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In the UK, Chartered and Incorporated Professional Status is awarded by an accredited institution licenced by a national body (some examples licenced by the Engineering Council). Student Membership, Associate Membership, Membership and Fellowship are available.

When people append their Professional Status to their CV or to business cards, e-mails etc. it seems usual to only see one of these Institutions mentioned. Stephen Hawking listed two (FRS, FRSA), but he was Stephen Hawking.

The background to the question : I had investigated membership of the Institution that accredited my degree, obtained a few decades ago, but had not done anything further about joining. Through my employment and a merger of a University working group with another Institution, I seem to have accidentally ended up with associate membership of that other Institution.

Would it be considered "bad form" to become a member of several? Might it also depend on the level of membership and on whether you were Chartered or Incorporated (or equivalent) by each?

  • a FRS is not the same as being a member of the IEEE :-) – Neuromancer Sep 11 '18 at 12:02
  • some people collect memberships and in the right positions can make lots of money out of it. – Kilisi Sep 11 '18 at 12:04
  • @Neuromancer - True, that. I'd guess you'd pick the big names if you were worried about having more letters after your name than in it. But is anything stopping you from being both? – ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere Sep 11 '18 at 12:34
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    I think that is a question you should ask the respective institution, when you think about joining them. – Daniel Sep 11 '18 at 13:56
  • @ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere Having more letters after your name than in it is easier for some than others (MA CEng MIET, Yes an MA in Engineering!) – uɐɪ Sep 11 '18 at 14:35
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It should not be a problem. I am personally a member of ISC^2 , ISACA, and the IIA, professional organizations involved in the furtherance of the interests of the information security and internal audit professions. My personal opinion is that being actively involved in professional organizations relating to your profession has many benefits such as increased networking opportunities, and enhanced continuing education. Membership in multiple is in no way "bad taste", but quite the opposite.

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Would it be considered "bad form" to become a member of several?

No, it's not bad form to become a member of several. Many people do it. Many senior industry figures are members of several. Being a member of more than one shows a breadth to your knowledge/interests, and also gives you a larger network. And being at the top of a reasonably sized company means being able to network.

Might it also depend on the level of membership and on whether you were Chartered or Incorporated (or equivalent) by each?

From a UK engineering perspective specifically, you're mixing up two things. Chartered / Incorporated is your registration with the Engineering Council, through an accredited institution. Graduate / Associate / Member / Fellow are the level within an institution.

For example, I got chartered through the ICE and that makes me CEng MICE: Chartered Engineer and Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers. There are many people who are for example CEng MIStructE MICE, i.e. they are also Members of the Institution of Structural Engineers. What's key here is the order: whatever comes directly after the CEng is the body you got chartered with, so in this example they got chartered with the IStructE, but have also applied to the ICE for membership.

There's not much point paying your chartership registration twice. My annual subscription to the ICE has two parts: part is kept by the ICE and part is sent on to the Engineering Council. If you become a member of a second institution, you only want to pay the part for that institution, and not pay the Engineering Council twice. I'm not sure if it's even possible.

In general most people who have multiple memberships seem to be at a similar level across them all. If you get Fellow in one institution, you're probably eligible for it in the others too.

  • not intentionally mixing them up (apologies if it came across that way - maybe I should have led with membership and worked status in later). Just mentioning both. If there are MIStructE MICE out there, that demonstrates pretty definitively that it's possible and - by the sound of it - not particularly unusual. Thanks for the comprehensive answer. – ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere Sep 13 '18 at 7:32

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