Student elevation is handled twice a year, in June and August. Once an IEEE Student member or Graduate Student member reaches his or her graduation date (based on information provided by the student), IEEE elevates them to the next grade of IEEE membership for which they qualify. Approximately 20,000 students graduate each year.
The first elevation is done in June (Student members or Graduate Student members with graduation dates between 1 January and 30 June). Those individuals elevated to Member grade will receive a ballot to vote in IEEE elections in September. The second elevation is done in August (Student members or Graduate Student members with graduation dates between 1 July and 31 December). IEEE supports recent graduates by providing a 50% discount off IEEE dues the first year after graduation. There is no paperwork involved to qualify and individuals will automatically receive the appropriate discount on the next renewal bill (sent in October each year) following their graduation date. This "recent graduate" discount is only available once in a lifetime.
Society Affiliates are a vital part of the IEEE community; however, they are not IEEE members and are not entitled to any IEEE benefits or services that are reserved solely for IEEE members. Society Affiliates are encouraged to elevate their status to full IEEE membership in order to take advantage of the array of benefits.
The transition from Associate to Member grade grants several privileges. Members are permitted to vote in general IEEE elections, while Associates are not eligible to vote. Members holding Member grade or higher are permitted to hold volunteer office positions, while Associates are not eligible for officer positions. Member grade implies that a member has demonstrated that he/ she is regularly employed in IEEE-designated fields with a combination of education and work experience for at least six years.
Those who wish to apply for transfer to member grade will need to update the details in the professional and education information summary using his/her IEEE username and password to log in. An overnight process will elevate eligible Associate members to Member grade.
The grade of Senior Member is the highest for which application may be made and shall require experience reflecting professional maturity. For admission or transfer to the grade of Senior Member, a candidate shall be an engineer, scientist, educator, technical executive, or originator in IEEE-designated fields for a total of 10 years and have demonstrated 5 years of significant performance.
The grade of Fellow recognizes unusual distinction in the profession and shall be conferred only by invitation of the Board of Directors upon a person of outstanding and extraordinary qualifications and experience in IEEE-designated fields, and who has made important individual contributions to one or more of these fields.
IEEE "Life" status is an automatic process which is based on an individual's membership record to determine if an IEEE member qualifies for Life member status. The member must be at least 65 years of age and has been a member of IEEE or one of its predecessor societies for such a period that the sum of his/her age and his/her years of membership equals or exceeds 100 years. (IEEE Bylaw I-102.2) Members who qualify each year will be notified by mail in the fourth quarter of the qualifying year. "Life" status will be effective on 1 January of the following year.