You will find that as an environmental engineer, knowing people in your field will help. Whether you’re a student studying for your engineering degree or a graduate looking for a job, networking can come in useful when you least expect it to.
You can gain easy access to a huge worldwide network of nearly 60,000 members across 132 countries by joining ASHRAE, an organization that brings together professionals in HVAC, building systems designs and industrial processes.
ASHRAE is a body that sets the standards for the HVAC industry. These standards are set in par with building codes etc. Joining the organization does open up a world of information and technical resources for an environmental engineer who is involved in studies on heating, cooling, ventilation and refrigeration units.
Benefits of Joining ASHRAE
One of the reasons networking is useful for a student is that it can help you land an internship, a job or at least advice from the professionals you network with. If you join ASHRAE as an environmental engineer, you may or may not be at the right place or the right time to find a job right after you graduate.
But you will definitely make connections that may turn out to be invaluable in your career. Of course, not all ASHRAE chapters are as active as the best. If you find an active chapter to join near your location, you can enjoy the following benefits:
- Student activities on the Young Engineers program, including technical weekends, leadership programs, training, workshops and more.
- Mentorship programs that match you, as a student, with a professional member of your chapter. Through this program, you get to connect with people who can share their knowledge and experience with you.
- Access to competitions such as design competitions, scholarship programs, grants, awards and a lot more.
- Access to conferences around the world.
- E-learning and resources through the ASHRAE Journal, publications, online handbook, free energy guidance etc. For example, ASHRAE offers free resources like the Advanced Energy Design Guides to help contractors and designers save energy by 30 percent in their projects.
In general, if you are interested in HVAC systems, joining ASHRAE can be worth the effort. In fact, the process for joining the organization is easy. You can join online or by downloading and mailing an application form. There are various member grades that are available to joiners.
ASHRAE Member Grades
The Developing Economy Program is meant for residents who live in countries that the World Bank considers “low income” or “lower middle income”.
The Student members grade is designed for engineering students who are considering a career in HVAC and Refrigeration. Student Membership costs are as low as $20 a year. In order to join, you must be interested in the HVAC&R industry or a related field.
When you pass out as a student, you have the option of converting your membership to an Associate Grade membership. The Associate Grade is for engineers who have been in the field for some time, and want to develop skills and network.
Affiliate membership is a 3-year membership for military men and women, or for engineers who are below 30 years of age but didn’t join the student membership grade.
When you’ve been in the industry for at least 12 years, you can become a full member of ASHRAE.