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Top 11 Design Engineer Certifications

This article will provide an overview of the top design engineer certifications available and discuss their benefits for career advancement.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 19 min read

Certifications are important for a design engineer in the job market because they demonstrate that the individual has a certain level of knowledge and experience related to their field. They can provide employers with proof that the engineer is qualified to take on more complex tasks, and they can help them stand out from other applicants. Certifications also show that an engineer is up-to-date on the latest industry trends and practices. This can be invaluable for employers who want to ensure that their design team is made up of professionals who understand the most current technologies and processes.

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the most beneficial certifications for Design Engineers, and explain how they can help to advance their careers.

What are Design Engineer Certifications?

Design engineer certification is a professional designation that recognizes individuals who have achieved a high level of expertise in the field of engineering design. It serves as proof of an individual’s competency and knowledge in the area, and is often used to demonstrate their qualifications for certain positions or projects.

Having a design engineer certification can provide many advantages. It can help engineers stand out from other applicants when applying for jobs, as well as open up new career opportunities that may not have been available otherwise. It also shows potential employers that the individual has obtained the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully perform design engineering tasks. Additionally, it provides recognition from peers and clients that can help build credibility in the industry.

The certification process typically involves passing an exam administered by a recognized authority on engineering principles and practices. The exam covers various aspects of design engineering, such as materials selection, product development, manufacturing processes, quality assurance, safety considerations, and cost analysis. Once an individual passes the exam they will be awarded with a certificate recognizing their achievement in design engineering.

In summary, design engineer certification is an important credential that can help individuals advance their career in this field by demonstrating their expertise and qualifications to potential employers. It provides recognition from peers and clients which helps build credibility in the industry while also opening up new career opportunities.

Pro Tip: When looking for a design engineering certification, make sure to research the requirements and benefits of each program carefully. Certification programs vary in terms of cost, length, and what they cover, so it's important to find the one that best suits your needs and interests. Additionally, look into the reputation of the certifying body to ensure the program is recognized in your field.

Related: What does a Design Engineer do?

Top 11 Design Engineer Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Design Engineers today.

1. Professional Engineer (PE) Certification

Professional Engineer (PE) Certification is a voluntary process that demonstrates a professional engineer’s commitment to upholding the highest standards of ethical and technical practice. It is an important credential for engineers who want to advance in their careers and demonstrate their expertise in their field.

In order to become certified, applicants must have a minimum of four years of professional engineering experience, pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, and pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. The PE exam is specific to each state, so applicants must choose which state they would like to be certified in before taking the exam.

The entire certification process can take anywhere from two to five years depending on the individual's experience level and dedication to studying for the exams. To get started, applicants should contact their state licensing board for information about how to apply for certification.

The cost for certification varies by state but typically includes an application fee, examination fees, and any additional fees required by your state licensing board. In most states, these fees range from $100-$500 depending on the type of license being applied for.

2. Certified SolidWorks Professional (CSWP)

Certified SolidWorks Professional (CSWP) is a certification program offered by SolidWorks, a 3D CAD software company. It is designed to validate the skills of users who are proficient in using SolidWorks for design and engineering tasks. The CSWP credential is internationally recognized and helps employers identify individuals with advanced knowledge of the software.

The CSWP exam consists of two parts: Core and Advanced. The Core section covers basic features and functions of SolidWorks, while the Advanced section tests more complex topics such as sheet metal design, surfacing, mold tools, weldments, and large assembly management. To become certified, candidates must pass both sections with a score of 70% or higher.

The exam takes approximately 4-6 hours to complete and can be taken at any authorized testing center around the world. Candidates must register online through the SolidWorks website prior to taking the exam. The cost of the exam varies by country but typically ranges from $200-$300 USD.

Once certified, individuals will receive an official certificate from SolidWorks as well as digital badges that can be shared on social media or added to resumes/CVs. The certification is valid for three years after which point it must be renewed by passing an updated version of the exam.

3. Autodesk Certified Professional (ACP)

Autodesk Certified Professional (ACP) is a certification program designed to recognize and validate the skills of Autodesk software users. The ACP certification validates an individual’s knowledge, skill, and ability to use Autodesk software effectively in a professional environment.

To get the ACP certification, you must pass one or more Autodesk Certification Exams. These exams are available for various Autodesk products such as AutoCAD, Revit, Inventor, 3ds Max, Maya, Fusion 360 and more. Depending on the exam you choose to take, it can take anywhere from 1-2 hours to complete.

The cost of taking an ACP exam varies depending on which product you are testing for and where you take the exam. Generally speaking, most exams cost between $100 - $200 USD.

Once you have successfully passed your exam(s), you will receive an official Autodesk Certificate of Completion that will be sent to your email address within 2-3 weeks after passing the exam. This certificate serves as proof of your successful completion of the ACP program and is required for employers when verifying your credentials.

4. American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Certification

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) is an international professional organization that sets standards for the design and construction of mechanical systems. ASME Certification is a voluntary program that demonstrates a company’s commitment to quality, safety, and professionalism. It provides assurance to customers, regulators, and other stakeholders that the products they purchase meet the highest standards of quality and reliability.

To become certified by ASME, companies must demonstrate their commitment to meeting or exceeding industry standards in areas such as design, fabrication, assembly, testing, inspection, maintenance, and repair. Companies must also demonstrate their ability to consistently produce safe and reliable products. The certification process typically takes between 6-12 months depending on the complexity of the product being certified.

To get ASME Certification, companies must first submit an application package which includes a detailed description of their manufacturing process and a Quality Management System (QMS). The QMS should include policies and procedures for controlling product quality throughout the entire production process. Once approved by ASME's review board, companies can then proceed with the certification process. This involves undergoing an audit from an independent third-party auditor who will assess the company’s processes against ASME’s criteria for certification. If all criteria are met, then the company will be awarded its ASME Certification.

The cost of obtaining ASME Certification varies depending on factors such as size of company and complexity of product being certified. Generally speaking however it can cost anywhere from $5-10K USD per product type being certified.

5. Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification

Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification is a globally recognized certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It is designed to demonstrate an individual’s ability to successfully manage projects and lead teams. The PMP Certification is a rigorous process that requires individuals to demonstrate their knowledge of project management concepts, processes, and best practices.

The PMP Certification process typically takes between 6-12 months to complete, depending on the individual's experience and dedication to studying for the exam. To become certified, individuals must first meet certain eligibility requirements, including having at least 4500 hours of project management experience in the past 8 years or 7500 hours of project management experience in the past 15 years. Additionally, individuals must have 35 contact hours of formal project management education.

Once these requirements are met, individuals can apply for the PMP Certification Exam through PMI's website. The exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions that must be completed within four hours. The cost of taking the exam varies depending on whether you are a member or non-member of PMI; members pay $405 while non-members pay $555.

Once an individual passes the exam, they will receive their official PMP Certification from PMI. This certification is valid for three years before it needs to be renewed by completing 60 professional development units (PDUs).

6. Certified Manufacturing Engineer (CMfgE)

A Certified Manufacturing Engineer (CMfgE) is a professional certification that demonstrates expertise in the principles and practices of modern manufacturing. The certification is administered by the American Society for Quality (ASQ), an international organization dedicated to quality assurance and improvement. The CMfgE credential is one of the most prestigious certifications available in the field of manufacturing engineering.

It typically takes between two to four years to become certified as a CMfgE, depending on your experience level. To qualify for the certification, you must have at least four years of experience in a manufacturing engineering-related field, including two years in a supervisory role. You must also pass an exam that covers topics such as design and analysis, process control and optimization, production planning and scheduling, cost estimation, safety and environmental management, quality management systems, and more.

The cost of becoming certified as a CMfgE varies depending on your membership status with ASQ. For non-members, it costs $450 to register for the exam plus an additional $50 fee for each module taken. For members of ASQ, there is a discounted rate of $400 plus $50 per module taken.

7. Six Sigma Green Belt Certification

Six Sigma Green Belt Certification is a professional certification program designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a level of understanding and proficiency in the Six Sigma methodology. The certification is offered through various organizations, including the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and International Association for Six Sigma Certification (IASSC).

The Six Sigma Green Belt Certification requires applicants to demonstrate an understanding of the fundamentals of Six Sigma, including its core principles, tools, and techniques. It also requires applicants to demonstrate their ability to apply these concepts in real-world scenarios. This certification typically takes between four and six months to complete, depending on the organization offering it.

To get certified as a Six Sigma Green Belt, you must first complete an approved training course or program. These courses are available both online and in person from accredited institutions or organizations. After completing your training course, you can then take the exam required to become certified. The exam typically consists of multiple-choice questions that test your knowledge of Six Sigma principles and tools.

The cost for a Six Sigma Green Belt Certification varies depending on the organization offering it. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500-$2,000 for the entire process, which includes both training and examination fees.

8. National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) Fundamentals of Engineering Exam

The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) Fundamentals of Engineering Exam is a comprehensive, eight-hour exam that assesses an individual's knowledge and understanding of the engineering principles used in the practice of professional engineering. The exam is administered twice a year, typically in April and October.

In order to take the NCEES Fundamentals of Engineering Exam, you must first register with NCEES. You can do this by creating an account on their website or by calling their customer service line. After registering, you will be able to select a testing location and date for your exam.

The cost of taking the NCEES Fundamentals of Engineering Exam varies depending on where you take it. In some states, there may be additional fees associated with taking the exam at certain locations or times. Generally, however, the cost ranges from $175 to $225 USD per attempt.

Once you have registered for and taken the NCEES Fundamentals of Engineering Exam, it typically takes between four to six weeks for your results to be released. If you pass the exam, you will receive a certificate from NCEES that proves your successful completion of the exam and allows you to pursue licensure as a professional engineer in most U.S. states and territories.

9. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Certification

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is a professional organization dedicated to advancing the arts, sciences, and technology of aerospace. AIAA offers certification programs for professionals in the aerospace industry. The AIAA certification program provides recognition to individuals who demonstrate a high level of knowledge, experience, and commitment to the profession.

To obtain an AIAA certification, applicants must meet certain requirements including having at least five years of experience in the field, completing an approved course or training program related to their specialty area, and passing a written exam. The exam covers topics such as aerospace engineering fundamentals, aircraft design principles, propulsion systems, flight dynamics, and more. Depending on the specialty area chosen by the applicant, additional exams may be required.

The cost of obtaining an AIAA certification varies depending on the specialty area chosen. Generally speaking, it can range from $500-$1,000 USD. The process typically takes several weeks or months depending on how quickly you complete all necessary requirements.

In order to get started with pursuing an AIAA certification you will need to create an account on their website and submit your application along with supporting documents such as proof of experience and transcripts from any relevant courses or training programs you have taken. Once your application is accepted you will receive instructions for scheduling your exam(s). After successfully passing all required exams you will receive your official AIAA certification card in the mail within 4-6 weeks.

10. International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP)

The International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP) is a professional certification program for systems engineers. It is designed to recognize the knowledge and experience of systems engineering professionals, and to promote excellence in the field.

To become a CSEP, applicants must meet certain requirements, including having at least five years of experience in systems engineering and passing an examination administered by INCOSE. The exam consists of two parts: a written portion and an oral interview.

The written portion covers topics such as systems engineering principles, processes and methods; project management; risk management; system architecture; requirements engineering; verification and validation; system integration; and other related topics. The oral interview focuses on the applicant’s understanding of systems engineering principles, processes, methods, tools, techniques, and best practices.

It typically takes about six months to prepare for the CSEP exam. Applicants should plan to spend at least 100 hours studying for the exam.

The cost of taking the CSEP exam varies depending on where you take it. In the United States, it typically costs around $1,500-$2,000.

11. American Welding Society (AWS) Certified Welding Inspector

The American Welding Society (AWS) Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) is a certification program for welding inspectors. The AWS CWI certification is recognized as the highest standard in the welding industry and is a prerequisite for many welding inspector positions. This certification requires knowledge of welding processes, materials, and safety practices.

It typically takes 6-12 months to prepare for the AWS CWI exam. Candidates must complete an approved training program and pass a written examination before taking the practical exam. During the training program, candidates learn about welding processes, materials, quality control procedures, inspection techniques, and safety regulations.

To get the AWS CWI certification, candidates must pass both a written and practical exam administered by AWS. The written exam tests knowledge of welding processes, materials, code requirements, inspection techniques, and safety regulations. The practical exam tests candidates’ ability to inspect welds using visual inspection methods and measuring instruments.

The cost of getting the AWS CWI certification varies depending on the type of training program chosen by the candidate. Training programs range from self-study courses to instructor-led classes that can cost up to $3,000 or more. In addition to these fees, there are also fees associated with taking the written and practical exams which can range from $250-$500 each depending on location.

Do You Really Need a Design Engineer Certificate?

In short, no. A Design Engineer Certificate is not necessary for a design engineer to be successful in his or her career. While having such a certificate may provide some advantages, it is ultimately up to the individual engineer to decide if the cost and effort associated with obtaining one are worth it.

The primary benefit of having a Design Engineer Certificate is that it can demonstrate your knowledge and skillset to potential employers. It can also give you an edge over other applicants who don't have one, as it proves that you have taken the initiative to gain additional qualifications in your field. Additionally, having a certificate may open up new opportunities for advancement or recognition within your organization.

However, there are several factors to consider when deciding whether or not you need a Design Engineer Certificate. For example, if you already possess the necessary skills and experience required of a design engineer, then there may be little benefit to obtaining such a certificate. Additionally, if your current employer does not value certification in their hiring processes or employee promotion criteria then it may be unnecessary for you to pursue this route.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to obtain a Design Engineer Certificate should be based on your individual goals and needs as an engineer. If you feel that having such certification would help further your career objectives then by all means go for it! However, if you believe that such an endeavor would be too costly and time consuming for little return then it might be best to focus on other areas of professional development instead.

Related: Design Engineer Resume Examples

FAQs About Design Engineer Certifications

FAQ 1: What are the benefits of a design engineer certification?

Answer: A design engineer certification provides recognition for the knowledge and skills acquired through experience and/or education. It shows employers that you have the necessary qualifications to work in this field, and can help you stand out among other job applicants. Additionally, it can lead to higher wages, better job opportunities, and career advancement.

FAQ 2: What types of design engineer certifications are available?

Answer: Depending on your experience level, there are several types of certifications available. These include Certified Design Engineer (CDE), Certified Professional Design Engineer (CPDE), Certified Senior Design Engineer (CSDE) and Certified Master Design Engineer (CMDE).

FAQ 3: How do I become certified as a design engineer?

Answer: The requirements vary depending on the type of certification you’re pursuing. Generally speaking, most require some combination of formal education, practical experience, passing an exam or assessment, and meeting any additional requirements set by the certifying body.

FAQ 4: How long does it take to get a design engineer certification?

Answer: The amount of time needed to obtain a certification depends on the specific requirements for each program. Generally speaking, it takes around 6-12 months to complete the process from start to finish.

FAQ 5: How much does a design engineer certification cost?

Answer: The cost of obtaining a design engineer certification varies depending on the program you choose. However, most programs range between $500-$2000 depending on the scope of study required.