A practical engineer (Hebrew: הנדסאי) is a professional degree awarded by technological colleges in Israel and validated by the National Institute for Technological Training of the Ministry of Industry, Trade & Labor. It is a unique qualification that combines theoretical study with practical training, and is currently available only in Israel. It normally takes up to 3 academic years to obtain a Practical Engineer's degree, depending on the taught discipline.
Practical Engineers are used to mediate between professional engineers and engineering technicians. While most of the decision making process is performed by professional engineers and most of the practical work is done by technicians, practical engineers are taught to be able to follow instructions and re-adapt concepts designed by professional engineers.
In Israel, practical engineers are an integral part of the hi-tech industry and form an important work-force.
Practical Engineers are licensed to lead and hold responsible for engineering projects up to a certain level. For example, in Israel, architectural practical engineers are permitted to design constructions of up to four stories high, while for larger scale projects a full engineering degree is required.
Education, training & skills
Practical engineers receive formal education that meets with criteria published by the National Institute for Technological Training. In sum over 2100 frontal academic hours are taught over a period of two to three years.
From an academic point of view, the main things differentiating engineers from practical engineers are the level and magnitude of foundation subjects, such as mathematics and physics.
Practical Engineers are taught foundations but only to the extent required by their profession, hence making their study shorter and more focused.
As part of the certification process, practical engineers are also required to undertake national certification tests, and to complete and defend a final project in their field of study or to participate in an internship program.
There are some international qualifications equivalent to the Practical Engineer's degree. In Spain, the title of Ingeniero Técnico (Spanish for Technical Engineer) bears many similarities to its Israeli equivalent. Also, although not exactly the same, Practical Engineers are often thought of as Engineering Technicians, Associate Engineers or Jr. Engineers in some English speaking countries. The French Brevet de Technicien Supérieur is similar.
Although not an academic degree in its traditional sense, practical engineers are normally awarded some academic credit when pursuing further study at a Bachelor's degree
- Ministry of Industry, Trade & Labor (State of Israel) Retrieved on 15 September 2008