An engineering major should consider joining an engineering club during high school and college. After graduation, they should consider joining a nationally recognized engineering advocacy organization to boost their employment appeal, professional competency, and networking outreach.
See our ranking of the 30 Best Values for Aerospace Engineering.
High School Students
The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) maintains their Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SEAP) for high school students. This program requires students to be U.S. citizens and 16 years old. Applicants must have at least completed Grade 9. SEAP is a summer program that takes place over an eight-week period at participating Department of Navy (DoN) labs.
The goal of the program is to expose students to scientific methods and engineering activities that are not available in public school environments. The desired outcome is that attendees will have a favorable attitude towards defense departments and that attendees will serve as positive role models for their peers. A stipend incentive is available.
Engineering clubs offer many benefits. First, they usually offer mentoring programs that can help with knowledge, career advice, and networking opportunities. Working one-on-one with a mentor is especially beneficial for students who struggle with the technical side of engineering.
Second, engineering clubs in universities often have job boards where member organizations post internal job openings. This is an excellent way to minimize the burden of job hunting through verified employers. Third, some offer a career center with resume, coaching, interview, and unemployment assistance.
The Premier Club
The National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) is the premier organization for engineers in every discipline across the country. They provide licensure resources, take action on issues, promote ethical practices and advocate for engineers everywhere. Membership in the NSPE is open to anyone who possesses a valid license as an engineer. This requires an accredited degree in engineering from a university.
The National Society of Professional Engineers is open to those who have a registration certificate as an Engineering Intern or Engineer-In-Training. These licenses must be issued under the U.S. or an equivalent foreign government. Students who are enrolled full-time in an ABET-accredited engineering program may join for free.
Every state will have minor differences in licensing requirements for engineers, but there are common standards. First, the applicant must be an engineering graduate from an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology-accredited college or university. Second, they must pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) written test.
Once this is done, most states allow engineers to apply for Eengineer in Training (EIT) or Engineer Intern (EI) certification. Third, they must generally accumulate four years of experience. Fourth, they must pass the Principles and Practice in Engineering (PE) exam. This text is administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).
Belonging to an engineering club looks favorable on a resume, especially if the job applicant volunteered for a leadership position. An engineering major who wants a professional engineering club may look into national organizations such as the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE), Materials Science and Engineering Association and American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
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