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Demystifying the SEP Certification Levels


Whether you are practicing systems engineering and have years of experience or you are just starting out in your career, you will benefit from having your knowledge, skills and experience recognized by INCOSE. Getting recognized by INCOSE as the leading professional body within systems engineering will be a valuable addition to your professional portfolio. INCOSE offers three certification levels: ASEP, CSEP, and ESEP, discovering which certification level is right for you can aid the process of mapping out your certification journey. So which certification level is right for you? This is a guide to help you answer that question!

If you have just started practicing (or want to start practicing) systems engineering, then the Associate Systems Engineering Professional, or ASEP certification, is for you. The most junior level of the three, it is for people at the beginning of their SE practice. The ASEP has the SE “book knowledge” but not yet significant professional experience in SE. This level of certification is demonstrated by passing the INCOSE knowledge exam and filling out a very short application form (takes less than 1 minute to complete). It is a great starting point for anyone who wants to ensure that they have the knowledge required to practice SE, regardless of whether your degree is in engineering or other disciplines.

Do you think you have demonstrated 5 years or more ofsystems engineering experience? If so, you ought to consider applying forCertified Systems Engineering Professional, or CSEP certification. In addition to the knowledge requirement of an ASEP, a CSEP should be capable of demonstrating skills required in conducting systems engineering through real-life application. This is evidenced by submission of an involved application form supported by references to validate the information in the application . 

CSEPs have the  insight to recognize the correct process to apply within the overall context of the SE diacipline. CSEPs serve various job profiles of an experienced, all-round engineer. 

Note that if you have a degree other than engineering, you are required to have 10 years or more of professional experience, including 5 years of SE. Click here to read the detailed education requirements for SEP certifications from INCOSE.

The most senior certification level INCOSE offers is the Expert Systems Engineering Professional, or ESEP. This recognizes systems engineering practititioners who have distinguished themselves by demonstrating not only substantial experience, but also technical leadership. Requiring a minimum of twenty years of systems engineering experience, the ESEP has broader and deeper experience in performing and leading systems engineering than the CSEP. In the work place, an ESEP would be the person others seek with specific, challenging, technical questions. Although it is not expected that he or she is an expert in all aspects of systems engineering, they are the expert in some SE process areas and can perform adequately in many more. 

You may decide that your career aspirations are well aligned with the skillset and experience of an ESEP, or equally, can find that maintaining as a CSEP contributor is right for you. In fact, INCOSE has stated that most CSEPS do not become ESEPs, and some may transition toward a non-technical, managerial role. Though some program managers qualify as ESEPs, this certification is more commonly a fit for those with the job title of chief systems engineer –  if this is your career aspiration, you are encouraged to broaden your experience and adopt more leadership roles in systems engineering projects. 

The INCOSE Certification is a formal process whereby a community of knowledgeable, experienced, and skilled representatives of INCOSE provides confirmation of an individual’s competency (demonstrated knowledge, education, and experience) in systems engineering. In your journey to become certified, we can help place you in the best position to pass the knowledge examination on the first attempt. Read more about our intensive, interactive, INCOSE knowledge exam preparation course here. The Certification Training International wish you all the best in acquiring your certification. 


“Certification Levels”, Incose.org. [Online]. Available: https://www.incose.org/systems-engineering-certification/Certification-Levels. [Accessed: 21- Feb- 2020].

“Which Is Right For Me”, Incose.org. [Online]. Available: https://www.incose.org/systems-engineering-certification/the-certification-process/CertWhichOne. [Accessed: 21- Feb- 2020].

“Certification Program Overview”, Incose.org. [Online]. Available: https://www.incose.org/systems-engineering-certification. [Accessed: 21- Feb- 2020].


Published By

MScEng, Course Facilitator and Managing Director
Published 4 years ago





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