Engineer in Training
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (September 2011)|
Engineer in Training, or EIT, is a professional designation from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) used in the United States (and other countries) to designate a person certified by the state as having completed two requirements:
- Completed a minimum of three years of post-secondary school at an ABET-accredited engineering program, or related science curriculum approved by the Board – Many states allow for the substitution of several years of engineering experience in place of the engineering degree requirement.
- Passed the NCEES eight hour Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Examination
Once an individual has passed the exam the state board awards that person an Engineer in Training (EIT) or an Engineer Intern (EI) designation. EIT and EI are equivalent variations in nomenclature that vary from state to state. Receiving an EIT designation is one step along the path toward Professional Engineer (PE) licensure.
Clarification of the term
In the USA the term "Engineering Intern" (formerly "Engineer in Training") is a ubiquitous misnomer as people with this designation are already engineers, just not fully licensed Professional Engineers (PE). Although they are "in training," the term is misleading in that it sounds as if it implies that they have yet to become engineers. "Engineering Intern" is also a possibly misleading term as it may imply that the engineer is still in college and is working merely in an intern position.
An Engineer in Training can do engineering work, such as design, but typically requires the supervision and direction of a Professional Engineer, who are exclusively able to perform certain tasks, such as stamp and seal designs and offer services to the public.
In Canada, an E.I.T. designation does not mean that one is an engineer. An EIT can perform engineering work under the supervision of a professional engineer, but until the EIT gains full P.Eng qualifications, the PEO does not allow one to call oneself an engineer, regardless of education.
Significance of the designation
Lack of an EI designation does not necessarily represent a stigma for an engineer. The inverse is more appropriate: having the EI designation represents a level of distinction.
Having an EI designation shows an understanding of fundamental engineering principles, as EIs have passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. It also expresses some level of commitment towards the engineering profession as taking and passing the 8-hour FE exam requires a level of dedication and is not something that all engineers have attempted or completed.
Many engineers do not sit for the exam as the EI designation is not necessary to do engineering work and some engineering professions are not as concerned with professional licensure as others. Depending on the profession, having an EI designation can either be very important or have little bearing on an engineer's career.
EI designation as a part of PE licensure
Each state's statutes delineate the requirements for the experience and education needed to become a PE once EIT or EI certification has been earned. The requirements vary depending on the State and the licensing board, but for most engineers the process typically includes the following steps:
- Graduate from an ABET-accredited four-year university engineering program
- Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Examination to receive an Engineering Intern (EI) designation
- Accumulate a set amount of engineering experience, typically under the direction of a PE. In most states the requirement is four years, but in others the requirement is lower.
- Pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam to receive a PE designation