Why should I join NAFE?
The biggest benefit is close association with a highly accomplished group of serious professionals who are willing to share the benefit of their experience with others. Whether you hope to work as a forensic engineer in the future or have testified in 100 trials, we all learn from one another.
Technical and Educational Seminars
NAFE seminars are planned to maximize your opportunities for learning and cross-pollination among technical disciplines, both in the seminar presentations and during breaks and meals. We have two days of seminars in January and two days in July each year at different locations around the United States.
Each seminar day comes with seven to eight professional development credit hours, in support of your state licensing requirements. NAFE seminars provide the opportunity to earn 30 PDHs each year, including a segment on ethics each January. Breakfast and lunch are included with the seminars, providing unique opportunities to network, share experiences, and get to know other members personally. Over time, the natural development of collaborations and friendships is inevitable.
NAFE Email Discussion Group
Topics of interest to forensic engineers are discussed, including a wide range of technical issues, practice tips, questions and answers regarding actual investigations and requests for information or expertise. This member benefit is especially valuable when you encounter an obstacle in your work, and need some advice or assistance.
Participation in the NAFE email discussion group is open to Associate Members, Members, Senior Members and Fellows. Affiliates may apply to participate after four years of NAFE membership.
The NAFE Journal
The Journal of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers has been published since 1984, and it features papers from across the forensic engineering spectrum. You can submit technical papers for presentation at NAFE seminars and (if accepted) publication in the NAFE Journal. NAFE Journal papers are peer -reviewed and can be a great way to publish the methodologies used in your unique forensic cases. Individual papers are available for purchase & download online, and the NAFE Journal is distributed to members as a benefit. It is among the most well-respected and sought out forensic engineering journals currently in circulation.
Members-only online services
Membership includes access to the secure "members-only" area of nafe.org. Members can edit their own profile and search for other member profiles in the online Member Directory. The NAFE Document Library is available to members online.
Who is Board Certified?
Members, Senior Members and Fellows of NAFE are Board Certified by the CESB as Diplomates in forensic engineering. Associate Members and Affiliates are not board certified.
To maintain board certification, 100 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) must be maintained during each five-year period.
Take advantage of NAFE seminars to earn up to 30 CPD hours each year. NAFE is a recognized provider of continuing education "Professional Development Hours" (PDHs) for compliance with State PE requirements. Ethics education is included at each January meeting.
Where can I find guidance on forensic engineering business practices?
Membership includes access to the NAFE Document Library, containing a range of NAFE publications on business practices, insurance, ethical conduct, model contracts and agreements, and forensic engineering practice. Topics on business issues are not included in NAFE Forensic Engineering Seminars for CPD (PDH) hours. However, discussion of business-related topics often occurs among members informally.
If I join NAFE, will it bring more forensic engineering assignments?
No and yes. Joining NAFE will not make your phone ring. Participating in NAFE will make you a more professional, successful, and connected forensic engineer. Over time, your skills will mature and your forensic engineering practice will benefit. Participation in NAFE seminars and personal connections with other members will expand your network of experts from whom you can learn and call on when you need help. While NAFE is not a referral agency, members sometimes refer potential assignments to one another informally (and through inquiries on the NAFE email list server).
What is the Mentorship Program?
While an Affiliate or an Associate Member, you (as a future testifying expert) are positioned to grow into the Member, Senior Member and Fellow grades as your career progresses. You are eligible to apply for the NAFE Mentorship Program, in which we match mentors and mentees according to technical discipline and geography, if possible.
Many Members, Senior Members and Fellows have volunteered to mentor an engineer on the way up. After an initial introduction, mentoring occurs directly between the mentor and mentee, as they both work out their informal relationship.
I am a high school student. How should I go about preparing in high school and college for a career in Forensic Engineering?
You should take lots of advanced science and math classes in high school. Also very important are classes which improve your writing and public speaking/presentation skills, since forensic engineers frequently prepare written reports and testify in court and at public hearings. If there are mock court/trial or debate programs offered as extra-curricular programs, I encourage you to participate in those programs as well, since familiarity with the legal system and procedure is very important for Forensic Engineers.
As for college, you should select a college program that is accredited by ABET, Inc. In college, in addition to the core engineering, science and math courses to fulfill the requirements for your degree, it is important to take elective classes that provide you with opportunities to make oral and written presentations (Speech, English, Theatre, etc.).
What can I expect to do as a Forensic Engineer?
Forensic engineers generally are seasoned and experienced professional engineers licensed under state law who have worked in private practice, industry, construction, education or in other settings who have developed expertise in one or more technical areas (e.g., civil, mechanical, electrical, chemical engineering, etc.). They are often retained by attorneys, public agencies, business entities and others to analyze the causes of accidents, failures (e.g., product failures, structural failures) perform accident reconstruction, evaluations, prepare reports and studies and are called upon by their clients to serve as expert witnesses and testify during the litigation process, arbitration or other dispute resolution procedures.