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  • If you have just started (or want to start) practicing systems engineering or have recently graduated and are interested in if you have recently graduated from college or have just started (or want to start) practicing systems engineering, then ASEP is for you.
  • If you are a practicing Systems Engineer with more than five years of systems engineering professional work experience, then CSEP is for you.
  • If you are a systems engineering leader with recognized systems accomplishments and have many years of systems engineering professional work experience, then ESEP is for you
  • If you are a current ASEP, you can transition to CSEP by completing the CSEP application process, minus the knowledge exam. The transition fee is discounted to $200.
  • If you are a Current CSEP, you can transition to ESEP by providing only 20 years of experience (instead of 25). The ESEP rest of the ESEP process remains the same.

Level

Leadership

Experience

Education

References

Exam

 ASEP

None Required

None Required

None Required

None Required

Same Exam as CSEP

 CSEP

None Required

Minimum 5 years SE experience
(see SEfunction area list below)

Technical Degree
(can be augmented with additional years of experience without a technical degree)

3 references
(cumulative coverage of the years of experience)

CSEP exam based on INCOSE SE Handbook

ESEP 

Accomplished and recognized leader in systems engineering

Minimum 25 years (20 if CSEP) SE experience
(see SE function area list below)
Minimum 5 years of professional development credit

Technical Degree
(can be augmented with additional years of experience without a technical degree)

3 references
(cumulative coverage of at least the most recent 10 years of experience)
Support panel review, if required

No examination,
panel review

Experience

The following is the list of function areas recognized in the context of the required Systems Engineering experience:

  • Requirements Engineering: analyze customer and stakeholder needs, generate/develop requirements, perform functional analyses, derive requirements, ensure requirements quality, allocate requirements, control requirements, maintain requirements database, develop and implement Requirements Management Plans, develop measures of effectiveness and performance.
  • Risk and Opportunity Management: develop and implement Risk and Opportunity Management Plans, identify risk issues and opportunities, assess risk issues and opportunities, prioritize risks and opportunities, develop and implement risk mitigation and opportunity achievement plans, track risk reduction and opportunity achievement activities.
  • Baseline Control: develop and implement Configuration Management Plans, establish and update baselines for requirements and evolving configurations/products, establish and implement change control processes, maintain traceability of configurations, participate in Configuration Control Boards, participate in configuration item identification and status accounting, participate in functional and physical configuration audits.
  • Technical Planning: identify program objectives and technical development strategy; prepare Systems Engineering Management Plans, Product Breakdown Structures, program Work Breakdown Structures, Integrated Master Plans, and Integrated Master Schedules; identify program metrics including product technical performance measures and key performance parameters, identify program resource needs in terms of equipment, facilities, and personnel capabilities.
  • Technical Effort Assessment: collect, analyze, track, and report program metrics including product technical performance measures and key performance parameters; conduct audits and reviews; assess process and tool usage compliance; conduct capability assessments; recommend and implement process and product improvements.
  • Architecture/Design Development: identify baseline and alternate candidate concepts and architectures, prepare Trade Study Plans, conduct and document trade studies, evaluate and optimize candidate concepts and architectures, prepare system/solution description documents.
  • Qualification, Verification, and Validation: develop and implement Qualification, Verification, and Validation Plans; develop verification requirements and pass/fail criteria; conduct and record results of qualification, verification, and validation efforts, and corrective actions; prepare requirements verification matrix and qualification certificates.
  • Process Definition: define enterprise processes and best practices, tailor enterprise processes for program/project applications.
  • Tool Support:specify requirements for, evaluate, select, acquire, and install SE computer programs/tools.
  • Training: develop and implement Training Plans, develop and give training courses on processes and tools.
  • Systems Integration: define technical integration strategy, develop Integration Plans, develop integration test scripts, develop and implement integration test scenarios, conduct and document integration tests, track integration test results and retest status.
  • Quality Assurance: develop and implement a Quality Assurance Plan, perform quality audits, report quality audits, define and track quality corrective actions.
  • Specialty Engineering: develop and implement Specialty Plans as part of, or an addendum to, the Systems Engineering Management Plan to cover such specialties as reliability, maintainability, supportability, survivability, logistics support, security, safety, electromagnetic environmental effects, environmental engineering, packaging and handling, etc.
  • Other: describe other functions that you have performed and can justify as system engineering activities.

Certification at the foundation level (CSEP) will indicate that the individual has a balance between the depth and breadth of SE experience having performed in some, but not all, of the SE function areas. To achieve the desired depth and breadth in the minimum 5 years of SE experience, the CSEP candidate must have at least 1 year or greater increments of SE experience in at least 3 or more of the 14 systems engineering functional areas listed above. The acceptability of experience distributions outside this guideline is subject to the decision of the Certification Program Office.

Certification at the expert level (ESEP) will indicate that the individual has a balance between the depth and breadth of SE experience having performed in many, but not all, of the SE function areas. To achieve the desired depth and breadth in the minimum 25/20 years of SE experience, the ESEP candidate must have at least 2 year or greater increments of SE experience in at least 6 of the 14 systems engineering functional areas listed above. The acceptability of experience distributions outside this guideline is subject to the decision of the Certification Program Office.

Education

Guidelines for Technical Degrees for CSEPs and ESEPs

Technical degrees at the graduate and undergraduate level are expected for Systems Engineering Professionals.  Those candidates who do not have a degree that meets the INCOSE Certification Program’s expectation (as outlined in the Frequently Asked Questions) may substitute additional engineering experience as follows:

  • minimum of 5 more years of additional engineering experience with Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, in a non-technical field; or
  • minimum of 10 more years of additional engineering experience with no degree.

For CSEP, this would equate to a total of 10 or 15 years of experience, respectively, with at least 5 of those years SE experience. For ESEP who is already a CSEP, this would equate to a total of 25 or 30 years of experience, respectively, with at least 20 of those years SE experience. For ESEP who is not already a CSEP, this would equate to a total of 30 or 35 years of experience, respectively, with at least 25 of those years SE experience.

Applying for Certification Level Professional-level experience required with a technical degree Professional-level experience required with a non-technical degree Professional-level experience required with no degree
CSEP 5 years
(including 5 years of SE)
(references for 5 years of SE)
10 years
(including 5 years of SE)
(references for 5 years of SE plus 5 years)
15 years
(including 5 years of SE)
(references for 5 years of SE plus 5 years)
ESEP who is already a CSEP 20 years
(20 years of SE)
(references for 10 years of SE)
25 years
(including 20 years of SE)
(references for 10 years of SE)
30 years
(including 20 years of SE)
(references for 10 years of SE)
ESEP who is not already a CSEP 25 years
(25 years of SE)
(references for 10 years of SE)
30 years
(25 years of SE)
(references for 10 years of SE)
35 years
(25 years of SE)
(references for 10 years of SE)

References

Every candidate for CSEP or ESEP must submit at least three references, unless he or she is part of a Memorandum of Agreement that reduces that requirement.

Every candidate for CSEP or ESEP must submit references to confirm the candidate’s systems engineering experience.  CSEP candidates without a technical degree must submit additional references to cover at least five years of professional-level engineering experience.

References must be both knowledgeable about systems engineering and knowledgeable about the candidate’s work experience.  It is desired but not required that at least one candidate have been in a supervisory position over the candidate.  Peers and clients who understand systems engineering may also serve as references.

References must write their own reference forms.  References that are too similar to the application or to other references for the same candidate will be rejected.

References for ESEP candidates may be asked to participate in a phone interview with the Certification Application Review team. 

Exam

The INCOSE knowledge exam for ASEPs and CSEPs is a two-hour, computer-based test offered at a Prometric testing facility.  ESEP candidates do not take a computer exam but are examined through a one-hour phone interview. 

INCOSE uses Prometric as our testing provider, and scheduling exam opportunities is done through their website or phone number.  The test is offered year-round.  The computer test has 120 multiple-choice questions based on the INCOSE Systems Engineering Handbook.