Does a Certification Make You a Professional Reliability Engineer?

14597317110_da115cce9c_oDoes a Certification Make You a Professional Reliability Engineer?

No, it doesn’t.

It’s just a piece of paper that conveys you mastered some body of knowledge. You most likely also committed to abide by a code of ethics. Plus you may have committed to continuing eductions to maintain the certification.

Having a certification means you know the terms, definitions, techniques and concepts concerning reliability engineering. Thanks all.

Does it mean you are a professional? No.

Being Professional

The dictionary describes professional as being associated or involved with a profession. You are professional by working or studying the profession of reliability engineering. Yet, we commonly consider a professional as being more than just a person with a job title.

A professional, in my mind exemplifies the essence of a noble, caring, capable engineer. One that works for the greater good. Someone the strives to make the world a better place. (Insert pedestal here.)

This is the nature of the engineering code of ethics that professional societies draft and encourage members to live. The following are just examples of the many similar codes that exist:

American Society for Quality Code of Ethics

http://asq.org/about-asq/who-we-are/ethics.html

National Society of Professional Engineers Code of Ethics

http://www.nspe.org/resources/ethics/code-ethics

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Code of Ethics

http://www.ieee.org/about/corporate/governance/p7-8.html

There are many others and they are all similar. Be honest, forthright and fair in your work.

You probably already adhere to these various codes of ethics. You do not have to pay membership dues to demonstrate you are ethical. It’s how you work, behave and conduct your life.

You are a professional reliability engineer by way you solve problems, continue to learn, assist others willingly, and exemplify how the reliability engineering profession makes the world a better place.

Certifications are Good, too.

There are different types of certifications and many organization offer certificates. For reliability engineering there are three professional societies that I know about that offer certifications.

American Society for Quality Certified Reliability Engineer

http://asq.org/cert/reliability-engineer

Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professional Certified Maintenance & Reliability Professional

http://www.smrp.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3578

Association for maintenance Professionals Certified Reliability Leader

http://www.maintenance.org/pages/crl

Some engineers have all three certifications. Some only one. Many professional engineers do not have any certification. It’s a personal decision. You can strive to work as a professional with or without securing one or more of the certifications offered by professional societies.

I should mention there are many other certifications offered in our industry. Conferences, software companies and consulting & training organizations offer certifications.  These like the ones offered by professional society are not licenses (state license or charter). The various certifications simply mean the person meet some level of experience, course work, demonstrated body of work or passed a test.

It doesn’t mean they are a professional.

If you are pursuing a certification, why? Please add a comment on what certification means to you and your career.

About Fred Schenkelberg

I am an experienced reliability engineering and management consultant with my firm FMS Reliability. My passion is working with teams to create cost-effective reliability programs that solve problems, create durable and reliable products, increase customer satisfaction, and reduce warranty costs.

12 thoughts on “Does a Certification Make You a Professional Reliability Engineer?

  1. Love this article. NO! A certification does NOT make you a reliability engineer. I have been a CMRP from SMRP.org for 3 years now. Do you know what I have learned? That in the end, it only EVER made it possible for two parties to agree at what level we could begin our communications. As a ‘non-technical’, it was common for me to be *excused* for not knowing something and it would often waste time to have it explained to me! I changed that whenever I devoted my time to the intensive study of the SMRP Body of Knowledge BOK. I believe in myself and so it was easier to invest in myself and PERSONALLY paid for the exam. Passing was met with a brief celebration before going back to work helping clients design, develop, and execute industrial marketing strategies! Thank you for pointing out that it doesn’t make someone an EXPERT or a PROFESSIONAL. I believe it’s mistaken sometimes by those who have certifications but cannot demonstrate the application of the theories or methodologies. Practical application wins!

    1. Well stated Amy! And good for you to master the BOK and earn the certification – even if it only kept you at the table. In the long run, for any professional, it is our demonstrated ability to help others solve problems that matters.

      Cheers,

      Fred

  2. Because of the various definitions of “professional”, one could argue that certification is an example of being a professional. What are you really asking? Maybe the question should be “does certification make you an EFFECTIVE RE”? I would certainly rather be called “effective” as opposed to “professional”, but I’ve been called worse. What I really want to know about anyone is “how do I know they know their stuff?” and “can I trust them to do the right things?” Education, certification, job history, and publications are some indicators of what someone knows. More important to me are what customers, co-workers, clients, etc. have to say about their experience with someone.

  3. I have not yet seen certifications on interrelationships with people. For me, the most important thing about professionalism is personal behavior and relationship with people especially the area of listening.

    1. I’m sure there are such certifications. Neurolinguistic programing (NLP – at least I think NLP stands for that) focuses on how we communication with individuals and groups. A very practical book written for engineers to get better at working with people is Smart Work by Lucy Freedman and… – easy read and takes time to implement into your daily routine.

  4. I’ve found that reliability is one of those fields where not many really understand it, but everyone thinks they do, and having the certification helps give me a little extra credibility when I’m dealing with someone who “knows” a lot of things that contradict the BOK.

    1. Be careful with using the certification and BOK as the definition of reliability engineering. Many of the elements in the BOK are rather dated. For example, MTBF and the many techniques relying on MTBF – I highly recommend not using those approaches, yet for certification you need to know this elements to pass the exam. – cheers, Fred

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