Certification programs for plant engineering professionals

Certification has become a popular concept for recognizing professional competency. Virtually all certification programs seek to enhance both the individual's career and the profession's visibility and importance. It is well documented that individuals who have attained some form of certification are generally higher paid and have better career prospects.


Certified Plant Engineer (CPE)
Certified Plant Maintenance Manager (CPMM)
Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP)
Certified Reliability Engineer (CRE)
Certified Facilities Manager (CFM)
Certified Energy Manager (CEM)
Certified Manufacturing Engineer (CMfgE)
Certified Welding Engineer (CWEng)

Certification has become a popular concept for recognizing professional competency. Virtually all certification programs seek to enhance both the individual's career and the profession's visibility and importance. It is well documented that individuals who have attained some form of certification are generally higher paid and have better career prospects than those who have not (see chart). While it is difficult to analyze the cause and effect relationship between certification and success, there is no denying that attainment of certification is a desirable accomplishment.

All certification programs require some kind of exam, usually lasting several hours. Questions are typically multiple choice. Administration of exams is carefully monitored.

Most programs offer special training, refresher courses, seminars, and written materials to help candidates prepare for exams.

The following list includes certification programs likely to be of most interest to plant engineers. Dozens more are available in a wide range of skill levels and specialties.

Certified Plant Engineer (CPE)

Administrator: Association for Facilities Engineering (AFE)

Body of knowledge: Mechanical, electrical, civil, and environmental engineering; HVAC; controls; energy; OSHA; economics; management; maintenance.

Eligibility: 4-yr degree in engineering, architecture, or engineering technology with 6 yr plant engineering/facilities management experience or 4 yr management-level plant engineering/facilities management experience, OR nontechnical or no degree with 8 yr plant engineering/facilities management experience or 6 yr management-level plant engineering/facilities management experience, OR registered P.E. with 4 yr plant engineering/facilities management experience.

Term: 5 yr

Fee: $235 for AFE members, $360 for nonmembers

Contact: Association for Facilities Engineering, 8180 Corporate Park Dr, Suite 305, Cincinnati, OH 45242; 513-489-2473; fax 513-247-7422; certification@afe.orgafe . org/certf.htm

Comments: More than 4000 certified since 1975.

Certified Plant Maintenance Manager (CPMM)

Administrator: Association for Facilities Engineering (AFE)

Body of knowledge: Maintenance management, preventive maintenance, inventory and procurement, work orders, work flow, planning and scheduling, CMMS, training and work cultures, predictive maintenance, reliability centered maintenance, total productive maintenance, maintenance financials, return on investment.

Eligibility: Currently employed as a maintenance professional and 2 yr experience in maintenance management, OR 5 yr experience in plant engineering, facilities engineering, maintenance management, or related and/or equivalent employment.

Term: 5 yr

Fee: $235 for AFE members, $360 for nonmembers

Contact: Association for Facilities Engineering, 8180 Corporate Park Dr, Suite 305, Cincinnati, OH 45242; 513-489-2473; fax 513-247-7422; certification@afe . org afe.org/certf.htm

Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP)

Administrator: Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals Certifying Organization (SMRPCO)

Body of knowledge: Equipment reliability, manufacturing process reliability, work management, business management, personnel development

Eligibility: No specific requirements

Term: 3 yr

Fee: $250

Contact: Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals, PO Box 51787, Knoxville, TN 37950-1787; 800-950-7354; fax 865-558-3060; info@smrp.org smrp.orge/smrpco/index.html

Comments: First certifications awarded in 2001.

Certified Reliability Engineer (CRE)

Administrator: American Society for Quality (ASQ)

Body of knowledge: Design review and control; prediction, estimation, and apportionment methodology; failure mode effects and analysis; the planning, operation, and analysis of reliability testing and field failures, including mathematical modeling; understanding human factors in reliability; and the ability to develop and administer reliability information systems for failure analysis, design and performance improvement, and reliability program management over the entire product life cycle.

Eligibility: 8 yr on-the-job experience in one or more areas of the CRE body of knowledge with 3 yr in a decision-making position. Experience requirement reduced for education as follows: technical or trade school diploma, 1 yr waived; associate degree, 2 yr; bachelor degree, 4 yr; master or doctorate degree, 5 yr

Term: 3 yr

Fee: $180 for ASQ members, $285 for nonmembers

Contact: Customer Service, American Society for Quality, 600 N Plankinton Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53203; 800-248-1946; fax 414-272-1734; asq.org/cert

Comments: Reliability engineers use the principles of performance evaluation and prediction to improve product/systems safety, reliability, and maintainability.

Certified Facilities Manager (CFM)

Administrator: International Facilities Management Association (IFMA)

Body of knowledge: Operations and maintenance, real estate, human and environmental factors, planning and project management, facility function, finance, quality assessment and innovation, communication

Eligibility: Facility management degree from IFMA-recognized program and 3 yr facility management experience, OR related bachelor degree and 4 yr facility management experience, nonrelated bachelor degree or associate degree and 5 yr facility management experience, OR some post- secondary education and 8 yr facility management experience

Term: 3 yr

Fee: $400 for IFMA members, $600 for nonmembers

Contact : IFMA, 1 E Greenway Plaza, Suite 1100, Houston, TX 77046-0194; 713-623-4362; fax 713-623-6124; certification@ifma.org ifma . org/certification

Comments: Recognized globally

Certified Energy Manager (CEM)

Administrator: Association of Energy Engineers (AEE)

Body of knowledge: Codes and standards, energy accounting and economics, energy audits and instrumentation, electrical systems, mechanical systems, utility and process systems, building envelope, cogeneration systems, procurement of fuels, energy management systems, controls, thermal energy storage systems, lighting, boiler and steam systems, maintenance, alternative financing.

Eligibility: 4-yr engineering degree and/or P.E. with 3 yr experience in energy management, OR 4-yr business or related degree with 5 yr experience in energy management, OR 2-yr technical degree with 8 yr experience in energy management, OR 10 yr verified experience in energy management.

Term: 3 yr

Fee: $200

Contact: Elaine Berkheimer, CEM Certification Administrator, Association of Energy Engineers, 4025 Pleasantdale Rd, Suite 420, Atlanta, GA 30340; 770-447-5083 ext 218; Elaine@aeecenter.org aeecenter.org/certification

Comments: About 6000 certified since 1981. Recognized by U.S. Dept. of Energy, Office of Federal Energy Management Programs (FEMP), U.S. Agency for International Development, numerous state energy offices, major utilities, corporations, and energy service companies.

Certified Manufacturing Engineer (CMfgE)

Administrator: Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME)

Body of knowledge: Mathematics, engineering sciences, product/process design and development, manufacturing processes, production system and equipment design/development, automated systems and control, quality and customer service, manufacturing management, personal effectiveness

Eligibility: 10 yr manufacturing-related work experience and/or education

Fee: $195 for SME members, $390 for nonmembers

Contact: Society of Manufacturing Engineers, One SME Dr, Dearborn, MI 48121; 800-733-4763; fax 313-271-2861; cert@sme.org sme.org/certification

Comments: SME offers a number of other certifications including Certified Manufacturing Technologist (CMfgT) and Certified Engineering Manager (CEM).

Certified Welding Engineer (CWEng)

Administrator: American Welding Society (AWS)

Body of knowledge: Mathematics, physics, chemistry, strength of materials, heat transfer and fluid mechanics, electricity, welding-related disciplines, safety, welding design, materials and welding/joining metallurgy, welding, cutting, and joining processes, quality assurance, quality control, welding/joining economics.

Eligibility: B.Sc. degree in engineering and 1 yr related experience, OR B.Sc. degree in engineering technology and 2 yr related experience, OR other related B.Sc. degree and 5 yr related experience, OR A.A.S. degree and 10 yr related experience, OR high school or equivalent diploma and 15 yr related experience.

Fee: Exam parts 1 & 2 — $200 for AWS members, $270 for nonmembers; Exam parts 3 & 4 — $350 for AWS members, $420 for nonmembers; certification without testing — $125 for AWS members, $200 for nonmembers

Contact: American Welding Society, 550 N.W. LeJeune Rd, Miami, Florida 33126, 800-443-9353, info@aws.org aws.org/certification/CWEng

Comments: The CWEng is capable of directing those operations associated with weldments and other types of joints that are completed in accordance with the appropriate contract documents, codes, and other standards to produce a satisfactory product. This certification alone may not legally qualify the engineer to provide technical services to the public.

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Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

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