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Top 10 Principal Electrical Engineer Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for principal electrical engineers, including details on requirements and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications are important for a principal electrical engineer in the job market because they demonstrate a level of knowledge and expertise that employers look for when hiring. Certifications provide tangible proof of achievement that can be used to set an engineer apart from other applicants. They also help to ensure that engineers are up-to-date on the latest technologies, safety procedures, and industry standards, which is essential for success in the field. Certifications also help to give employers confidence that their engineers have the necessary skills and qualifications to do the job well.

The purpose of this article is to review and explain the benefits of top certifications for Principal Electrical Engineers and how they can help advance their careers.

What are Principal Electrical Engineer Certifications?

Principal Electrical Engineer Certification is a certification that recognizes the professional qualifications of electrical engineers. It is awarded by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and requires applicants to pass an exam, possess a minimum of five years of experience in engineering, and demonstrate a strong commitment to continuing professional development.

This certification is highly sought after among employers because it demonstrates that an engineer has extensive knowledge and experience in the field. With this certification, engineers can demonstrate their expertise in areas such as power systems design, power electronics, electrical machines and drives, instrumentation and control systems, safety engineering, and more.

Having this certification also helps engineers stand out from other candidates for jobs within their industry. It shows employers that the engineer has the necessary skills to lead projects or take on managerial roles. Furthermore, having this certification indicates that the engineer is committed to keeping up with new technology developments in their field. This can help them stay competitive in a rapidly changing industry.

Pro Tip: To become a principal electrical engineer, it is essential to have a professional engineering license in the relevant specialty. This will require passing a rigorous exam that tests your knowledge and understanding of electrical engineering principles. Additionally, you may need to obtain additional certifications or licenses depending on the jurisdiction you are practicing in.

Related: What does a Principal Electrical Engineer do?

Top 10 Principal Electrical Engineer Certifications

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

1. Certified Professional Electrical Engineer (CPEE)

Certified Professional Electrical Engineer (CPEE) is a professional certification program designed to recognize the knowledge and skills of electrical engineers. It is administered by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and is recognized worldwide as a mark of excellence in the field.

The CPEE program consists of three levels: Associate, Professional, and Senior. To become certified, applicants must pass an exam for each level. The exams are designed to test the applicant’s knowledge in areas such as power systems, electronics, control systems, instrumentation, communications, and safety.

The amount of time it takes to get the CPEE depends on how quickly the applicant can study and prepare for the exams. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from six months to one year to complete all three levels of certification.

To get started on becoming a Certified Professional Electrical Engineer (CPEE), applicants should first review the requirements for each level of certification on IEEE’s website. Once they have reviewed these requirements, they should create a study plan that outlines what topics they need to cover in order to pass each exam. After creating their study plan, applicants should register for their desired level(s) of certification through IEEE’s online portal.

The cost of becoming a Certified Professional Electrical Engineer (CPEE) varies depending on which level(s) you are registering for and where you live. Generally speaking, it costs around $200-$400 USD per exam plus any applicable taxes or fees associated with your region/country.

2. Certified Energy Manager (CEM)

Certified Energy Manager (CEM) is a professional certification program offered by the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE). It is designed to provide individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to manage energy use in commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities. The CEM program requires candidates to demonstrate their understanding of energy management principles and practices through a comprehensive exam.

The CEM certification process typically takes between 6-12 months to complete. To get started, applicants must submit an application form along with their resume, transcripts, and other supporting documents. After submitting the application, applicants must take an online exam that covers topics such as energy efficiency, renewable energy systems, building systems design and operation, financial analysis for energy projects, and more. Upon passing the exam, applicants will receive their CEM certification.

The cost of obtaining a CEM certification varies depending on the country you are located in. In the United States, it typically costs around $500-$750 USD for all associated fees including the application fee and exam fee.

3. Certified Power Systems Engineer (CPSE)

Certified Power Systems Engineer (CPSE) is a certification program offered by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of power systems engineering. The CPSE certification requires applicants to demonstrate their knowledge in areas such as electrical power system design, operation, and maintenance.

The certification process consists of two parts: an online exam and a practical project. The online exam tests the applicant’s knowledge of power systems engineering topics such as electrical safety, power system components, operation and control, and protection. The practical project requires applicants to design and build a working model of a power system.

The entire certification process takes approximately six months to complete. Applicants must first register for the online exam with the IEEE Power Engineering Society (PES). Once registered, they will receive an email with instructions on how to access the exam material. After studying for the exam, applicants can take it at any time within three months from registration.

Once the online exam has been completed successfully, applicants can then submit their practical project for review by PES experts. This process takes up to three months depending on the complexity of the project submitted. If accepted, applicants will be awarded their CPSE certificate upon successful completion of both parts of the certification process.

The cost of becoming certified as a CPSE varies depending on whether or not you are already a member of PES. For non-members, there is an application fee that covers both parts of the certification process plus additional fees for each part taken separately (online exam or practical project). For members, there is no application fee but there may be additional fees for each part taken separately (online exam or practical project).

4. Certified Electrical Safety Compliance Professional (CESCP)

Certified Electrical Safety Compliance Professional (CESCP) is a professional certification program offered by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). It is designed to provide electrical safety professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to ensure compliance with NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace. This certification helps employers protect their employees from potential hazards associated with working around electricity.

In order to become a Certified Electrical Safety Compliance Professional (CESCP), an individual must successfully complete a two-day course and pass an exam administered by the NFPA. The course covers topics such as electrical safety principles, risk assessment, arc flash hazard analysis, personal protective equipment selection, and more.

The cost of the certification varies depending on where you take the course. Generally speaking, it costs around $1,500-$2,000 for the two-day course and exam. Additionally, there may be additional costs associated with travel and lodging if you are attending an off-site training facility.

Once certified as a CESCP professional, individuals must maintain their certification through continuing education activities or re-testing every three years in order to remain current on industry standards.

5. Certified Industrial Electrician (CIE)

A Certified Industrial Electrician (CIE) is a professional who has been trained and certified to install, maintain, repair, and troubleshoot electrical systems in industrial settings. CIEs are highly-skilled professionals who must have a thorough knowledge of both the electrical components of an industrial system and the safety procedures necessary to ensure the system is operated safely.

In order to become a Certified Industrial Electrician, one must complete an apprenticeship program that is approved by their state or local jurisdiction. Apprenticeships typically last between four and five years and involve both classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Upon completion of the apprenticeship program, applicants must then pass a written examination administered by their state or local jurisdiction in order to receive their certification.

The cost of becoming a Certified Industrial Electrician varies depending on the jurisdiction in which you are applying for certification. Generally, there will be fees associated with taking the written examination as well as any additional courses or seminars that may be required for certification. Additionally, some jurisdictions may require applicants to pay for any tools or equipment needed for their apprenticeship program.

Overall, becoming a Certified Industrial Electrician requires dedication and hard work but can provide job security and financial stability for those who choose this career path.

6. Certified Reliability Engineer (CRE)

A Certified Reliability Engineer (CRE) is an engineer who has been certified by the American Society for Quality (ASQ) to demonstrate a high level of knowledge and expertise in reliability engineering. The CRE certification is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a mastery of the principles and practices of reliability engineering, as well as their application to product design, development, production, installation, operation and maintenance.

It typically takes between six months and two years to become a CRE. Candidates must have at least four years of experience in reliability engineering or related fields such as quality assurance or manufacturing engineering. They must also pass an exam administered by the ASQ.

To get the certification, you will need to fill out an application form and submit it along with your resume and proof of experience. Once your application is approved, you will be given access to study materials that will help you prepare for the exam. After studying for the exam, you will need to take it at one of several testing centers around the world. Once you pass the exam, you will be issued your CRE certificate.

The cost of becoming a CRE varies depending on where you live and how much preparation you need for the exam. Generally speaking, it can range from $500-$2,000 USD including fees for registration, study materials and test fees.

7. Certified Plant Engineer (CPE)

Certified Plant Engineer (CPE) is a professional certification program offered by the Association of Facilities Engineering (AFE). The CPE designation is designed to recognize the knowledge and skills of experienced plant engineers. It is intended to demonstrate that an individual has achieved a high level of proficiency in the field of plant engineering.

To become a Certified Plant Engineer, an individual must have at least five years of experience in plant engineering, including at least three years in a supervisory or managerial role. In addition, they must complete 40 hours of continuing education every two years and pass an exam administered by AFE.

The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and can be taken either online or in-person at one of AFE's testing centers. It typically takes between four and six hours to complete the exam.

The cost for the CPE certification program varies depending on whether you choose to take the exam online or in-person. Taking the exam online costs $400, while taking it in-person costs $500.

8. Registered Professional Electrical Engineer (RPE)

Registered Professional Electrical Engineer (RPE) is a professional certification granted by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). It is an internationally recognized credential that demonstrates a high level of expertise in electrical engineering. The RPE designation is awarded to individuals who have met the rigorous requirements established by the IEEE, such as having at least four years of professional experience in electrical engineering, passing a comprehensive exam, and demonstrating knowledge in areas such as safety, ethics, and design principles.

It typically takes two to three years to complete all the requirements for obtaining the RPE certification. During this time period, applicants must demonstrate their knowledge and skills through coursework and/or on-the-job training. They must also pass an exam administered by the IEEE.

To get an RPE certification, applicants must first become members of the IEEE. This can be done online or by mail. Once they are members, they can then submit an application package to the IEEE which includes proof of their educational background and work experience in electrical engineering, along with any other relevant documents required by the organization. After submitting their application package, applicants will be notified when they are approved for taking the RPE exam.

The cost of obtaining an RPE certification varies depending on several factors including membership fees and exam fees. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $500-$1000 USD to obtain an RPE certification.

9. National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) PE Exam

The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) PE Exam is a professional engineering exam that assesses the competency of engineers to practice independently in the United States. It is designed to ensure that all engineers who are licensed to practice have met the same minimum standards of competency, regardless of their educational background or experience. The exam covers topics such as mathematics, engineering science, ethics, and engineering design.

The exam typically takes 8 hours to complete and consists of 80 multiple-choice questions and an open-ended design project. The exam is offered twice a year in April and October at various locations across the country.

To get the NCEES PE Exam, you must first apply through your state board of licensure. You will need to submit an application form along with supporting documents such as transcripts, references, proof of work experience, etc. Once your application has been approved by your state board, you will be able to register for the exam through NCEES’ website.

The cost of the NCEES PE Exam varies depending on your state board but typically ranges from $200-$400 USD. This fee includes both registration for the exam and access to study materials provided by NCEES.

10. International Society of Automation (ISA) Certified Automation Professional (CAP).

The International Society of Automation (ISA) Certified Automation Professional (CAP) is a certification program that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a high level of knowledge and experience in the field of automation. It is designed to provide an objective measure of professional competency in the areas of automation engineering, systems integration, process control, and related technologies. The CAP certification is recognized worldwide as a mark of excellence in the automation industry.

To become certified, applicants must pass an exam that tests their knowledge and understanding of automation concepts, principles, and practices. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as project management, system design and implementation, instrumentation and control systems, safety systems, data acquisition systems, network communications protocols, software development methodologies, and more.

The CAP exam typically takes approximately three hours to complete. Applicants must also meet certain prerequisites prior to taking the exam including having at least five years’ experience in the field or having completed a four-year degree program in engineering or technology from an accredited institution.

The cost for the CAP exam varies depending on where you take it but generally ranges from $400 to $600 USD. Additionally there may be additional fees associated with testing centers or other administrative costs associated with taking the exam.

Once certified, individuals are required to maintain their certification by completing continuing education credits every three years. This ensures that they stay up-to-date on new technologies and best practices in the field.

Do You Really Need a Principal Electrical Engineer Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on the individual and their specific career goals. For some individuals, a Principal Electrical Engineer Certificate may be necessary in order to pursue certain positions within their field. This certificate can provide evidence that an individual has the skills and knowledge necessary to take on more advanced roles within the electrical engineering industry.

For others, a Principal Electrical Engineer Certificate may not be necessary for success. Individuals who have extensive experience in the field, or who have already achieved a certain level of success, may find that they do not need additional credentials to continue progressing in their chosen profession.

Ultimately, it is up to each individual to assess whether or not they need a Principal Electrical Engineer Certificate in order to achieve their professional goals. Those who feel that such a certificate would be beneficial should research what is required of them in order to obtain one. Those who are uncertain can speak with colleagues and mentors who have experience in the field and get advice from them about whether or not obtaining such a certificate would be beneficial for them.

Related: Principal Electrical Engineer Resume Examples

FAQs About Principal Electrical Engineer Certifications

1. What is a Principal Electrical Engineer Certification?

Answer: A Principal Electrical Engineer Certification is a professional certification that demonstrates competency in the field of electrical engineering, specifically in the areas of design, installation, and maintenance of electrical systems. It involves passing an examination administered by a professional organization or certifying body.

2. Who can apply for a Principal Electrical Engineer Certification?

Answer: Any individual who has completed an accredited program in electrical engineering and has at least two years of experience working in the field may be eligible to apply for the certification.

3. How long does it take to obtain a Principal Electrical Engineer Certification?

Answer: The time required to complete all requirements varies depending on the certifying body, but typically it takes between six months and one year from start to finish.

4. What are some benefits of having a Principal Electrical Engineer Certification?

Answer: Benefits include increased job security, higher salaries, greater career advancement opportunities, and recognition as an expert in the field. Additionally, having this certification can increase your credibility with clients and employers alike.

5. Are there any prerequisites for obtaining a Principal Electrical Engineer Certification?

Answer: Yes, typically applicants must have completed an accredited program in electrical engineering and have at least two years of experience working in the field before they can apply for the certification.

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