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So many professionals asked me about Certifications in Instrumentation and Control field. This post is an answer to their questions. Having obtained P. Eng., CFSE & CAP, I would like to shed some light on why professional certification is important, Which are the choices and some of the strategies which have worked for me to prepare for these certificates.
Why do we have to obtain these certificates though we have enough experience and skill?
The reply is about creating personal brand. Distinguishing yourself from the crowd. Just like Sony, Apple and Lexus are brands, we can create our own brand by obtaining these certifications. Brand gives you premium. Secondly, it provides credibility, which is by third-party like ISA ,CFSE , APEGGA or ASET. Hiring managers have now so many choices with professionals for a particular job. You can create better impression about yourself to these hiring managers not only for jobs, but also for pay rise.
Definitely, right experience and skills are required for job and no certificate can replace that. However, these certificates can complement to that. This shows commitment towards continuous improvement and strive for excellence. Polls have shown that higher education definitely gives you higher salary, similarly these certificates will provide you an edge and leverage to ask for higher pay/salary. Here is the details if you want to know more.
Having answered why do we need these certifications, I delve into the details of “how”.
Professional Engineering license is the first that comes to mind. If you are in Canada, Engineering is a regulated professional and one must have this license or must work under the person who has such license.
Even, so many jobs ask for P Eng. as a mandatory requirement.
The details on how to get P Eng ( for Alberta, Canada) can be obtained at:
APEGGA also conduct seminars regularly to provide information on registering as P Eng.
Even though, if you do not have the experience for applying (e.g. for foreign graduates , minimum 10 years of experience in Engineering is required, out of which one year must be in Canada), one can start preparing resume and talking to reference in advance. This will reduce the effort and simplify the process of applying for P. Eng.
The registration details for Technologist are at :
Once you get P. Eng. or P.Tech. (Eng), the next certification can be CAP (Certified Automation Professional), CCST( Certified Control System Technician) and/or CFSE (Certified Functional Safety Expert)/CFSP.
CAP is the certificate provided by ISA (International Society of Automation). According to ISA website, CAPs are responsible for the direction, definition, design, development/application, deployment, documentation, and support of systems, software, and equipment used in control systems, manufacturing information systems, systems integration, and operational consulting.
CAP details are at:
To write CAP exam, one must study all seven domains: Feasibility study, Definition, System design , Development, Deployment and Operation & Maintenance. In addition to distribution of questions in these seven domains, there are seven Technical categories, which are: Basic Continous Control, Basic Discrete, Sequencing and Manufacturing Control, Advance Control, (Reliability , Safety and Electrical), Integration and Software, Deployment and Maintenance and Work structure.
If you would like to know some more details on PE and CAP, this article from Control magazine will help you.
You can find CCST details at:
CFSE/CFSP/TÜV Functional Safety Engineer
If you are doing work related to Safety Instrumented System (SIS) then CFSE or CFSP is the way to go. According to CFSE website:
This certificate ensure that personnel performing SIS life-cycle activities are competent as required by the IEC 61508, 61511 and 62061 standards.
The reason that one should become CFSE/CFSP is that standards require a proof of qualification to insure safety knowledge & skill are up-to-date, and some companies now require CFSE holders to oversee safety projects & CFSP holders to execute them.
For CFSE/CFSP details:
Apart for CFSE/CFSP, TÜVRheinland offers TÜV Functional Safety Engineer certificate. The details can be obtained at:
Other than, these certificates, Project Management Professional (PMP) by PMI (Project Management Institute) can be pursued if the work demands project management like many Automation companies like Honeywell, Emerson & Invensys asks PMP for the Project Manager job handling project related to Automation.
Here is the link:
Now, I will discuss some of the strategies which have worked for me to obtain these certificates.
(1) Consult the person who has already done such certificate. Ask him to be your mentor if possible.
(2) Buy/obtain the training material as suggested by these organizations.
(3) Take training class if you can afford or your company pays for that. I haven’t taken any training class for obtaining CFSE, CAP certificate.
(4) Create group and discuss. I personally feel that this really helps as one can share the learning and discuss doubts.
(5) Make a schedule and read every day. i.e, 25 pages on normal day and 150 pages on weekend. Discipline is the key to success.
(6) Practice and Practice…Keep practicing online questions or written questions. Treat as if you are giving real exam.
Hope this post will inspire at least one person to obtain any of these certificates. If you are looking for job, this is the right time to prepare for these certificates.