What Is a Certified Reliability Engineer (CRE)?

Certified reliability engineers help develop and ensure the quality of products, services, and systems. You'll find useful information about the CRE career, educational requirements, and certification process below. Schools offering Machining & Manufacturing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Defined

A certified reliability engineer completes education and certification requirements to evaluate and improve the safety and dependability of products and systems, as well as oversee product reliability management programs. Similar to quality control professionals, you'll plan and operate testing procedures, analyze the integrity of systems or products, and investigate field failures. You'd make use of computer technology to develop information systems that assist with both failure analysis and performance improvement. Unlike quality control engineers, you're usually involved with the entire scope of a product's life cycle, from conception to final adjustments. You might also be involved in assessing consumer demand, engineering products within a certain budget, and leading a team of engineers.

Important Facts About Certified Reliability Engineers

Work EnvironmentOffices, manufacturing/production facilities, research and development laboratories, government facilities
Similar OccupationsMechanical engineer, electrical engineer, aerospace engineer, industrial engineer
Key SkillsTroubleshoot mechanical issues, ensure system standards and specifications are met, train personnel on equipment maintenance, create and maintain system drawings, and develop/execute plans to maximize system reliability
Additional Professional CertificationCertified Reliability Professional Program through ReliaSoft Corporation

Educational Requirements

The educational path to becoming a certified reliability engineer is similar to that of any other engineer. You'll need to learn to apply the principles of math and science to the development of products and systems. As an aspiring CRE, you might consider majoring in mechanical or electrical engineering disciplines. Earning an undergraduate degree in a related field, like physics, statistics, or math, could prepare you for graduate-level study as well as some entry-level positions in the field.

Though it's not expressly required for certification, graduate degrees in reliability engineering are offered by several colleges and universities. Many schools also offer continuing education courses specifically aimed at preparing you for the certification exam required to become a CRE.

Certification

After graduating from an engineering program, you can earn certification to become a certified reliability engineer through the American Society for Quality (ASQ, www.asq.org). You'll need to have extensive professional experience in reliability engineering; however, earning a diploma or degree can reduce the amount of on-the-job experience required. The certification test consists of a written exam that focuses on strategic management, reliability program management, product safety and liability, data collection, reliability testing, and evaluation. The ASQ requires you to renew your certification every three years.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) reported that all architecture and engineering jobs were expected to increase by about seven percent between 2016 and 2026. Competition in business and industrial sectors could benefit reliability engineers, who develop improvements to offer an edge over similar products and services. Payscale.com reported that entry-level reliability engineers with less than one year in the field earned a median salary of $69,124 as of April 2019, while experienced engineers made a median of $103,259 per year.

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