10 steps to get Chartered

27th January 2017

Yesterday we gave you ‘10 reasons to get Chartered’. So, now that you’re convinced, we have broken the process up into ten easy steps.

Okay so easy is the wrong word to describe it, because the hard-work you put in as a chemical engineer is what makes you eligible for Chartered status. It carries a lot of weight those letters after your name, they signify that you are an engineer who has the technical knowledge, practical experience, and training to be a trustworthy professional.

But trust us, the process to get there is actually pretty straight-forward. First, watch the below video, then read the 10 steps for a bit more detail – and let us know what you think in the comments.

  1. Become an IChemE member

Pretty obvious, but necessary. You can only apply to be a Chartered Chemical Engineer if you are an IChemE member. This membership grade basically applies to anyone who is a chemical engineer working in the process industries, academia, or a related field.

If you’re a chemical engineering student you should upgrade to this level as soon as you graduate.

  1. Consider getting a mentor to help

Find the whole process daunting? Would like to speak to a Chartered engineer about their experience? We encourage those looking to apply for Chartered status to look for a mentor to help them through the process.

If you work for a company that provides an IChemE Accredited Company Training Scheme (ACTS) then they must provide trainees with a Chartered mentor. Outside of your company you can join a member group or special interest group and request a mentor, or contact IChemE for help.

  1. Find out your pathway to Chartership

First and foremost, are you a practising chemical engineer (in academia or industry), and do you have enough experience? The Chartered process is all based on competency, so if you’re newly graduated you probably aren’t ready just yet. Typically 5-7 years of experience is sufficient.

The best way to find out your pathway to getting Chartered is by using our online self-diagnostic tool. It will ask you a few questions about your chemical engineering journey so far, and then tell you what is required for you to apply for Chartered status.

The tool is great for giving you a completely tailored pathway, but there are typically four main routes:

Fully accredited degree: Your Bachelors and Masters degree in chemical engineering was fully accredited by IChemE at the time of study.

IChemE accreditation at M-Standard means your degree fully satisfies the educational requirements for Chartered Chemical Engineer/Chartered Engineer registration.  You will be required to submit a competency & commitment report, and attend a peer review interview. Go to point 6.

Non accredited degree: Neither your Bachelors or you Masters degree was accredited by IChemE at the time of study OR your degree is in a different discipline OR you do not have a degree.

You may have studied a long time ago when accredited degrees were less common, you might have studied biology and then ended up a chemical engineer. You can still apply to be Chartered, but to show that you have the required level of technical knowledge and understanding you will need to submit a technical report, a competency & commitment report, and attend a peer review interview. Go to point 4.

Degree (accredited Bachelor): When you have an IChemE accredited Bachelors degree, and either no masters or a non-accredited Masters.

FEANI degree: You will have a FEANI degree typically if you studied chemical engineering within Europe but outside of the UK.

Engineering Council recognises that a FEANI degree demonstrates the appropriate level of technical knowledge, engineering practice and core chemical engineering. However, sometimes they can lack design modules. If you have a FEANI degree and would like to become a Chartered Chemical Engineer you will therefore need to submit a short design report, a competency & commitment report, and attend a peer interview. Go to point 5.

Just graduated: If you are a graduate or an early-career engineer interested in getting Chartered, we highly recommend you start recording your Continued Professional Development (CPD) activity now, to make the application process a whole lot simpler in a few year’s time. Watch this video for more information about recording CPD.

  1. Prove your technical knowledge

You can skip this part if you hold an IChemE accredited Masters degree as you will only be required to submit a competency & commitment report (and the standard documentation). If you hold a FEANI degree jump to point 5.

Most people choose to base their reports on a project they recently completed; it should include key calculations, drawings, flow sheets and diagrams and explicitly describe the chemical engineering principles applied.

If you are an academic you can submit a collection of published papers and describe how the papers demonstrate knowledge and understanding at Masters level or above.

Check out some examples of good technical reports by heading to this link – examples are in the left menu.

  1. Prove your design understanding

For FEANI degree holders only (or in specific cases – the self-diagnosis tool will tell you). The design report should be around 2,000 words and fully describe a chemical engineering activity that you have been involved with. Make sure you show integration with other engineering and technical disciplines to produce a design or solution for safe and useful application.

Include design specifications, assumptions, calculations and modelling.

Check out a good example here and an academic example here.

  1. Report on your competence and commitment

This is why it’s hugely important to start logging your CPD as soon as you graduate. If you have your experience recorded already, then the actual report writing is a doddle.

When you download the C&C report template, you will see there are 5 sections to fill in.

The competency areas are:

Section A – Application of knowledge to practical situations

Covers: identifying a problem, opportunity or project, combining ideas from different disciplines to arrive at a solution, developing your own ideas, technical evaluation, and planning.

Section B – Wider implications of your work

Covers: your ability to handle health and safety, sustainability, and commercial aspects.

Section C – Interpersonal, leadership and communications skills

Covers: evidence of you managing interpersonal relationships, demonstrating leadership at work, communicating ideas.

We want a comprehensive overview of your experience, which demonstrates you have worked in a variety of areas including but not limited to process plant operation, legislation, IT, R&D, project management, teaching, sustainability and economic accountancy

The commitment areas are:

Section D – Professional commitment and ethical conduct

Covers: professional conduct and ethical decision-making.

Section E – continuing professional development (CPD)

Covers: report of recent CPD, benefits received, future CPD plan and expected benefits.

  1. Get it verified 

At the end of your C&C report there is a verification section. This is where you must ask people who worked with you on the projects to sign-off on your report, confirming that the information is correct. They don’t have to be Chartered, IChemE members, or even chemical engineers but they should have been senior to you when the work in your report was completed and familiar with the work described.

The verifier(s) will indicate which sections of the report they are verifying by ticking the relevant boxes. At least 80% of your C&C report must be signed-off.

  1. Find two referees and upload

You can easily find a referees in your local IChemE community, particularly if you’re part of a member group or special interest group.

We will contact your referees via email, with a few questions. The process is quick and easy – but only if your referees respond. To make your Get Chartered process as quick as possible make sure you contact your references before giving us their details.

This not only makes them aware that they will be contacted by us, but is also just good manners!

Done? Head to the IChemE website and upload your verified C&C report, your additional technical report (if required), proof of qualifications, and up-to-date CV, photo ID and your references.

You will also need to provide a few personal details.

  1. Peer review and interview

Your written application – specifically your C&C report and additional technical report, will be reviewed against the standard for a Chartered Member. If you have read all the guidance material and followed the above steps, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Next - the interview. All applicants will be invited to attend a professional review; this is based around your C&C report. The interview is conducted by two Chartered Members or Fellows, and will ask you to expand on some of the evidence you have provided. It usually lasts around an hour.

If you have been asked to submit a technical report you will be asked to attend an additional interview, usually on the same day. This will assess your level of knowledge and understanding, and question will be related to the specific project you have chosen.

  1. The big reveal

If your application is successful though, you become Chartered almost immediately. Wear your new title with pride, take advantage of the new opportunities available to you, and continue to show your pride, passion and professionalism for chemical engineering.

Head over to Get Chartered now to start your application. Good Luck!