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pandaCat

Should I get Pr.Eng (ECSA) to help with P.Eng?

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pandaCat

I see that getting a job in your chosen field is not trivial at all, so I would like to give it my best shot. 

I have been employed as a engineer in South Africa but have never applied for a Pr.Eng with ECSA.

I gather from reading this forum and other websites that in Canada its all about specialisation and a P.Eng will be required to practice. 

My question is would it help to register as a Pr.Eng with ECSA to later get registered as a P.Eng in Cananda?

 

A few side questions:

Which province is the easiest to get a P.Eng (e.g. is Alberta easier than Ontario)?

Is it possible to even get a engineering job without a P.Eng?

Is it easier to change careers (e.g. switch to Data Science field)?

Any resources that you can recommend on this topic?

 

Thanks a lot.

Edited by pandaCat

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TJG

Hi @pandaCat,

 I recently moved to and work as a structural engineer, in Ontario, and have some first hand experience in all that you have asked above. 

Both Alberta and Ontario have mild differences in their registration processes, but at their core they're pretty much the same. There are stringent requirements that internationally educated engineers have to meet for PEng registration.   

I am a registered PrEng with ECSA, and to be honest, it hasn't helped me in any way with my registration with the PEO (Ontario), I have had to go through the entire process just like any other internationally educated engineer.

It is possible to get job, as a graduate engineer/engineering intern without being a registered PEng, but I would advise that you to, at least register as an EIT (Engineering Intern) with either APEGA or the PEO. The work you do, will be under the supervision of a PEng. 

Have a read through this pamphlet, it contains all the requirements for newcomer engineer registration with the PEO: http://www.peo.on.ca/index.php/ci_id/22546/la_id/1.htm

The job market is really tough for newcomer engineers. Doing your Masters here in Canada helps, taking a junior position to gain experience, while you obtain your PEng also helps.  

Best of luck mate.

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pandaCat

Thanks @TJG, I genuinely appreciate your post.

The pamphlet you linked is really useful. Also good to know about the Pr.Eng, at this point I don't want to put resources towards something that is not going to be helpful to me in Canada.

It is a hard pill to swallow to go back to being an intern level engineer, but sounds like that may be my best option. From the pamphlet it seems like you need at least 12 months of experience under a Canadian Professional Engineer. I guess it is the end goal is what matters.

All the best on your side, you have helped me a lot.

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Nettie
15 hours ago, TJG said:

The job market is really tough for newcomer engineers. Doing your Masters here in Canada helps, taking a junior position to gain experience, while you obtain your PEng also helps.  

 

Excellent advice. I know a few engineers and some did go back to University to get a Canadian education. Our experience also was that most engineers have masters degrees. 

 

23 hours ago, pandaCat said:

Is it easier to change careers (e.g. switch to Data Science field)?

 

Canada is one of the most educated countries and prides itself in sourcing the best of the best in their immigrant pool. The job market is tough. If you want to change your specialty, you may lack experience, unless you can adjust your resume to reflect this.

First thing you need to decide is what your specialty field is. Get ready to answer this question. This is why most engineers have masters degrees, because they specialize.

If you need to intern (again), see it as the first step in your new career in Canada. It's not really a step back, it's just going through the red tape that they have set in place to make sure that qualifications and experience lines up to the Canadian standard.

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pandaCat
12 minutes ago, Nettie said:

 First thing you need to decide is what your specialty field is. Get ready to answer this question. This is why most engineers have masters degrees, because they specialize.

Thanks for the advice @Nettie, i think this point is important. In my case i have done a doctorate, but still in South Africa I am in some sense a generalist. Going the data science route seemed like potentially bypassing the P.Eng bureaucracy (which seems substantial). I also thought about going the academic route for a few years (post doc) but that seems like a serious pay cut. Currently the job aspect seems like the biggest mountain. 

The pamphlet linked from @TJG's post is some of the most clear info on obtaining a P.Eng, thanks again for that.

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TJG

My undergrad degree is in Civil Engineering, which is broad as there are many sub disciplines which fall under it. The company I worked for back in S.A, required me to service as a design engineer for civil works, water purification and distribution, structural design, project management and quality control. I would say my duties were a fair 20% split across all these areas. But upon arriving in Canada, I was only able to secure a job that requires 100% structural engineering design.

So, my message is, don't be afraid to be a generalist when you arrive, just be prepared to highlight specific skills you have, based on the positions you wish apply for. The job you get may be the deciding factor in what you specialize in eventually. 

  

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Jules

Just a gut feel on my side, but it seems like the engineering field is one of the tougher nuts to crack for newcomers to Canada. But if you do get knocked down, remind yourself that a setback isn’t permanent. You have to play the long game and understand that long-term the rewards outweigh the sacrifice. 

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Nettie
On 9/22/2018 at 12:57 AM, pandaCat said:

........ In my case i have done a doctorate, but still in South Africa I am in some sense a generalist. Going the data science route seemed like potentially bypassing the P.Eng bureaucracy (which seems substantial). I also thought about going the academic route for a few years (post doc).............

What did you do your PhD in?

If you are thinking about academics, consider countries like Tasmania, Australia and New Zealand. Their qualifications match up better with SA. There won't be so many hoops to jump through.

Good luck!

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pandaCat
1 hour ago, Nettie said:

What did you do your PhD in?

If you are thinking about academics, consider countries like Tasmania, Australia and New Zealand. Their qualifications match up better with SA. There won't be so many hoops to jump through.

Good luck!

Chemical engineering. I will look into that. Canada has felt more appealing to me but I guess those feelings aren't based on anything concrete. 

After the discussions in this thread I at least feel more mentally prepared to work as an engineer in training and become familiar with Canadian systems and standards, with the aim that in the long run it will be worth it. 

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pretor
On 10/4/2018 at 11:11 AM, pandaCat said:

Chemical engineering. I will look into that. Canada has felt more appealing to me but I guess those feelings aren't based on anything concrete. 

After the discussions in this thread I at least feel more mentally prepared to work as an engineer in training and become familiar with Canadian systems and standards, with the aim that in the long run it will be worth it. 

The first thing to do is to familiarize yourself with the requirements of the engineering regulating bodies in the provinces.  In Canada, the professions are regulated at provincial and not federal level.  Here are a few links:

https://www.egbc.ca/

https://www.apega.ca/

https://www.apegs.ca/Portal/Pages/Home-Page

http://www.apegm.mb.ca/

http://www.peo.on.ca/

This may be an interesting read: https://www.utpjournals.press/doi/full/10.3138/cpp.2014-022

 

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JanSalJanNat

We landed in May.  I have a Chemical Engineering degree, worked as a Process Engineer for 8 years before we came.  I went for a few interviews and most of the companies said they have enough Process Engineers, they are looking for an engineer to work in the Project Management field.  I was lucky though, the company I worked for in SA had a position open for a Project Manager and they offered me the job.  The job was not set in stone therefore I applied for other jobs aswell and to be honest it was difficult.  Up to this day, no one has responded to my applications. 

I didn't register as PR Eng in SA because when I contacted PEO they informed me of the 1 year supervised work under a Canadian PR Eng and then the test.  I am not in Quebec, I have everything I need to register except for French.  I contacted them and asked if there's any other way to register as PR without having French and they said I can register as a EIT but this also won't work for me because I am working as a Project Manager now and not Process Engineer so I will not meet the requirements for PR.  I am not learning French 😂

What I realised is that you have to be open to work as anything until you are settled.  The aim is to get Canadian work experience and earn atleast some money while doing it.

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TJG

Thanks for sharing @JanSalJanNat     

I've just passed the 9 month mark in my job, and its been pretty challenging. I do agree with your sentiments,  I to, am just happy to be able to earn an income while I gain Canadian experience. 

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Tey

Hi there 

Any feedback on your experience from start to currently. I am also an engineer and currently in the process to move across. 

Any advise will help. 

 

Thanks

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OHCANADAAA

Hi everyone, I'm yet another engineer that's planning to move to Canada in the next few months (Mechanical).

While I do find the prospect of working as an engineer in Canada a tad intimidating due to how specialized their positions are and how much emphasis is placed on PEO registration, I'm a bit confused as to the actual restrictions imposed beyond not being able to call yourself an engineer. If I was to work as a 'Mechanical Designer' or some other workaround title and I'm not signing off on public works items, how restricted would my position really be?

My experience in SA has been that ECSA is beyond useless and that a SA Pr.Eng does not offer much more than a few letters you can add onto your email signature.

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OutOfSa

@OHCANADAAA

It seems you have been ignored !  This is totally un-Canadian !  Sorry......I will ignore you no-longer.  I did type a reply, but then I deleted it as I am somewhat different now days. 

I work in the mechanical / engineering / electronic industry.  You are right, you cannot (are not supposed) to call yourself and "Engineer" if you are no P.Eng.  

Your limitations are mainly that you cannot sign off designs & probably can't get stuff-fall-down-everyone dies - insurance.   (The stuff lawyers LOVE !)

There was a case in Alberta where the multi-story car-park collapsed because the P.Eng. engineer(s) forgot to take into account the weight of the cars !  Well, that's what they told me here.  

 

Fortunately there is a dire shortage of smart people here right now.  Many companies will word their adverts - "Engineer" or "Equivalent experience" .  They know that there are many very skilled people who have not become P.Engs. 

Your initial problem is to get "Canadian Experience" - I used to think it was a crock - of -doodie  However, having been here for a while, I see it has some merit.  It's more about newcomers (I believe that's the politically correct term - you didn't melt did you ?! :D) having a chance to acclimatise.  I have seen finance people, some doctors in admin and fancy pants' just drop into a fancy job, but this is the exception not the norm.  Most of us have to start at the bottom - Your first problem is they don't generally use metric here - it's all feet and inches - 10-32, 1/4 24 Bolts etc.... Mind you, that might become offensive - feet, and inches - because they are just not inclusive .  Also, Tucker Carson (Fox news) said that the metric system is senseless and "evil" if I remember correctly, ha, ha - that's why he's in news/politics and not engineering ! 

That said,  the abundance of Snowflakes and Darwin Award candidates  make it easier for smart skilled non-snowflake (mentally strong & hard working) people to ascend the ranks quite quickly.  

Despite my caustic nature, I have risen quite rapidly from the bog like a cloud of recently fracked methane and H2S.  I have finally burst out into the world where I can stink in peace.  If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with BS.  

If were me, I'd get here, get some experience here, and then decide which way to go - others may disagree - they are all wrong and offend me, I'm going to need a "mental health day now".  Where's HR?

They have a saying here, how do you melt a snowflake - ha, ha, no, that's not it - it's "How do you eat an elephant" - one bite at a time and also "Slow and steady".   

We design a ton of stuff on CAD - (I think "CAD" is inclusive), once we're happy, it goes to our local P.Eng. (Separate company), get's "the stamp" - and we all live happily ever after. 

In answer to one of your questions, it generally does not matter if a non registered engineer does the design as long as a registered one stamps it, and they will if it's not going to end in Jail time.  

 

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Tey

@OutOfSa

 

Thank you so very much for your feedback.  Is there any provinces where you would recommend that an engineer starts out?  I am currently leaning towards Ontario - Toronto in particular.

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OHCANADAAA
On 11/19/2019 at 3:00 PM, OutOfSa said:

@OHCANADAAA

It seems you have been ignored !  This is totally un-Canadian !  Sorry......I will ignore you no-longer.  I did type a reply, but then I deleted it as I am somewhat different now days. 

I work in the mechanical / engineering / electronic industry.  You are right, you cannot (are not supposed) to call yourself and "Engineer" if you are no P.Eng.  

Your limitations are mainly that you cannot sign off designs & probably can't get stuff-fall-down-everyone dies - insurance.   (The stuff lawyers LOVE !)

There was a case in Alberta where the multi-story car-park collapsed because the P.Eng. engineer(s) forgot to take into account the weight of the cars !  Well, that's what they told me here.  

 

Fortunately there is a dire shortage of smart people here right now.  Many companies will word their adverts - "Engineer" or "Equivalent experience" .  They know that there are many very skilled people who have not become P.Engs. 

Your initial problem is to get "Canadian Experience" - I used to think it was a crock - of -doodie  However, having been here for a while, I see it has some merit.  It's more about newcomers (I believe that's the politically correct term - you didn't melt did you ?! :D) having a chance to acclimatise.  I have seen finance people, some doctors in admin and fancy pants' just drop into a fancy job, but this is the exception not the norm.  Most of us have to start at the bottom - Your first problem is they don't generally use metric here - it's all feet and inches - 10-32, 1/4 24 Bolts etc.... Mind you, that might become offensive - feet, and inches - because they are just not inclusive .  Also, Tucker Carson (Fox news) said that the metric system is senseless and "evil" if I remember correctly, ha, ha - that's why he's in news/politics and not engineering ! 

That said,  the abundance of Snowflakes and Darwin Award candidates  make it easier for smart skilled non-snowflake (mentally strong & hard working) people to ascend the ranks quite quickly.  

Despite my caustic nature, I have risen quite rapidly from the bog like a cloud of recently fracked methane and H2S.  I have finally burst out into the world where I can stink in peace.  If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with BS.  

If were me, I'd get here, get some experience here, and then decide which way to go - others may disagree - they are all wrong and offend me, I'm going to need a "mental health day now".  Where's HR?

They have a saying here, how do you melt a snowflake - ha, ha, no, that's not it - it's "How do you eat an elephant" - one bite at a time and also "Slow and steady".   

We design a ton of stuff on CAD - (I think "CAD" is inclusive), once we're happy, it goes to our local P.Eng. (Separate company), get's "the stamp" - and we all live happily ever after. 

In answer to one of your questions, it generally does not matter if a non registered engineer does the design as long as a registered one stamps it, and they will if it's not going to end in Jail time.  

 

Thank you for the  great reply @OutOfSa!

What you've written really does give me hope, I was worried that working in Canada would mean jumping through endless loops just to do a job that I'm already quite capable of doing. I'm not too concerned about titles as long as I get to do what I love and make enough to survive. If that means working hard and doing what it takes to get the job done, then I'm a happy camper.

I think I'll get some of that Canadian experience to get started and take it from there. I'm not opposed to putting in the effort to get a P.Eng but if I don't need it to get started, I'd rather not divert energy from other efforts.

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OutOfSa
On 11/21/2019 at 12:40 AM, Tey said:

@OutOfSa

 

Thank you so very much for your feedback.  Is there any provinces where you would recommend that an engineer starts out?  I am currently leaning towards Ontario - Toronto in particular.

Ontario is a good choice, for the simple reason that (in my opinion) there are WAY more companies - so more jobs to be had.

Trudeau has continued to damage Alberta, so the job scene there is apparently bad. I don’t know about the other prairie provinces.  East is interesting but probably limited - slim pickings. Quebec is French so it’s probably tough to convince them. I don’t know about BC - they say cost of living there is an issue.

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