, clients and colleagues and opens the door to greater opportunities. That might be progression at your current firm, the chance to work on a wider range of projects or overseas and better career prospects.

There are four different categories of professional registration with the Engineering Council: Engineering Technician (EngTech), ICT Technician (ICTTech), Incorporated Engineer (IEng) and Chartered Engineer (CEng).

How do I get registered as a chartered engineer (CEng)?

The milestones in the professional registration process and professional standard requirements are the same whatever your engineering background.

Join a professional engineering institution

The Engineering Council licences 36 different professional engineering institutions to assess candidates for professional registration. Using the Engineering Council’s UK-SPEC (or ICTTech specifications), institutions review applicants’ knowledge and understanding at the appropriate level and recommend them for registration.

Because the professional engineering institution will judge your experience and qualifications, it makes sense to join the institution in your specialist field that’s best placed to make that assessment (and that accredits your qualifications if possible).

Your institution can offer advice and support as you work towards registration. Many offer reduced rate membership for students.

Knowledge and understanding

Chartered engineers must be able to demonstrate a masters level of technical knowledge understanding – usually through their formal education. An accredited integrated MEng degree, engineering masters course, PhD or an EngD will exemplify the ‘chartered’ level of knowledge and understanding set out in the UK-SPEC.

Although formal education is the most common route – but it’s not the only way of demonstrating the level of knowledge and understanding to underpin CEng level competencies. Your institution can advise on ‘topping up’ or using your workplace learning and experience instead.

Professional development

Initial professional development (IPD) bridges the gap between your formal education and the practical application of your knowledge, professional judgement and skills.

All your work-based experience and training (including any industrial placements or internships while studying) develops your skills as an engineer and gives you the opportunity build a portfolio of practical examples for your professional review.

The length of time it takes to gain the level of professional competence needed for chartership will depend on your experience, management opportunities and the requirements of your professional institution. For marine specialists, Royal Institution of Naval Architects recommends four years of initial professional development, with at least two years in a position of responsibility.

When you are ready to apply for professional registration, you’ll need to submit an application to your professional engineering institution in line with its requirements.

Professional review

The professional review establishes that applicants have the skills, knowledge and experience necessary for registration.

Although the professional review process itself varies slightly between institutions, all candidates are judged against the requirements outlined in the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC).

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Design and development of processes, systems, services and products
  • Responsibility, management or leadership
  • Communication and inter-personal skills
  • Professional commitment

For CEng and IEng applicants, the professional review includes a mandatory interview with experienced engineers.

Once registered

As part of your professional commitment as a chartered engineer, you’ll need to continue your professional development and keep up with industry changes.

The courses below include accredited engineering courses for professional registration and courses of professional interest on offer at universities in the UK.