Frequently asked questions

We get a lot of questions about RPEng, RPEQ, international recognition, RPEng vs CPEng and many more. Using the drop-downs below, we’ve tried to provide answers to these commonly asked questions. 

That being said, if you can’t see your question here and haven’t found your answer elsewhere on our website, please don’t hesitate to contact the team on 1300 273 762 or at RPEng@professionalsaustralia.org.au.

Much like in Australia, the registration of engineers around the world is a complex patchwork comprising of hundreds of different organisations, legislations, regulations and programs.

Importantly, there is no single global register for degree-qualified, registered professional engineers. Accordingly, ‘international recognition’ is not realistically achievable, for any organisation.

If working overseas is important to you, the first question is:

“Which country or region do you anticipate working in?”

Where you wish to work will determine what requirements you must meet to practice as an engineer, and whether or not Australia, and any of its engineering bodies, has a mutual recognition agreement in place.

In most cases, where an agreement exists, it is often not directly transferable – in most cases, professional engineers working overseas will need to undertake additional assessment and examination to be deemed competent to practice.

It is also important to note that a large majority of international engineer registers are voluntary, and are not backed by legislation, meaning there is no requirement for engineers to be a member of any organisation or hold a particular status to practice.

If it is a matter of achieving recognition of your qualification, a number of countries accept the equivalence of Australian qualifications through an international agreement, the Washington Accord:

  • Canada
  • China
  • Chinese Taipei
  • Hong Kong China
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Russia
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

The second question to ask is:

“What are the legal requirements to practice as an engineer in that region/country/state, and if not, does your potential employer require you to demonstrate professional competence?”

Professionals Australia has a comprehensive understanding of the international engineering framework, and with the above information in-hand, will be well-placed to assist you with advice on international recognition.

Lastly, if you are a Registered Professional Engineer (RPEng) with Professionals Australia, you can also nominate to be RPEQ. This means you have been accredited under a system developed by a government, which provides an excellent opportunity to prove your standing with other governments around the globe.

Yes, that’s how you stand apart from non-Professional Engineers. Once you have achieved RPEng, you simply add RPEng and the abbreviation of your discipline in brackets afterwards. Such as:

RPEng (Civ)

RPEng (Elec)

The full list is detailed in the By-Laws.

Registered Professional Engineer (RPEng) is our registration scheme, the rules and processes for which we also use to conduct assessments for Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland (RPEQ) eligibility. If you also apply for Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland (RPEQ) assessment by ticking the box on the Registered Professional Engineer (RPEng) application form, and are successful in achieving Registered Professional Engineer (RPEng), then on completion of the Board of Professional Engineers of Queensland (BPEQ) requirements, you are eligible to be an Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland (RPEQ).

To ensure and maintain the quality of our scheme, we do require you to provide substantial documentation, which includes certified copies of relevant academic documents, a complete CPD log and a CV with verifiable professional references. All of these will be checked by an assessor.

The Assessment Committee then considers recommendations for accreditation and issues a testamur. The By-Laws for our Registered Professional Engineer of Professionals Australia (RPEng) scheme mandates that all applications for registration must be responded to within four weeks and that all applications are assessed within eight weeks of receipt unless varied by notifying the applicant in relation to barriers to the processing of the application. In practice the process is usually completed well within that time frame.

To be registered and maintain Registered Professional Engineer of Professionals Australia (RPEng) status, every three years you have to provide proof of completion of 150 hours of CPD relevant to the discipline that you are registered in.

We require engineers to submit a record of completion of 150 hours of continuing professional development relevant to the discipline that you are registered in when you renew your registration.

We want to be able to assure industry that people who hold Registered Professional Engineer of Professionals Australia (RPEng) status are at the leading edge of practice.

When you renew every three years. At this stage three-yearly renewal fee is set at $100.

We run the scheme purely on a cost recovery basis for the benefit of members, if we can charge a lower fee, we will.

Yes. We have assessors for each discipline we provide accreditation in. They must have had at least 15 years of experience as a professional engineer in the discipline they are assessing in and must have either Registered Professional Engineer of Professionals Australia (RPEng) status, or hold another professional engineering accreditation.

The two schemes are run by different Engineer Organisations. Engineers Australia runs CPEng, and Professionals Australia runs Registered Professional Engineer of Professionals Australia (RPEng). Both are quality schemes. Registered Professional Engineer of Professionals Australia (RPEng) is for professional, degree-qualified engineers only. As an organisation we support the registration of engineers. We worked with Engineers Australia and Consult Australia on the establishment of the National Engineers Registration Board. Professionals Australia believes there should be a statutory framework to support registration which is obtainable and fairly priced for working professional engineers, supporting their careers while protecting the public.

Like Engineers Australia, Professionals Australia is an accredited assessment entity for the only statutory mandatory professional engineering registration scheme in Australia – Registered Professional Engineers of Queensland (RPEQ). This means you can be assured that Registered Professional Engineer of Professionals Australia (RPEng) is of high quality and meets statutory registration criteria in Queensland.

The NPER (National Professional Engineer Register) is no longer operational. It was a product of the National Engineer Registration Board, which was a sub-committee of Engineers Australia. The NERB is no longer supported by Engineers Australia. Professionals Australia are working with other bodies to ensure that there is a national, truly independent system for the registration of engineers.

Importantly, all RPEng are published on the Roll of Registered Professional Engineer of Professionals Australia (RPEng) to ensure that you can publicly demonstrate your achievement.

We found over time that increasingly our members complained about the cost of the Engineers Australia CPEng scheme, we listened to the interests of our members and responded to their demands to have competition in the market, much as the Board of Professional Engineers of Queensland allows competition between assessment entities.

To achieve Registered Professional Engineer of Professionals Australia (RPEng) status, you should have a domestic Bachelor Degree, historical equivalent or additional education and training. A qualification gained elsewhere recognised under “the Washington Accord” for recognition as a professional engineer is also acceptable. For qualifications from countries who are not signatories this accord, we do not provide Registered Professional Engineer of Professionals Australia (RPEng) accreditation.

Still have questions?

Our team can assist on 1300 723 762 or at RPEng@professionalsaustralia.org.au.

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