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Certification

An INCOSE Systems Engineering Professional Certification is valid for a period of three years for CSEP and five years for ASEP. It is renewable for three or five year periods, respectively. Extensions are renewed at the same time as the base certification renewal, regardless of when the extension was earned. Renewal is not required for ESEP, but ESEPs do need to maintain their INCOSE individual, senior, or student memberships. The actual period of certification will commence on the date that INCOSE issues the initial certification.

Steps for INCOSE Certification Renewal

INCOSE Systems Engineering Professionals (SEPs) should be tracking their professional development activities throughout their certification period.  They should keep a log of these activities and additional supporting information in case they are audited.  Upon completion of certification or renewal, SEPs should download the latest forms to assist with their next renewal activity.

Step 1 – Review the list of qualifying activities for earning Professional Development Units (PDUs).  Identify those you are doing already and those you can add to further your professional development.
Step 2 – Download the Log of Continuing Education Credits and insert your personal information.  Record your professional development activities.
Step 3 – As you approach the end of your certification or renewal period, download the Application for Renewal of SE Certification and Instructions for Renewing SE Certification.  Complete these forms with your personal information.
Step 4 – Click on Member Login and then select the profile home link.  Scroll down to Certification and click on "View my CSEP renewal application" to start the process.

Once you have submitted the materials in Step 4, it will take INCOSE a few weeks to provide you with an updated certificate.  If your application is selected for audit, you may be asked to provide additional proof of the activities you described in the PDU log.

Renewal Requirements by Certification Level

The following table lists the renewal requirements for the Certification Levels:

Certification Level


Renewal Requirements


ASEP


120 PDU
Every Five (5) Years
Must maintain INCOSE individual, senior, or student membership and transition to CSEP within 15 years


CSEP


120 PDU
Every Three (3) Years
Must maintain INCOSE individual, senior, or student membership if certified after 31 December 2015


ESEP


No renewal required, but must maintain INCOSE individual, senior, or student  membership


For a renewal application to be valid and processed, it must be dated (electronic or post marked) and paid no later than the expiration date of the current certification. For example, if the applicant received his/her CSEP certification on August 16, 2005, then his/her certification expires on August 15, 2008; and the renewal application must be dated (electronic or post marked) no later than August 15, 2008. Renewal applications that are dated (electronic or post marked) after the expiration of the current certification will be subject to the late fees described below. Once the grace period has ended, the applicant will have to repeat the entire certification process to regain their certification status.

Deferments from the continuing education requirements for hardship reasons, such as extended periods of illness or family leave, must be submitted in writing to the Certification Program Office for a decision. If you apply for a hardship deferment, your supporting documentation must specify the time period for meeting the continuing education requirements, must be included with your renewal form, and is a part of the material covered by your signed affidavit.

If you wish to put your active certification “on hold” prior to its expiration, you may submit a written request to the Certification Program Office. You will not be able to advertise yourself as an INCOSE Systems Engineering Professional at any level while your certification is on hold. You must maintain INCOSE membership during the hold period. When you are ready to reactivate the certification, reach out to the Certification Program Office. Upon paying a $100 reactivation fee, you will be allowed to claim your certification for the duration of time that remained when it went on hold. For instance, if you put your CSEP certification on hold two years after you were first certified, you would have one year of active certification left.

Qualifying Activities for Earning PDUs

The requirement for continuing professional development is intended to reinforce the need for lifelong learning in order to stay current with changing technology, equipment, procedures, processes, and established standards. Systems Engineering Professionals are encouraged to select meaningful courses/activities which will be of benefit in the pursuit of their chosen areas. The definition of Course/Activity is: "Any qualifying course or activity with a clear purpose and objective which will maintain, improve, or expand skills and knowledge relevant to the CSEP’s or ASEP's area of expertise."

There are limits noted on the maximum number of PDUs for which credit is allowed for some activities. While not required, it is desired that certified professionals earn PDUs in multiple categories and activities.

Table of Professional Development Credits

Professional Development Activities

(all must be relevant to the practice of systems engineering)
(Proof of all activities required if audited)

 


Units Earned


3 or 5 year Maximum per Activity


Technical Society Participation Category


Be an INCOSE individual, senior, or student member


5 PDU/year


15 PDU


Attend Professional Technical Society local event/chapter presentation/exhibit


1 PDU/hour attendance


30 PDU


Attend Professional Technical Society Conference/Symposium


1 PDU/hour attendance


72 PDU


Participate on Professional Technical Society working groups, committees, etc.


1 PDU/hour of effort


No limit


Perform Leadership Role in Professional Technical Society at local, national or international level


1 PDU/hour of effort


No limit


Volunteer activities with youth in schools or community related to science, technology, engineering, and math(STEM)


1 PDU/hour of effort


72 PDU


Volunteer activities with community, school, or non-profit organizations that help them accomplish their technical needs


1 PDU/hour of effort


30 PDU


Earn an SE-relevant, exam-based, professional certification other than INCOSE SEP


5 PDU/certification


10 PDU


SE Course Work & Publication Category


Complete a technical graduate level course


2 PDU/class hour


No limit


Attend educational course, tutorial, or seminar


1 PDU/hour


No limit


Teach professional development coursework, including presentations not part of job function.


2 PDU/hour (prep)
1 PDU/hour (teach)


40 PDU


Write & publish SE article


5 PDU/article


No limit


Write & publish SE book


30 PDU (primary author)/book

10 PDU (contributing author)/book


No limit


Attend vendor presentation with educational value


1 PDU/hour attendance


15 PDU


SE Job Function Participation Category


Receive Patent Award


10 PDU/award


No limit


Serve as designated lead systems engineer for a system, product or service


15 PDU/year


45 PDU


Lead organization to increase INCOSE systems engineering certifications


5 PDU/year


15 PDU


Volunteer (i.e., non-compensated) activities within your organization related to engineering and science


1 PDU/hour of effort


30 PDU


General Requirements

All activities for which PDU credits are claimed must be relevant to the practice of systems engineering and may include technical, ethical, or managerial content. These activities should advance the professional or technical competence of the professional. PDUs are earned for activities that exceed normal on-the-job experience.

Qualifying activities may be sponsored or presented by college or universities, by employers, by government agencies, by nationally affiliated engineering or professional societies (such as INCOSE), or by other organizations.

The American Society of Engineering Education, ASEE, a nonprofit organization committed to continuing engineering education, has an online resource that may help you locate continuing education courses across many engineering disciplines. You may find links there to online courses, video courses, evening courses, or weekend courses offered by U.S. engineering schools and professional societies.

INCOSE does not pre-approve courses for PDU credit. It is each individual's responsibility to assure that the activities in which you participate meet the requirements.

A PDU credit is roughly equivalent to one clock hour of instruction or volunteering and should be rounded to the nearest half hour.

Typical Qualifying Activities

Completing or attending qualifying courses, seminars, instruction, in-house programs, or training; attending technical or professional society meetings when an engineering topic is presented as a principal part of the program and covers topics within your area of practice; preparing and teaching a course for the first time or if substantial time has been spent in updating material if previously taught; attending satellite video courses where attendance is verified and program material meets the requirements; and language courses or software instructional courses which relate to improvement of one's business or profession.

Typical Non-Qualifying Activities

Regular employment; personal estate and financial planning;  reading books, articles, or presentations; courses in self-study or personal self-improvement; service club meetings or activities; equipment demonstrations or trade shows; topics not relevant to engineering; enrollment without attendance in courses or seminars, etc.; and repetitive teaching of the same course without updating the course material; attending committee and business meetings of any non-technical organization; conversational language courses for personal use.

Technical Society Participation Category

A Professional Technical Society is one that is devoted to the improvement of a technical (engineering related) profession for the benefit of its members and society. A non-inclusive list of acceptable Professional Technical Societies includes such organizations as: INCOSE and any of its chapters and affiliates, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), American Institute on Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), Institute of Engineers, Singapore (IES),  Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE), Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

Activities in this category and the number of PDUs that may be earned are as follows:

  • Maintain INCOSE Membership – 5 PDUs per year may be earned by maintaining active (dues paying) individual membership status (including student and senior) in INCOSE. (Note: INCOSE membership is not required to be a CSEP. However, ASEPs and ESEPs are required to maintain their INCOSE membership.)
  • Attend Professional Technical Society local event/chapter presentation/exhibit – 1 PDU may be earned for each hour of attendance at local chapter meetings or events sponsored by a Professional Technical Society at which the main topic on the agenda is an engineering-related presentation/exhibit/discussion within the certified professional’s area of practice. No credit is earned for attendance at business-only meetings.
  • Attend Professional Technical Society Conference/Symposium - 1 PDU may be earned for each hour of attendance at sessions with System Engineering content at a conference/symposium sponsored by a Professional Technical Society. Typically, a Conference/Symposium will be at least six hours to multiple days in duration.
  • Participate on Professional Technical Society working groups, committees, etc. - 1 PDU may be earned for each hour of performing volunteer work on behalf of INCOSE or other Professional Technical Society by serving as a working group or committee member, item writing contributor, paper reviewer or other type of approved volunteer activity.
  • Perform Leadership Role in Professional Technical Society at local, national or international level - 1 PDU may be earned for each hour of performing volunteer work on behalf of INCOSE or other Professional Technical Society by serving in an elected or appointed leadership role. Credit may be earned for time spent in leadership related tasks devoted to planning, leading, and reporting on activities.
  • Volunteer activities with youth in schools or community related to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) - 1 PDU may be earned for each hour of performing volunteer youth related STEM activities, such as: working with robotics or future cities teams; support of engineering week activities; supporting technical career days; mentoring programs; and volunteering in science, math, or other relevant classroom events.
  • Volunteer activities with community, school or non-profit organizations that help them accomplish their technical needs- 1 PDU may be earned for each hour of performing volunteer work such as: design or research for technical solutions to help the organization accomplish its mission; web site set-up and configuration, management; and managing or leading needs related to computer, IT, etc.
  • Earn an SE-relevant, exam-based, professional certification other than INCOSE SEP- 5 PDUs may be earned for each additional professional certification earned during the renewal period.

SE Course Work & Publications Category

Activities in this category are directed toward enhancing the technical and developmental skills of the certified professional and toward encouraging the certified professional to share his or her knowledge and experience with others in the systems engineering profession.

Technical skill activities include learning Systems Engineering skills and practices in the areas which are covered by the Experience Applicable for Certification portion of the INCOSE Certification website and reflected in the INCOSE SE Handbook, specifically:

  • Requirements Engineering
  • Risk & Opportunity Management
  • Baseline Control
  • Technical Planning
  • Technical Effort Assessment
  • Architecture/Design Development
  • Qualification, Verification, Validation
  • Process Definition
  • Tool Support
  • System Engineering Training
  • Systems Integration
  • Quality Assurance
  • Specialty Engineering

Development skills are those complementary activities, such as management or professional speaking courses, which are vital to the growth and professional advancement of Systems Engineers, specifically:

  • Organizational Behavior
  • Strategic Planning
  • Programming Languages & Techniques
  • Interpersonal Communications Skills
  • Interviewing Techniques
  • Team Development Skills
  • Professional Society Participation
  • Elicitation Techniques
  • Workshop Facilitation

Activities in this category and the number of PDUs that may be earned are as follows:

  • Complete a graduate-level technical course - 2 PDUs may be earned for each hour spent in class of a graduate-level technical course leading to an advanced degree that is related to the certified professional’s current or projected future area of practice. Credit will only be given on successfully completing the course. As an example, a semester length course that meets for 1 hour per week over 15 weeks would earn 30 PDUs.
  • Attend an educational course, tutorial, or seminar - 1 PDU may be earned for each hour of attendance at a training course, tutorial, or educational seminar that is related to the certified professional’s current or projected future area of practice. Credit will only be given on passing the activity successfully as documented by a certificate of completion signed by the educational provider.
  • Teach professional development coursework, including presentations not part of job function -  PDU credits may be earned for the initial and revised preparation of courseware, lectures, or training materials. The time spent preparing materials for each hour of presentation is valued at 2 PDUs (i.e. a one hour presentation earns 2 PDUs of credit for the preparation work, a two hour presentation earns 4 PDUs, etc). Under this activity, credit is also given for time spent presenting a new or updating the course, lecture, or training for the first two times at the rate of 1 PDU per hour of presentation time.
  • Write & publish SE article - 5 PDUs may be earned for contributing original work to the System Engineering professional body of knowledge by writing and getting an SE -related article published. Credit is given for only the first publication of the article.
  • Write & publish SE book – PDUs may be earned for writing and getting a book on Systems Engineering published. The primary author or editor will earn 30 PDUs per book; one person cannot earn credit as both author and editor on the same book. Each contributing author will earn 10 PDUs per book.
  • Attend vendor presentation with educational value - 1 PDU may be earned for each hour of attendance at a vendor meeting or presentation IF the presentation has an educational aspect with regard to system engineering methodology, technology, or practice. “Pure sales presentations” do not qualify.

SE Job Function Participation Category

All certified professionals applying for recertification are generally expected to have been performing systems engineering tasks during their renewal period and may have benefited from their on-the-job experience. However, because of the diversity of assignments and the difficulty in quantifying the amount of on-the-job learning, the following every day work-related activities do not qualify for PDU credit: regular employment, preparing internal organizational presentations as part of the certified professional’s work duties, writing for internal organizational publications, providing internal organizational consulting, and compensated work completed by consultants for clients, etc.

The following are three job-related systems engineering activities which are unique learning experiences that are readily quantified. These three activities and the PDUs granted for them are as follows:

  • Receive Patent Award – 10 PDUs may be earned for each patent awarded.
  • Serve as designated lead systems engineer for a system, product or service – 15 PDUs may be earned for each full year served as a designated lead system engineer for the development, production, and/or support of one or more major systems, products, or services.
  • Lead organization to increase INCOSE systems engineering certifications – 5 PDUs may be earned for each full year served in helping his or her organization administer an internal effort to increase INCOSE systems engineering certifications. This activity is restricted to CSEPs in those organizations that have a Memorandums of Agreement with INCOSE to promote INCOSE SE certification.
  • Volunteer (i.e., non-compensated) activities within your organization related to engineering and science – 1 PDU may be earned for each hour of performing volunteer work such as: mentoring programs; STEM initiatives; volunteering in community events that demonstrate the technical aspects of your career (e.g., hands-on activities); and participation in science/technology fairs, or events.

PDU Credits Carried Forward

If more than 120 PDU credits are earned in a period for re-certification, then a maximum of 30 PDUs may be carried forward into the next period.

Upon transition from ASEP to CSEP the PDU count "resets" and the CSEP then has 3 years to earn the required 120 PDUs. None of the PDUs earned while an ASEP can be carried forward.

Credits Disallowed Upon Certification Program Office Audit

A certification will not be renewed unless the individual certifies on the renewal form that the courses/activities listed on the log of continuing education meet the minimum requirements for PDU units. If INCOSE determines that some credits are unacceptable, the certified professional will have 180 days to obtain PDU units that are acceptable. If the individual has not obtained the requisite PDUs after 180 days, the certificate will be revoked until such time as the units are obtained.

Forms – Record keeping – Documentation

Each individual should maintain a summary log that lists his/her PDU activities. The log should contain their certification number, activity, dates performed, source of activity, description of activity, location, and PDU value. A summary log of continuing education, Form 13, Log of Continuing Education Credits is provided for this purpose in Microsoft Excel format.

  • It is important that sufficient name and/or description be given to identify that the activity relates to systems engineering, including the presenter's name. The name of the sponsoring organization must be provided as well as the location of where the instruction, session, or class was held. For classes that are part of a college curriculum, please list the class number.
  • Submit your summary log of continuing education with your renewal form and fee. Material, such as detailed course descriptions and certificates of completion, may be requested to check the quality of the courses/activities on the log of continuing education. INCOSE will audit a randomly selected percentage of all renewals to ensure the quality of courses/activities and compliance with the program requirements. When random audits are done, they will be completed as part of the renewal reviews. If you are selected for audit, you will be contacted to provide the necessary documentation.
  • All records of attendance and completion of PDU credits should be maintained for four years for audit purposes. Records for any "carried forward" PDUs should be retained for four years beyond the subsequent certification renewal.

Late Renewals

Individuals who do not submit their completed renewal form, fee, and log of PDU activities will be subject to additional fees and/or have to re-start the certification process.  We have created a grace period to accommodate special cases.  That grace period is described below:
  • Prior to the renewal deadline: submit renewal form, renewal fee, and log showing 120 or more PDUs
  • If within 6 months after deadline: submit renewal form, renewal fee, reactivation fee of $50, and log showing 140 or more PDUs
  • If greater than 6 months but less than 12 months after deadline: submit renewal form, renewal fee, reactivation fee of $100, a new reference to verify 12 months of SE work since your last application, and a log showing 160 or more PDUs
  • If greater than 12 months past renewal deadline: start over in certification process, taking the knowledge exam and submitting new application materials and fees

Late renewals will re-start the certification time window, with subsequent renewal deadlines based on that renewal date.