To manage any engineering project, you are going to need a deep and thorough understanding of its technical aspects combined with real-world hands-on experience. And so for this reason, project engineering is generally not considered a standalone engineering or academic discipline in and of itself. Rather, the techniques used are added on to an existing engineering qualification such as mechanical, civil, chemical, process, petroleum, electrical, automation, etc, or learned on the job. Lots of universities or colleges offer project management certificates through their existing management, business, or professional education programs.
In addition, there is a wide range of professional institutions and accreditation bodies that offer certification. Here is a selection so some of the most common certifications. But there are many others.
Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®
The program is administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). The Certified Associate in Project Management is the precursor to the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification (See below). If you don’t have a college degree, have limited project management experience or want to get PMP certification in steps rather than all at once, the CAPM is a stepping-stone to the more rigorous PMP.
Project Management Professional (PMP)®
This is one of the top project management certifications and is issued by the Project Management Institute. The certification process is a rigorous test that covers absolutely everything you need to prove your knowledge and skill in managing the “triple constraints”: time, cost and scope.
International Project Management Association (IPMA-B), (IPMA-C) and (IPMA-D)
IPMA divided its accreditation levels into levels B, C and D. Level B is intended for larger, more complex projects where analytical project management techniques are a major part of the management of the project. Level C is intended for small, less complex projects where project management often is more based on relationships than analytical methods. Level D is the lowest level and is the only one that does not require an on-site visit by IPMA-certified assessors
PRINCE2® Project Management Certifications
This is the main PRINCE2 certification, administered by Axelos in the UK. It is based on the PRINCE2 manual “Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2.” The accreditation is broken into two levels. “PRINCE2 Foundation Examination” and the “PRINCE2 Practitioner certification”
As a project engineer, coming from outside this sector, your main opportunities would be managing capital projects within the pharmaceutical industry, medical device industry or the many engineering consultancies that focus on these sectors.
You will need to know Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) if you are working directly for a pharmaceutical company on ongoing projects. Check out our GMP Training for Beginners in the Pharmaceutical Industry to learn about the GMPs and the risk management techniques used in the FDA-regulated manufacturing environment.
In addition, you should certainly consider learning how to populate and understand Equipment Validation Protocols as knowledge of them is a fundamental skill set of any engineer working in this sector and you are going to encounter them on a regular basis. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you are singing of on validation documentation you don’t fully understand.
Apart from “Project Engineer” or “Senior Project Engineer”, here are some of the more common job titles we see advertised.
- Project Automation (OEM) Engineer
- Project Engineer, (Ops Readiness)
- Project Engineer- Service & Maintenance
- Engineering Projects Manager
- Project Manager (Pharma)
Another career option would be to retrain for validation roles. Check out out our Equipment Validation Training Course (ONLINE)
And finally, you could retrain and move into plant engineering roles. Check out our 18-week online Conversion Course into Engineering Roles in Pharma to learn GMPs and how the purified water, steam, and clean air systems that underpin aseptic processing work.