Technical Qualifications
The Discipline Descriptions below are intended to:
  1. explain the basic scope of the experience needed for a design professional
  2. explain how a design professional can serve on an EMI team if they don't see their profession listed on our project needs website or emails.
Just click on your discipline from the list below to learn how you can be involved with EMI.

If you feel you do not yet have the experience needed to fulfill the volunteer need for your discipline, feel free to contact and inform the project leader. There are many trips where an experienced professional would be honored to help train you in the work necessary. You could go on a couple EMI trips to get training, and then you would be ready to serve as an experienced volunteer on EMI teams.

Once you know how you can serve using your talents, visit our Upcoming Projects List, find a project that fits, and contact the project leader listed.

Agricultural Engineer
Architect
Architectural Engineer
Civil Engineer
Chemical Engineer
Computer Engineer
Construction Manager
Drafter
Electrical Engineer
Environmental Engineer
Environmental Science Tech
Geologist
Geotechnical Engineer
Graphic Designer
HVAC Designer
Hydrogeologist
Interior Design
Landscape Architect
Mechanical Engineer
Planner, Urban Planner
Plumbing Designer
Solar Engineer
Structural Engineer
Struc. Eng. - Bridge Designer
Surveyor
Survey Assistant
Sustainable Bldg. Design
Transportation Engineer
Water Resources Engineer
Water/Wastewater Engineer

If you do not see your discipline, or a similar discipline, feel free to request it by emailing and suggest a description of how your discipline can serve on an EMI trip.


Agricultural Engineer
While Agricultural Engineers usually specialize in one or more of five major areas, when EMI requests the assistance of an Agricultural Engineer we are typically looking for someone with understanding of Natural Resource Engineering.

If your experience is in water distribution systems, on-lot sewage systems, or storm water systems then look to see if you could meet the need presented for Civil Engineers.

If you have more experience in the Buildings and Internal Environments area then you should consider fulfilling our Structural Engineer needs. If you see an interesting project where we will be surveying more than 10 acres of land, we may need an extra engineer as a Survey Assistant. Surveying in tropical climates is hard work, and we often need able-bodied people to help survey. If you are capable in Surveying then please inform the Project Leader of your experience too.


Architect
Many EMI projects will have a small team of Architects made up of one or more lead Architects and one or more junior Architects. For a lead Architect, the project leader is often looking to see if you have experience in master planning or basic floor plan design for one to two story buildings. You will need to provide an architectural program and schematic design for floor plans, elevations, and sections, but there won't be a need for much detailing. Click to see examples of EMI Project Report/Drawings. The master planning needs on a typical EMI trip consist of circulation of site and building layout. It is often necessary to master plan incorporating phases for long term planning. Skills in a drafting program (Autocad, Archicad, etc) or three dimensional computer modeling (Sketchup, Rhino, etc) are helpful but Not required - drafting by hand works well also.

If you have an Architectural degree then you can most likely travel as a junior Architect assuming there will be a Lead Architect on the team.

It would not be uncommon for an Architect to have 20-40 hours of additional design work after the trip for a basic EMI trip.

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Architectural Engineer
Where you can serve on an EMI trip will depend on your specialty in Architectural Engineering. Find your specialty from this list or the list at the top of the page:
Architect, Electrical Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Structural Engineer, Plumbing Designer etc.

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Civil Engineer

Water/Wastewater
You may want to consider helping with water supply and wastewater disposal designs. Those designs are fairly simple for most EMI projects, and there are some good design resources available and you could do the water/wastewater designs for about 95% of our EMI projects. The only projects you would need to avoid would be ones that require extensive treatment of the water supply or ones with a very large quantity of wastewater (a university campus, a very large hospital) making a wastewater treatment plant necessary. If you don't feel comfortable doing water/wastewater designs by yourself, you can go on an EMI trip where another EMI engineer can teach you how to do the designs. Our project leaders can help you to find a trip that is right for you.

Surveying
If you had any training and experience in surveying you may be able to fulfill our mapping needs on a small simple site (less than 5 acres).

Site Grading
If you have experience with land development you can apply your skills well on an EMI project especially on site grading and drainage around the buildings.

Soils
Some basic test conducted on an EMI trip include: an analysis of soil types, soil percolation tests, and penetrometer tests. These are helpful in the water/wastewater design in the foundation design of the buildings. By familiarizing yourself on these tests you will sufficiently assist the team for the level of design needed.

Structural
If you have structural experience visit Structural Engineer.

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Chemical Engineer
Chemical Engineers are rarely requested for EMI project trips. However, with your background in Chemical Engineering, you could do the water/wastewater designs for about 95% of our EMI projects. If you are interested in serving with us, check out the Water/Wastewater section under Civil Engineer.

If you see an interesting project where we will be surveying more than 10 acres of land, we may need an extra engineer as a Survey Assistant. Surveying in tropical climates is hard work, and we often need able-bodied people to help survey.

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Computer Engineer
While it is rare that EMI will recruit for a Computer Engineer, you can look for projects that may involve an internet café or school classroom where computers may be used. There is a potential for a Computer Engineer to assist on a project trip that is run by a field office, where the Computer Engineer can visit the office after the trip and assist with office network and computer problems. This can also be done when ministries have an existing computer networks.

Those considering full time work and are open to support raising, may want to visit our Available Job Descriptions where many of EMI offices could benefit from someone overseeing their network and computers.

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Construction Manager
There is a great need for Construction Managers to assist on a long term volunteer commitment. Our construction management volunteers serve overseas for times as short as one month and as long as two years. Housing and possibly a small stipend are sometimes, but not always provided. To find out more about these opportunities click here).

One option of traveling with EMI on a short term trip as a Construction Manager would be if the project has a bigger scope with renovation aspects involved. In that case, you should contact the project leader of the trip and ask if your skills would be of use on their project. We design buildings like churches and schools. Often we need people who can work with local contractors and laborers to make certain things are built according to our plans and also to see that money is spent appropriately.

In general, it is not common for there to be a request for Construction Managers on short term project trips. Mostly when Construction Managers are requested on short term project trips, the projects are designed for investigation trips for Construction Managers who are considering doing a long term commitment.

Construction managers are also sometimes utilized on short term design trips to ensure constructability of the design, prepare cost estimates and investigate local building materials and construction practices.

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Drafter
Most EMI project teams need a drafter, even if that position is not listed as one of the team "needs" on our website or e-mail updates. If you are familiar with AutoCAD and you can bring a laptop computer, you would be a valuable member of most EMI teams. If you see an interesting EMI project, please contact the project leader to ask if the team needs a drafter.

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Electrical Engineer & Power/Controls
Many of our projects involve the design of a church, school, or other facility in a remote location. We need electrical engineers to design simple power supply, circuit wiring layout, and distribution systems typically for one or two story buildings. In addition, we often need electrical engineers to prepare lighting and power plans for buildings where utility power is available at the project site.

If you feel you do not have the experience needed to fulfill the Electrical Engineer volunteer position, feel free to contact the project leader for electrical design resources. There are also many trips where an experienced professional would be honored to help train you in the work necessary. You could go on one or two EMI trips to get training; then you would be ready to serve as a lead Electrical Engineer on EMI teams.

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Environmental Engineer
The typical need for an Environmental Engineer on an EMI trip is for design of water/wastewater systems. This description is under the Civil Engineer category.

Also, if you have general Civil Engineering training you can check out the Civil Engineer description to see if there are other aspects of the design such as soils, surveying, and site grading in which you can assist.

If you would feel more comfortable becoming more informed before assisting on an EMI trip, you should consider reading Field Guide to Environmental Engineering: Water, Sanitation, and Indoor Air by James R. Mihelcic, Linda D. Phillips, Lauren M. Fry, Elizabeth M. Myre, and Brian D. Barkdoll. The book is directed toward designing for small communities in the developing world, particularly where little or no electricity is available.

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Environmental Science Technician
Environmental Science Technician are rarely requested for EMI project trips. However, with your background in Chemical Engineering, you could do the water/wastewater designs for about 95% of our EMI projects. If you are interested in serving with us, check out the Water/Wastewater section under Civil Engineer.

If you see an interesting project where we will be surveying more than 10 acres of land, we may need an extra engineer as a Survey Assistant. Surveying in tropical climates is hard work, and we often need able-bodied people to help survey.

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Geologist
If you have experience with ground water and soils, you are valuable on most of our design trips. Typically we generalize this need by requesting the help of Civil Engineers who will manage much of the water and wastewater needs and can look into the soil characteristics. However, a Geologist with experience could fit the need just as well. For more details, check out the Civil Engineer description.

If you see an interesting project where we will be surveying more than 10 acres of land, we may need an extra engineer as a Survey Assistant. Surveying in tropical climates is hard work, and we often need able-bodied people to help survey.

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Geotechnical Engineer
If you have experience with ground water and soils, you are valuable on most of our design trips. Typically we generalize this need by requesting the help of Civil Engineers who will manage much of the water and wastewater needs and can look into the soil characteristics. However, a Geotechnical Engineer with experience could fit the need just as well. For more details, check out the Civil Engineer description.

If you have experience with structures you may be able to help assess building systems. Check out Structural Engineer for more.

If you see an interesting project where we will be surveying more than 10 acres of land, we may need an extra engineer as a Survey Assistant. Surveying in tropical climates is hard work, and we often need able-bodied people to help survey.

Geotechnical Engineers usually work on EMI projects that involve special foundation or stability problems. For example, some sites present evidence of soil problems, such as existing buildings that are heavily cracked or out-of-level. Steep sites may have slope stability issues. Any projects that involve rivers may include bridge crossings or erosion. Seismicity must be addressed in many places where EMI works, such as Central America, the Caribbean, India, and East Africa, among others.

EMI disaster response teams work in earthquake and hurricane-prone regions where slope stability, structural issues, tsunamis, river migration, and flooding normally have strong geotechnical components. The Geotechnical Engineer is likely to be called upon to recommend safe locations for new buildings and to assess the safety of damaged buildings. These projects are extremely interesting and provide an opportunity for you to apply your skills in demanding physical and emotional settings.

Many Geotechnical Engineers have acquired experience with hydrology and hydrogeology that are very useful for location or improvement of water wells and springs. Experience has shown that a willingness to pitch in always results in plenty of work, assisting with surveying or drafting if the geotechnical problems have been addressed.

The tools normally used by Geotechnical Engineers in western countries will probably not be available, and you will be challenged to find creative ways to assess subsurface conditions. Hand dug pits may be your best available exploration tool, for example. You will also need to acquire geological maps and evaluate the effects of climate to help you anticipate unfamiliar conditions. Local construction techniques and materials must be evaluated while in country.

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Graphic Designer
If you have a solid understanding of the Adobe Suite (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator) and you can bring a laptop computer with these programs then you can serve as a Graphic Designer on a project trip with EMI. Many large scope projects (for example projects that include master planning) could benefit from the assistance of a Graphic Designer even if that position is not listed as one of the requested team position on our website or e-mail updates. If you see an interesting EMI project with a large scope and a need for a fundraising packet, contact the project leader to ask if the team needs a Graphic Designer.

Much of the work needed by a Graphic Designer is for a completed Fundraising Packet. After the trip you could be an assist in the project report cover design, along with the graphics on the summary page and in certain parts of the written report.

Also if you are familiar with Illustrator it could be an extra benefit. If you are also proficient at Photography, you can help communicate your project and EMI in general pictorially.

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HVAC Designer
EMI projects primarily only need HVAC design if the ministry wants to build a hospital or if the project is located in colder climate regions.

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Hydrogeologist
Typically, we do not list volunteer hydrogeologist opportunities. However, in reading our project descriptions, you may want to watch a ministry with fairly large property which is located in rural areas. If a project like that needs a Civil Engineer to design a water supply system contact the mission trip recruiter and ask if the team needs help determining the feasibility and best location for a well. You will find that many of the projects need your help even though they didn't include a hydrogeologist on their list of team needs.

If you see an interesting project where we will be surveying more than 10 acres of land, we may need an extra engineer as a Survey Assistant. Surveying in tropical climates is hard work, and we often need able-bodied people to help survey.

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Interior Design
If your degree's focus is on space planning and is clearly tied to Architecture, consider looking for a complex project such as a hospital, a multi-story building, or a project involving a large program on a small site to assist the Architecture team. Also consider joining an EMI team as a Drafter if you are familiar with AutoCAD.

If you see an interesting project where we will be surveying more than 10 acres of land, we may need an extra engineer as a Survey Assistant. Surveying in tropical climates is hard work, and we often need able-bodied people to help survey.

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Landscape Architect and Planner
We occasionally have projects where we specifically recruit a landscape architect typically involving vegetation and agriculture or potentially for a retreat center. While most of projects don't list a landscape architect as one of the team needs, we often prepare a master plan for a property, and most EMI architects would be very happy to have a landscape architect to help with the site planning and color rendering of the site master plan. When you look at our list of project trips, please feel free to contact a project leader to inquire about joining the design team for any project that looks interesting to you even if that project does not specifically request a landscape architect.

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Planner, Urban Planner
Obviously, much of urban planning relates to social and city design, but rarely is EMI presented with that kind of need. However, about half of our projects involve the challenge of planning a large scale campus. If you're interested in that kind of challenge check out the description for a Landscape Architect to see if you can fit that role on an EMI trip.

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Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical Engineers normally serve on our project teams as a HVAC Designer and/or a Plumbing Designer for buildings, but we occasionally need other Mechanical Engineering skills. If you cannot find a project that needs a volunteer with your work experience, there are two other ways that you could serve with our organization:

1. If you know AutoCAD, you could serve on one of our teams as a Drafter. We have AutoCAD templates that will allow you to work on the architectural and civil engineering drawings even if your work experience is doing other types of drawings. Most EMI teams need a drafter, even if we don't list that position as one of our team needs for a particular project. If you could bring a laptop with AutoCAD, you would be extremely valuable to most EMI teams.

2. If you see an interesting project where we will be surveying more than 10 acres of land, we may need an extra engineer as a Survey Assistant. Surveying in tropical climates is hard work, and we often need able-bodied people to help survey.

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Plumbing Designer
As a Plumbing Designer consider joining an EMI project that involves a water pipeline, a health care project such as a hospital, or a multi-stories project such as a school.

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Solar Engineer
As a Solar Engineer consider joining an EMI project in North Africa, Middle East, or Central Asia where there is no municipal power at the project site.

If you see an interesting project where we will be surveying more than 10 acres of land, we may need an extra engineer as a Survey Assistant. Surveying in tropical climates is hard work, and we often need able-bodied people to help survey.

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Structural Engineer
Typically a Structural Engineer on an EMI trip will be requested to design for only a one or two story building, however the system will probably be unique to what you usually design. In the places EMI typically travels, the system is confined masonry, simple form design or most likely concrete, steel, and masonry. You will provide a simplified or schematic structural design. If you are licensed in building design then you can design most EMI projects. If you are not licensed you can still travel on an EMI trip but you should notify the project leader that you would like to travel as an assistant to a Structural Engineer with more experience. Often times a young Structural Engineer can learn design development from someone more experienced while assisting with much of the newer computer manipulation that the experienced engineer may not accustomed to.

If you are not used to doing building design but rather are experienced with industrial structural design then you should look for projects that request that type of structural engineer specifically. However, if you have some building design experience you may be able to handle a simple one story design.

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Structural Engineer - Bridge Designer
If you are not used to doing building design then you should look for projects that request a bridge designer structural engineer specifically. However, if you have some building design experience you may be able to handle a simple one story design as a Structural Engineer.

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Surveyor
For surveying on EMI projects, it helps to think in terms of preparing a map of the project site, versus a full-scale topographic survey. Master planning is the foundation of most EMI projects and to meet this need on a larger site it is important to capture the property corners and shape of the site, existing structures, and significant features like roads, water features, large trees, and tree lines. You will NOT be doing a boundary or legal survey. You will be providing a map that the EMI team will design off of.

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Survey Assistant
If you are interested in learning how to be a part of the survey team then ask the Project Leader for your trip if you can assist the surveyor in mapping the property. As a Survey Assistant you may be the Rodman, work the Total Station, visually survey the site by photographing necessary features, or do as-builts.

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Sustainable Building Design
Someone with expertise in designing an energy efficient and sustainable building can be an asset on an EMI team specifically for hospital projects and any large campus where we were doing an evaluation and updated master plan. Also consider smaller projects where the ministry wanted to focus more on natural ventilation and lighting. The areas you would want to consider are saving electricity, heat ventilation in buildings, lighting (using sunlight whenever possible), energy efficient materials (if available and cost effective), and efficiently using the water resources available. Although this may not be described in the project needs specifically, feel free to contact the project leader for these types of projects or others you feel would be appropriate.

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Transportation Engineer
Most EMI projects do not have transportation needs involved, except in the occasional bridge design. See Structural Engineering- Bridge Designer for more on bridge design needs. Otherwise, your general Civil Engineering training will come in handy on EMI trips. You can check out the Civil Engineering description, which is more commonly requested on EMI trips.

If you see an interesting project where we will be surveying more than 10 acres of land, we may need an extra engineer as a Survey Assistant. Surveying in tropical climates is hard work, and we often need able-bodied people to help survey.

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Water Resources Engineer
If you have a general Civil Engineer training you can check out the Civil Engineering description, which is more commonly requested on EMI trips.

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Water/Wastewater Engineer
If you have a general Civil Engineer training you can check out the Civil Engineering description, which is more commonly requested on EMI trips.

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