Guideline for Experience Requirements for Professional Membership
This brochure outlines the mandatory elements of experience that are necessary to meet the registration requirements and the voluntary elements that will enable you to grow beyond those standards after registration.
Although the responsibility for professional development is meant to be a joint task of the candidates, supervisors, mentors and employers, candidates must assume the primary role in ensuring that they get the appropriate experience. The management of one's own career has become increasingly important as job security has declined, short-term contract work has increased and the possibility of being supervised by a non-professional is growing.
This brochure should be shared and discussed with those you work for, preferably even prior to accepting a position, to ensure that the position has the requisite elements. Of course, having the right elements of experience in a position and following the advice in this brochure does not guarantee that you will meet the registration requirements. Of equal importance to APEGGA's Board of Examiners (the Board) is how well you carry out your responsibilities and this will be confirmed by the references you nominate when you apply for professional membership.
There should be no surprises. This brochure is designed to let you know what the Board's expectations are. The Professional Members you will be working for have a responsibility to keep you apprised of how you are performing and what you can do to improve. Performance review by professionals is a critical element in the registration process and your choice of references is therefore very important. The references must be candid with the Board about your performance without undue concern for whether their comments may delay your registration. There will be obvious differences of opinion between members as to what the standards of performance should be and how the candidate is performing to those standards, but the Board tries to balance such differences in coming up with a reasonable decision.
If you meet the academic requirements, the issue of what constitutes acceptable experience can be simplified by asking yourself "Have I been applying the scientific principles that I have learned?" Subject to the need to be working to North American standards, if you can confidently say "Yes", then you can be more confident that you have been practicing engineering, geology or geophysics. The acceptance of your experience will then rest on the Board's evaluation of quantity and content, and the references' opinions concerning your performance.
If you do not meet the academic requirements, the issue of experience is particularly important because the details of your experience may affect the examination assessment.
Whether you meet academic requirements or not, careful documentation of all experience is essential, but in the latter case it is particularly important since the Board may reduce the number of examinations assessed on the basis of qualifying experience.
ROAD MAP (here)
The chart represents the paths that may be followed by various candidates in trying to meet APEGGA's requirements. Generally speaking, once the academic requirements have been met, the meeting of the experience, law & ethics, English language and character criteria may proceed more or less concurrently.
QUANTITY OF EXPERIENCE
If you have a degree in engineering, geology or geophysics and have met the academic requirements by virtue of accreditation or passing confirmatory examinations. APEGGA requires at least four years of experience acceptable to the Board. In general, this experience must be obtained after completion of the academic requirements. However, the Board may award up to 6 months of credit for qualifying pre-degree summer, co-op or intern work or technology experience.
If you do not have a degree in engineering, geology or geophysics and have met the academic requirements by passing APEGGA course-by-course examinations or University equivalents, a total of at least 8 years of experience acceptable to the Board is required. At least one of these 8 years must be obtained after completion of the examinations.
If you do not fully meet the academic requirements, and have been assessed examinations the Board may consider a reduction in examinations on the basis of extensive high quality experience and evidence of outstanding technical ability. If you have been assessed confirmatory examinations, this option will be considered if you have a minimum of 10 years acceptable experience, although more may be required depending on the quality of the experience. If you have been assessed examinations on a course-by-course basis, at least 6 years of acceptable experience is necessary before any reduction of examinations might be considered.
COMPONENTS OF EXPERIENCE
The Board will evaluate whether your experience contains the following five elements.
1. Application of Technical Theory
2. Practical Experience
3. Development of Management Skills
4. Development of Communication Skills
5. Development of the Understanding of the Societal Implications of the Work Performed
You must show evidence of a significant expenditure of time on the application of technical theory and of practical experience. Ours are technical professions and demand that you show technical proficiency. Exposure to management skills, development of oral and written communication skills and the understanding of the societal implications of what you do will be considered as integral to the learning experience but requiring lesser exposure. These last three will take on a much greater significance as your career develops.
Each of the above five elements have subcomponents that vary in the degree to which they must be evident in your experience. The following paragraphs detail these subcomponents.
The application of technical theory must include selecting solutions and problem solving, preparing and checking of designs or interpretations, showing evidence of sound technical judgement and practices, and in general showing familiarity with the use and application of pertinent technologies, procedures, systems and programs. It may include becoming familiar with the collection, analysis and understanding of information and data. However, data collection and analysis should not be the major component of your assigned tasks for a significant period of time.
Practical experience must include exposure to work site operations, developing a recognition of limitations in designs, interpretations or recommendations, and the understanding of the application of pertinent Codes and Regulations. It may include acquiring an understanding of the interdependence of disciplines, systems and activities, and developing working relationships.
The development of management skills must include managing personal and project resources, involvement in planning, scheduling, budgeting and cost control, developing team skills, understanding professional and business ethics, and keeping appropriate records. It may include developing an understanding of corporate structure, legal aspects of contracts, quality assurance programs and cost impact studies.
Development of good oral and written communication skills is essential for a good professional. Your experience must show evidence of the preparation of written technical reports and of making oral presentations to management, peers or the public.
The interaction between the professions and society have become very much an issue of public scrutiny. Your experience must show evidence of acquaintance with such matters as safeguards and benefits to the public, and the roles and responsibilities of regulatory agencies in your specific field of professional practice.
With regard to the last three elements of experience, APEGGA expects candidates to take seminars or courses to fulfill the requirements in preparation for more responsible positions even if the early positions do not require them.
APEGGA expects you to be supervised by a Professional Member of APEGGA or another provincial or territorial association. If you are unable to receive supervision on the job from a professional member on staff, you will need assistance from a professional member outside the company who will evaluate the technical content of your work. This professional must spend enough time in discussion with you and in reviewing your work to become comfortable with its quality in order to respond confidently to the Board about your capabilities when a reference is sought. In addition, all plans, specifications, reports or documents of a professional nature authored by a Member-In-Training require supervision by a Professional Member who assumes professional responsibility.
A mentor is not a mandatory requirement but having a mentor may be of considerable help in your development. A mentor is often defined as a trusted counselor or guide. He or she may also be your supervisor. He or she should be an experienced professional member of APEGGA or an equivalent organization. There may be advantages in having a mentor in the same discipline as long as the focus of discussions is not exclusively technical. A mentor from within the company may be able to enhance your potential for advancement, but an external perspective can be both refreshing and helpful. Whether from inside or outside the company, the mentor can serve many roles.
A mentor will be able to discuss the important aspects of assigned tasks, both from a procedural and technical point of view although he/she is not to take responsibility for the work. He or she can provide a sympathetic ear to your needs and non-judgmental advice when required. Needless to say, a mentor should be an example of professional excellence. He or she will have extensive experience with and knowledge of organizations and their operations, procedures and objectives. A mentor should be able to give advice and direction, and should be aware of current changes, developments and trends in industry.
For another perspective on the pros and cons of mentoring you may wish to read "Beyond the Myths and Magic of Mentoring", by Margo Murray, Jossey-Bass Inc. Publishers. It focuses on the mentor, rather than the line supervisor, as the leader in the candidate's professional development.
BOARD OF EXAMINERS GUIDELINES
The following clarifies what the Board generally considers to be acceptable for specific types of experience.
North American Work Standards - the Board expects that you are performing to North American technical and ethical standards and codes. Working for North American companies overseas, or for International organizations whose standards meet those of North American jurisdictions, may be acceptable but you will have to show evidence of equivalent standards. The Board must also be convinced that candidates with training and experience in warmer climates have been exposed to and understand the effects that the colder Canadian climate has on the practice of their profession.
Post Graduate Degrees Experience credit for post graduate degrees in engineering, geology or geophysics will not normally exceed a maximum of 50% of the four years experience requirement. No experience credit will normally be granted for a post graduate degree that is not in engineering, geology or geophysics.
Experience credit will only be granted for post graduate degrees at CEAB/ABET accredited institutions. The post graduate degree must be in the same branch of engineering, geology or geophysics as the undergraduate degree to be considered. If the post graduate degree is not from a CEAB/ABET accredited institution, no experience credit will be granted for the post graduate degree nor will that degree exempt you from having to write assessed confirmatory examinations.
If your undergraduate degree is not from a CEAB/ABET, or MRA accredited university program but your post graduate degree is from a CEAB/ABET accredited institution, the Board will normally look to exempt you from confirmatory examinations after a review of your transcripts. In this situation, if confirmatory examinations are waived the experience credit granted for the post graduate degree will automatically be reduced by six months.
Experience credits will not automatically be granted upon completion of an advanced degree but must be requested via the application for professional registration submitted to APEGGA. In order to request experience credits for post graduate academic studies, the following additional information must be submitted:
* The title page, abstract page, recommendation and conclusion portion of thesis or project report.
* A letter of recommendation from your thesis supervisor which includes a statement about the engineering experience and engineering contribution of the research as reported in the thesis.
If the degree is the only North American experience you possess, the Board may ask for additional experience beyond the post graduate studies experience.
Other acceptable experience - there are many types of experience that may be given full credit, but the following list represents those for which additional documentation will be required. Such documentation must confirm the percentage of time spent on the technical aspects of the professions and provide evidence that the principles of engineering or geoscience are being applied. Orientation programs, administration and management may also be acceptable forms of experience if conducted in an engineering or geoscience environment. However, it will be to your advantage if your experience is not exclusively in any one of the following areas.
. sales administration or management . construction estimating
. supervision of production . technology school teaching
. supervision or inspection of construction . well logging
. startup or commissioning of plant . geophysical processing
. patent examination and filing . geoscience field studies/operations
. military service . geological sample description
. drafting . stratigraphic section measurement
. feasibility or economic studies . site geology
. computer programming or systems analysis . post graduate studies in other fields
If your experience is in one of the preceding areas, the amount of credit you receive may be subject to a reduction factor if the work does not contain significant elements of the application of engineering or geoscience principles, or if the work is not being performed at a high enough level. At the discretion of the Board, additional experience may be required beyond the four year requirement to ensure that the quality of experience is equivalent to that of someone whose work does contain sufficient application of engineering or geoscience principles.
EXPERIENCE IN A DISCIPLINE DIFFERENT THAN THE DEGREE
If your experience is in a discipline different than your degree (eg. a mechanical engineering graduate who is working in the petroleum engineering field), the Board in its discretion may require you to obtain additional experience beyond the four year requirement to ensure that the quality of experience is equivalent to that of someone working within the specialty of their degree.
EXPERIENCE OUTSIDE THE FIELD OF THE DEGREE
If your experience is in a field other than your degree (eg. a geology graduate who is employed in the engineering field) depending on the APEGGA designation being sought, the Board in its discretion may either require you to obtain substantial academic upgrading, or require you to obtain additional experience beyond the four year requirement, or both, to ensure that the quality of experience is equivalent to that of someone who has clearly related education and experience.
There are four good reasons to carefully document your experience. First you will need detailed information on your experience in order to convince the Board of Examiners that you have been practicing engineering, geology or geophysics. Second, if you are working in a remote area without close professional supervision, or if your supervision comes from a professional outside the company whom you see infrequently, it will be essential to have good documentation. Third, some jurisdictions in Canada, which provide the same functions as APEGGA, demand a log book of your experience. If you expect to move or want the flexibility to be able to move, it is a good idea to maintain a detailed diary. Finally, after you are registered as a Professional Member there is a mandatory requirement, as part of the Continuing Professional Development Program, that you document any developmental programs that have enabled you to maintain your competence. Starting to document your experience and developmental programs early in your career is a good habit. The Continuing Professional Development Guideline will be provided to you upon registration.
Elaborating on the first reason for documentation, the Board of Examiners needs evidence that you have experience in the five elements mentioned earlier i.e. that you have sufficient experience at a fully professional level. The Board requires information on position titles, job descriptions, specific assignments and responsibilities, values, successes, degrees of independence and initiative needed, and evidence of increasing levels of responsibility. It may be useful to break down the information into meaningful time (no less than 6 months) or project segments with no more than a page dedicated to each segment. A typical resume doesn’t usually provide the detail required. A separate listing of the professional development courses and seminars taken will be needed.
MEMBER INDUCTION CEREMONY
Once you have been advised by the Board of Examiners that you have been registered as a Professional Member you will be invited to a Member Induction Ceremony. These ceremonies, which are conducted in various locations around the province, were introduced for the first time in 1995. At the ceremony you will be introduced to the Professions by your sponsor, usually one of the members you nominated as a reference, and you will be asked to repeat an oath. Attendance is voluntary but it is hoped that the Induction Ceremony will become accepted as a meaningful recognition of a major milestone in the development of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists.
Revised January 2000