Fuel Cell Technology Workers
Education and Training Requirements
If you plan to work in technical positions in the fuel cell technology industry, you should take mathematics, chemistry, physics, computer science, and shop classes. English and speech classes will be useful for any type of worker, since they are the keys to developing strong communication skills.
Fuel cell engineers typically have bachelor’s degrees in chemical, electrical, industrial, materials, or mechanical engineering, along with extensive course work in fuel cell technology. Those in managerial, research, and college-level teaching positions usually have master’s degrees or doctorates.Some colleges—including Hocking College, Kettering University, Rensselaer Polytechnic University, Stark State College, Texas State Technical College-Waco, and Wayne State University—offer degrees or specializations in fuel cell technology.
Fuel cell technicians have associate’s degrees in engineering technology and general science. A few schools offer fuel cell technician training programs.
Other Education or Training
The Association of Energy Engineers, Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Energy Association, and SAE International offer conferences, symposia, online and in-person courses, webinars, seminars, and other continuing education opportunities. Contact these organizations for more information.
Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements
Certification or Licensing
Many technicians choose to become certified by the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies. To become certified, a technician must have a specific amount of job-related experience and pass a multiple-choice examination. The Society of Manufacturing Engineers offers certification to manufacturing engineers.
Engineers who work on projects that affect the property, health, or life of the public typically pursue licensure. There are two levels of licensing for engineers. Professional Engineers (PEs) have graduated from an accredited engineering curriculum, have four years of engineering experience, and have passed a written exam. Engineering graduates need not wait until they have four years experience, however, to start the licensure process. Those who pass the Fundamentals of Engineering examination after graduating are called Engineers in Training (EITs) or Engineer Interns (EIs). The EIT certification usually is valid for 10 years. After acquiring suitable work experience, EITs can take the second examination, the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam, to gain full PE licensure. For more information on licensing and examination requirements, contact the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (http://ncees.org).
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Aspiring fuel cell technology workers should participate in at least one fuel-cell related technology internship during college to gain valuable experience and make industry contacts, which could lead to a job offer after graduation.
Successful engineers and technicians enjoy solving problems, developing logical plans, and designing things. They should have a strong interest and ability in science and mathematics. Engineers and technicians often work on projects in teams, so prospective fuel cell workers should be able to work well, both alone and with others, and have excellent communication skills.