(American) Professional Engineering License: Any Value in the WASH sector?


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  • komasai
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(American) Professional Engineering License: Any Value in the WASH sector?

Good day all.

My name is Komal Saini and I am an engineer at Suez-North America in the
Water Technologies and Solutions division. I have been a passive member on SuSanA since I was a WASH Engineering student at the University of Leeds in 2016.

My current work with Suez involves engineering ozone and ultraviolet (UV) purification and disinfection technologies for the first-world market.
However, I want to retain my passion for WASH engineering and eventually use my experience, technical knowledge, and relationships to dive back into the WASH field.

On that note, is a Professional Engineering license of value in the WASH sector?

Any advice will be appreciated.
Thank you.
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  • Elisabeth
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Re: (American) Professional Engineering License: Any Value in the WASH sector?

Dear Komal,

Welcome to the SuSanA Discussion Forum! I don't think an American Professional Engineering License would help you all that much in the international WASH sector, unless perhaps you work for an American engineering firm on a project and they require it.
I am also an engineer by training (chemical engineering), graduated from a German university. We don't even have the concept of "professional engineering license" in Germany and I have never missed having one in my career so far.
If you want to further your education I would rather recomment an MSc or PhD degree or taking part in some MOOCs (massive open online courses). (or if you were at Leeds you already have an MSc degree?)

All the best,
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Ulm, Germany
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  • ddiba
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Re: (American) Professional Engineering License: Any Value in the WASH sector?

Dear Komal,
Thank you for your question.
In addition to what Elisabeth said, I would like to point out that what matters, in the end, is what exactly you want your career to focus on and what countries you want to operate in. In Uganda, where I did my undergraduate engineering education, the engineering profession also has a license like the American system (see www.erb.go.ug/ ). While the license is not a pre-requisite to practice in the country, it is required that any engineering designs for construction projects have to be done by or under the guidance of a licensed/registered engineer. Otherwise, they cannot be approved by local authorities. I assume this is the same in the USA. On the other hand, in Sweden where I am based at the moment, the license tradition does not exist just like in Germany and many other European countries. But also since I work primarily as a researcher and not as a design engineer, I wouldn't have needed it even if I were based in Uganda.

In the context of the WASH sector, it comes down to what you would like your future career to focus on. If you envisage that you will be heavily involved in designing and implementing construction works for water and sanitation projects with a focus on countries that have the engineer's license tradition, then it is a good idea to acquire it. But otherwise, you wouldn't need the license and it wouldn't limit your career growth.

Daniel Ddiba
Co-lead for SuSanA WG5: Productive sanitation and food security
Research Associate at Stockholm Environment Institute
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