Regulation and licensure in engineering

Regulation and licensure in engineering

Regulation of the engineering profession is established by various jurisdictions of the world to protect the safety, well-being and other interests of the general public, and to define the licensure process through which an engineer becomes authorized to provide professional services to the public.

The professional status and the actual practice of professional engineering is legally defined and protected by a government body. In some jurisdictions only registered or licensed engineers are permitted to use the title of engineer or to practice engineering professionally. Another earmark that distinguishes a licensed professional engineer is the authority to take legal responsibility for engineering work. For example, a licensed engineer may sign, seal or stamp technical documentation such as reports, drawings, and calculations for a study, estimate, design or analysis.


Registration and regulation

Becoming an engineer is a widely varied process around the world with use of the term engineer regulated in some regions and unregulated in others. In regions where engineering is a regulated profession, there are specific procedures and requirements for obtaining license, charter, or registration from a government agency or charter-granting authority acting on its behalf and as in other regulated professions, engineers are subject to regulation by these bodies.[1]

Licensed engineers enjoy significant influence over their regulation. They are often the authors of the pertinent codes of ethics used by some of these organizations.[1] Engineers in private practice often, but not always, find themselves in traditional professional-client relationships in their practice. Engineers employed in government service and industry are on the other side of the same relationship. Despite the different focus, engineers in industry as well as private practice face similar ethical issues and reach similar conclusions.[2] One American engineering society, the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) has sought to extend professional licensure and a code of ethics across the field regardless of practice area or employment sector.[3]

United States

In the United States, registration or licensure of Professional Engineers is performed by the individual states. Each registration or license is valid only in the state where it is granted. Many Professional Engineers maintain licenses in several states for this reason, and comity between states can make it easy to obtain a license in one state based on licensure in another state without going through the full application process.[4] The licensing procedure varies but the general process is:[5]

  1. Graduate with a degree from an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology accredited four-year university program in engineering.
  2. Complete a standard Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) written examination, which tests applicants on breadth of understanding of basic engineering principles, and optionally some elements of an engineering specialty. Completion of the first two steps typically qualifies for certification in the U.S. as an Engineer-In-Training (EIT), sometimes also called an Engineer Intern (EI).[6]
  3. Accumulate a certain amount of engineering experience. In most states the requirement is four years, but in others the requirement is lower.
  4. Complete a written Principles and Practice in Engineering ('PE') examination, testing the applicant's knowledge and skills in a chosen engineering discipline (civil, electrical, industrial, mechanical, etc.), as well as engineering ethics.

For standardization, the EIT and PE exams are written and graded by a central organization, NCEES. However each state's Board of Professional Engineers individually sets the requirements to take the tests, as well as the passing scores. For example, in some states applicants must provide professional references from several PEs before they can take the PE test.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have engineering boards that are represented by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), which administers both the FE and PE examinations.[7]

Degree requirements in the United States are evolving. Effective 1 January 2020, the NCEES model will require additional credits beyond a bachelor of science in engineering. The type of creditable activities that will satisfy the additional educational requirement are under development by NCEES. This has received some support from civil engineers.[8][9]

There is a fairly large range in exam pass rates for these exams (FE and PE), but the pass rate for repeat test takers is significantly lower.[10]

As of 2009, it is still possible for an individual to bypass Steps 2 and 4. In Texas, for example, both FE and PE exam waivers are still available to individuals with several years of creditable experience.[11][12]

In a few states it is still possible for an individual to bypass Step 1, and apply to take the registration examinations, as long as a P.E. sponsors the applicant, and work experience can be substituted for academic experience. The years of experience may also vary; for instance, in California it is possible to take a Principles and Practice in Engineering examination with only two years of experience after a bachelor's degree, or one year of experience after graduate school. In Nevada, college graduates are eligible to take the Principles and Practice exam immediately after graduation and passing the EIT, before acquiring the required experience.[13] Some states also have state-specific examinations, most notably California where there is a state-specific structural engineering exam and two additional exams in land surveying and earthquake engineering for civil engineering candidates.

Some states issue generic Professional Engineering licenses. Others, known as "discipline states", issue licenses for specific disciplines of engineering, such as Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering. In all cases, however, engineers are ethically required to limit their practice to their area of competency, which is usually a small portion of a discipline. While licensing boards do not often enforce this limitation, it can be a factor in negligence lawsuits. In a few states licensed Civil Engineers may also perform land surveys.

In addition to the person's licensure, most states require that firms engaged in providing engineering services are authorized to do so. For instance, the State of Florida issues a Certificate of Authorization to firms that are owned by a Professional Engineer.

Civil engineers account for a large portion of licensed Professional Engineers. In Texas, for example, about one-third of licenses are for civil engineers, and civil exams make up over half of the exams taken.[14][15] Many of the remainder are mechanical, electrical, and structural engineers whose practice involves areas that states regulate, such as HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems for buildings or public infrastructure. However, some engineers in other fields obtain licenses for the ability to serve as professional witnesses, or just for prestige, even though they may never actually sign and seal design documents.

Since regulation of the practice of engineering is performed by the individual states in the U.S., areas of engineering involved in interstate commerce are essentially unregulated. These areas include much of Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, and Chemical Engineering, and may be specifically exempted from regulation under an "Industrial Exemption". An industrial exemption covers engineers who design products such as automobiles that are sold (or have the potential to be sold) outside the state where they are produced, as well as the equipment used to produce the product. Structures subject to building codes are not covered by an industrial exemption, though small residential buildings often do not require an engineer's seal. In many jurisdictions, the role of architects and structural engineers overlap.

Many private companies employ non-degreed workers in technical positions with engineering titles such as "test engineer" or "field engineer". Such position may not require an engineering degree at the discretion of the company. It is important however, to make a distinction between a "graduate engineer" and a "professional (or licensed) engineer". A "graduate engineer" is anyone holding a degree in engineering from an accredited four-year university but is not licensed to practice or offer services to the public. Unlicensed engineers usually work as employees for a company and are governed under the industrial exemption clause.


In Canada the designation Professional Engineer can only be used by licensed engineers and is protected in law and strictly enforced in all provinces. The regulation and licensing of engineers are accomplished through a self-governing body that is given the power to license and discipline engineers as well as regulate the practice of engineering in their province, such as Professional Engineers Ontario. A self-governing body's prime purpose is to protect the public. An engineering license and the award of title P.Eng grants the right to practice engineering. Many of these associations are also responsible for regulating other related professions. The process for registration is generally as follows:

  1. Graduate with a degree from an accredited program in engineering or applied science, accredited by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB).
  2. Complete an Engineer in Training or "engineering Internship" program under the direction of a P.Eng. (This is a minimum four-year program with the exception of Quebec[16])
  3. Review of work experience by the Association,
  4. Pass a Professional Practice Exam[17] (content and format of which differs by province).

Engineers are not licensed in a specific discipline but are legally bound by their respective provincial Code of Ethics (e.g. in Ontario: Professional Engineers Act R.R.O. 1990, Regulation 941) from practising beyond their training and experience. Breaches of the code are often sufficient grounds for enforcement, which may include the suspension or loss of license, as well as financial penalties and now, through recent changes to Canadian law, could also result in jail, should negligence be shown to have played a part in any incident that causes loss of human life.

Engineers are not tested on technical knowledge during the licensing process should their education be accredited by the CEAB; however, the accreditation of schools and their accredited degree granting status are tightly monitored and controlled. The Canadian system thus ensures that a specific and regimented curriculum is offered and tested with strict accordance to set national standards. This streamlines the overall licensing process and ensures a firm national standard on the quality of engineering in Canada. This accreditation process is governed by Engineers Canada through their active group the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board. The accreditation process is continuous and enforced through regular accreditation reviews of each school. These reviews typically include the review of the school's curriculum (including marked final exams and assignments), interviews of current students, extra curricular activities and teaching staff as well additional areas the visiting board may feel need addressing. The specific areas considered are Curriculum Content, Program Environment, and General Criteria. The associations are granted both an exclusive right to title and an exclusive right to practice.

There are only a few exceptions specifically noted in the acts and it does not include any "industrial exemptions". Therefore, a practising engineer is legally required to be registered. The level of enforcement varies depending on the specific industry. The federal government is exempt from provincial laws, but in general the federal government only gives the title "engineer" to their employees who, as part of their job requirements, are able register as a licensed Professional Engineer.

The engineer's license is only valid in the province of delivery. There are however agreements between the associations to ease mobility. In 2009 the Professional Engineers Ontario led an initiative to develop a national engineering licensing framework.

United Kingdom

The term "professional engineer" or "engineer", has no legal meaning in the UK and is sometimes used to describe mechanics, installers, and maintenance workers, e.g. Gas Safe Register engineer, or British Telecom - telephone engineer. The qualifications to become a "professional" engineer in the UK vary widely. For example, qualifications for British Telecom professional engineer include having a driving license, being physically fit, and not being color blind. Chartered Engineers require University education plus monitored professional practice training. The Society of Professional Engineers UK a private limited company provides the designation P.Eng (UK) but this is not recognized by the UK government or internationally. The Engineering Council UK is the regulatory authority for registration of chartered and Incorporated engineers in the United Kingdom. ECUK registration controls, by law, the award of engineering qualifications and titles Chartered Engineer, Incorporated Engineer, and Engineering Technician, but has no authority to restrict engineering practice. The Chartered Engineer is recognized as the professional title for engineers under the Washington Accord. A Chartered Engineer is registered with the Engineering Council UK (the British regulatory body for engineers). Contemporary Chartered Engineers hold an undergraduate Master of Engineering degree, and have gained professional qualifications through structured competency-based training and experience. The formation process (academic + internship/apprenticeship/graduate-training + peer-reviewed professional practice) of a Chartered Engineer spans a minimum of 8 years but usually 12 years. The title Chartered Engineer is protected by civil law. However unlike Canada and certain US states the practice of engineering is not protected in law nor the use of the title "Engineer". So anyone in the UK can call themselves an engineer, including semi-skilled repair people.

For registration as a Chartered Engineer, it is necessary for candidates to demonstrate that they are professionally competent through education, training and professional practice. Although many Chartered Engineers have non engineering degree qualifications, or honours degrees in engineering, science or mathematics, since 1997 it has been necessary to demonstrate University Masters-level knowledge and understanding, most commonly by completion of the 4 year undergraduate integrated MEng degree, or by gaining an appropriate masters degree following completion of a 3 year bachelor degree in engineering or a cognate subject. A UK Master in Engineering (MEng) is an extended 4-year undergraduate degree-course in the United Kingdom.

Only the Chartered Engineer is entitled to register through the European Federation of National Engineering Associations as a European Engineer and use the pre-nominal of Eur Ing. In the UK Incorporated Engineers may use the post-nominals of IEng and also MIET if appropriately registered with the IET as one of the 37 accrediting Engineering Council institutions. The Incorporated Engineer is a professional qualification that is acknowledged as a professional engineer in the UK through the Engineering Council of the United Kingdom and the European definition of title under 2005/36/EC.[18]


In India, engineers with an engineering degree (BE/BTech/ME/MTech) are allowed to practice as consulting engineers. There is no need for any further license or registration with any institution or body but such Engineers who are Chartered Engineers of IE(India)are prefered in all fields.They also command high professional & social status & mobility in all states.

Engineers registered as Chartered Engineer(India)with Institution of Engineers(India) can practice in any state or city. They must be Corporate Members of IE (India)to register. IE(India) also offers 'Professional Engineer(India)' and 'Professional Engineer(International)'registration to engineers having at least seven years of engineering experience. They too must be Corporate Members of IE(India) to apply for it. Generally, BE/BTech/ME/MTech degree and five years engineering experience are required to apply for Corporate Membership(AMIE).IE(India) has a British Royal Charter since 1935


The European Engineer (Eur Ing, EUR ING) is an international professional qualification for engineers used in many European countries. The title is granted after successful application to a national member of the European Federation of National Engineering Associations (FEANI), which includes representation from many European countries, including much of the European Union. It allows a person who has an engineering degree and usually an engineering professional qualification in one of the member countries to use the qualification in others, but this depends on local legislation.

The title Eur Ing is "pre-nominal", i.e. it is placed before rather than after the name as in the case of a post-nominal title such as that for academic degrees (however, in some EU countries, academic degrees are also pre-nominal). Names are also placed on the FEANI Register maintained by FEANI in additional to national member registers.


Post-nominal and pre-nominal letters used vary by location:


  • Ing. in Ghana (for engineers holding a B.Sc. or higher with relevant engineering experience) and a registered member of the Ghana Institute of Engineers (GhIE)
  • Pr.Eng. or Pr.Ing is used as a post-nominal in South Africa (for engineers holding a B.Eng., B.Sc. or B.Sc.Eng. with relevant experience). Pr.Tech.Eng. is used as a post-nominal in South Africa (for engineers holding a B.Tech. with relevant experience and three years of practicing in the engineering field)"Pr.Tech.Eng" standing for Professional Engineering Technologist; see Engineering Council of South Africa "Pr.Cert.Eng" standing for Professional Certificated Engineer is used as a post-nominal for Engineers who have registered with the Engineering Council South Africa after passing the Engineers Certificate of Competence Examinations.
  • R.Eng standing for Registered Engineer in Kenya (Holders of Four years post-secondary Engineering Education and four years of work experience)
  • Eng. is used for engineers holding B.Sc., B.Eng. or higher with relevant engineering experience in Egypt and must be a member in the Egyptian Syndicate of Engineers.
  • Engr is used as a pre-nominal in Nigeria (for holders of bachelor or higher degree in engineering with relevant experience and having successfully passed the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Professional Exams and fulfill other NSE and Council For Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria(COREN)requirements)" [19]
  • R.Eng or CEng is used as post-nominal for registered engineers in Nigeria after fulfilling both NSE and COREN requirements.
  • Eng is used as a pre-nominal in Uganda for registered engineers. In Uganda, a registered Engineer must as a prerequisite be a member of the Uganda Institution of professional Engineers (UIPE) and must have a B.Sc. or higher in Engineering together with relevant engineering experience that must be documented, supported by 2-registered engineers, and defended by the applicant in an interview with the Engineers' Registration Board (ERB), which has the power to confirm a Registered Engineer. Annual fees must be paid to the ERB by all registered engineers.[20]


  • Mohandess Payeh 1 and Mohandess Payeh 2 are titles used respectively for Professional Engineer and Engineer in Training in Iran
  • Ir is used as a pre-nominal in Hong Kong , Malaysia and Indonesia
  • P.E.Jp as a pre-nominal in Japan
  • Engr. or Engineer, To crate it before your name, you have take a membership from IEB Bangladesh
  • Er. is used as a pre-nominal in India , Nepal and Singapore
  • P.E. or Professional Engineer is used as a pre-nominal (similar to Dr. or Prof.) in Pakistan
  • Mohandes is used as a pre-nominal in Arab countries like Iraq, Syria and Lebanon
  • Eng. or .م as a pre-nominal in Jordan (for engineers holding a university degree in engineering after five years of studies).
  • Engr. or Engineer is used as a pre-nominal in the Philippines for individuals passing the government regulated professional licensure examination, which is only given for certain fields of engineering.
  • CEng (Sri Lanka) is used in Sri Lanka as a post-nominal abbreviation by Corporate Members of the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka (IESL).
  • IEng. Incorporated Engineers offered by the Institution of Incorporated Engineers, Sri Lanka.


  • Eur Ing, (EUR ING) (European Engineer) in Europe, used as a pre-nominal (similar to Dr. or Prof) after being suitably registered in their own country and then accepted by FEANI.
  • Ing.P.Eur (European Professional Engineer) in Europe, used as a pre-nominal
  • Ing. (Ingeniero) in Spain, used as a pre-nominal, for the engineers who have the equivalent to a master's degree as they studied five or six courses in a Engineering Superior School. Also exists the Ingeniero Técnico (I.T.), who is a professional that holds a Degree and a minimum formation of three courses in an engineering official college. Both types of engineers have full competency in their respective professional field of engineering, being the difference that the three year Engineers have competence only in their speciality (Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical, etc.)and the "Engineering Superior School" Engineers have wider competences. The Bologna process changes this structure. The Degree will require four courses and the Superior Engineering School Engineers will equal the ones that hold a Master in Engineering.
  • Eng. (Engenheiro) in Portugal, used as a pre-nominal. An Engenheiro is a full chartered professional in engineering who was awarded a masters' degree (2nd study cycle according to the Bologna process system) by an accredited engineering school. In Portugal there is also the Engenheiro Técnico who is a professional with a bachelor's degree (1st study cycle) in engineering or engineering sciences. Accredited masters' degrees in engineering are regulated and certified by the Ordem dos Engenheiros (Order of Engineers), and every professional full chartered engineer is registered at the Ordem.
  • In Finland the Dipl.ins., or DI for short, (Diplomi-insinööri, Diploma Engineer or Master of Science (Technology))) is awarded universities and universities of technology.
  • In Germany the Dipl.-Ing. (Diplom-Ingenieur, Diploma Engineer) is awarded by the educational ministries of the federal states (the Bundesländer) after having completing an academic engineering education according to the German Engineer's Law (Ingenieurgesetz). The degrees Ing. grad. (Graduierter Ingenieur, Graduate Engineer) and Obering. (Oberingenieur, Supervisor Engineer) are not awarded any more. (pre-nominal letters)
  • Ing. EurEta - used as a pre-nominal (similar to Dr. or Prof). An engineer registered with EurEta "European Higher Engineering and Technical Professionals Association" is called an "EurEta Registered Engineer", and has the right to use this title in Europe, [] .
  • State-certified Engineer BVT. These titles are the respective translations, authorised by the German Federal Government, of "Staatlich geprüfter Techniker", in Europe.[21]
  • Ir. in the Netherlands (for engineers holding a Master's degree from a university) or Ing. (for engineers holding a Bachelor's degree from a professional school). (pre-nominal letters)
  • Ir. in Belgium (for engineers holding a Master's degree in engineering/bio-engineering sciences from a university) or Ing. (for engineers holding a Master's degree in applied engineering from other institutes of higher education). (pre-nominal letters)
  • Ing. in Italy used as a pre-nominal (similar to Dr. or Prof. and only for engineers holding a Master's degree) or Ing.jr (Bachelor's). A state exam is required. (pre-nominal letters)
  • Siv. Ing. (Sivilingeniør, M.Sc) and ing. (Høyskoleingeniør, B.Sc) in Norway. The titled is used by persons holding degrees from accredited engineering colleges and universities.
  • CEng (Chartered Engineer) and IEng (Incorporated Engineer) in the UK & Republic of Ireland. UK and Irish engineers may also carry post-nominal letters specific to their specialist engineering institute, such as MIET (professional engineers and graduate professionals registered with the Institution of Engineering and Technology). In the UK these are recognised as regulated qualifications and titles.[22]
  • Civ. Ing. in Denmark and Sweden (for engineers holding a Master's degree in Engineering, also M.Sc. Eng, master of science in engineering)and Högskoleingenjör in Sweden (for engineers holding a B.Sc degree).
  • Ing. in Romania, used as a pre-nominal (similar to Dr. or Prof.).
  • Ing. for engineers holding a Master's degree in Czech Republic and Slovak republic, used as a pre-nominal (similar to Dr. or Prof.).
  • inż. and mgr inż in Poland, in Poland inż. is the title obtained after 4 years of studies (similar to B.Sc. degree); inżynier who obtain M.Sc. level use mgr inż (magister inżynier). The mgr level can be obtained through post-bachelor education usually 2 years of studies, or through integrated B.Sc/M.Sc. program that usually is 1 year shorter than the non-integrated program. Some (particularly in the USA) mistakenly believe that "mgr inż" is a separate title, while in fact it is two titles one "inż." indicating technical science 4 year education and the "mgr" indicating the advanced education of 2 cycle regardless of how it was obtained. The degree in general includes license to practice, although some regulation may require additional registration to perform specific tasks. (pre-nominal letters)
  • маг. инж. (Mag. Inzh. from Magister (Master) Engineer) in Bulgaria (for engineers holding a Master's (Magister) degree) or инж. (for engineers holding a Bachelor's degree). (pre-nominal letters)
  • "Inġ." in Malta (for engineers holding a university degree and at least 3 years of experience)
  • "PEng(UK) in UK (for Engineers members of Society of Professional Engineers UK)

Latin America

  • Ing. in most Spanish speaking countries (pre-nominal letters) (similar to Dr. or Prof): Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, México, Perú, Uruguay, Venezuela.
  • In Chile customary practice consists in placing the post-nominal word Ingeniero Civil plus the specialty area, such as Ingeniero Civil Eléctrico, Ingeniero Civil en Minería or Ingeniero Civil Químico.
  • Eng. (Engenheiro)customary practice in post-nominal word "Engenheiro Civil", "Engenheiro Mecânico", "Engenheiro Eletricista", "Engenheiro Florestal", Engenheiro Agrônomo","Engenheiro de Segurança do Trabalho" in Brazil.Registration by CONFEA/CREA in the states of the federation Pará, Maranhão, Tocantins, São Paulo and anothers but, This possible to work in more one state only with "Visto".

North America

  • P.E. or PE is used in the U.S. Individual states grant PE registration, which can sometimes be endorsed by other states.
  • P.Eng. is used in Canada (as a post-nominal), except in the province of Quebec. Granted to specified technical educational degree holder residing in Canada upon application.
  • Eng. (French: ing.) is used in Quebec.


  • RPEQ is used as a post nominal in Queensland for Registered Professional Engineers of Queensland and is subject to CPD requirements to maintain status. Registration is performed by the Board of Professional Engineers of Queensland.[23]
  • MIEAust is used as a post nomial to designate a member of Engineers Australia. This indicates at least three years experience beyond graduation, but does not imply chartered membership by itself.
  • CPEng is used as a post nomial in Australia and New Zealand for Chartered Professional Engineers, and subject to a rigorous competence based assessment and ongoing CPD requirements to maintain status.
  • FIEAust is used to designate a Fellow (highest membership category) of Engineers Australia.

Title usage

In many countries, laws exist that limit the use of job titles containing the word "engineer".


In Canada, it is considered illegal to practice engineering, or use the title "Engineer", without a Professional engineers license. Engineering in Canada is regulated in the public interest by self-governing professional licensing bodies. These bodies were established by Canada's 13 provincial and territorial governments through Engineering Acts. The provincial and territorial governments have delegated their constitutional authority to regulate engineers and engineering in Canada to professional licensing bodies that are maintained and governed by the profession, creating a system of self-regulation. The first law related to professional engineering in Ontario was created in 1922 and allowed for the creation of a voluntary association to oversee registration of engineers. The Act of 1922 was "open", meaning that membership in the association was not mandatory for practicing engineers. In Ontario, regulation of engineering practice dates to 1937, when the Professional Engineers Act was amended and the engineering profession was "closed" to non-qualified individuals; that is, licensure was made mandatory for anyone practising professional engineering. The provincial government determined that it would be in the public interest to restrict the practice of engineering to those who were qualified, and the right to practise was "closed" to non-engineers as a result of the failures of bridges and buildings, which had been designed by unskilled individuals.

Self-regulation recognizes that the engineering profession itself, at the provincial and territorial level, is best positioned to regulate the practice of engineering in a manner that protects both the public and the environment. Engineering's 12 licensing bodies fulfill this mandate by ensuring high standards of engineering practice and education in Canada, by setting high standards for admission into the profession, by disciplining engineers who fail to uphold the profession's practice and ethical standards, and by preventing the misuse of the title "engineer" by individuals who are not licensed members of the profession. They also take appropriate action to prevent the illegal practice of engineering by unlicensed individuals. Each licensing body's mandate and obligation to undertake this role is laid out in the Engineering Act that created it. Although each Act is slightly different, most also define a scope of practice for engineers and specifically restrict the use of the title engineer to individuals who have been licensed by the engineering licensing body in the province or territory where the Act applies.

In Canada, it is considered illegal to practice engineering, or use the title "Engineer", without a professional engineer's license P.Eng. The use of the term "engineer" was an issue between professional bodies, the I.T. industry, and the security industry, where companies or associations may issue certifications or titles with the word "engineer" as part of that title (such as security engineer or Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer). Microsoft have since changed the title to "Microsoft Certified IT Professional". Several licensing bodies for professional engineering contend that only licensed professional engineers are legally allowed to use the title "Engineer". The I.T. industry, on the other hand, counters that:

  1. These title holders never presented themselves as "Professional Engineers";
  2. Provincial laws, other than in Quebec and Ontario, regulate only the use of term "Professional Engineer", and not any title with the word "Engineer" in it; in Quebec and Ontario, the term "Engineer" is protected by both the Engineers Act[24] and by section 32 of the Professional Code[25]); and,
  3. The I.T. industry has used the term "engineer" since the dawn of the computing industry in the 60s.[26]

Court rulings regarding the usage of the term "engineer" have been mixed. For example, after complaints from the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers, a court in Quebec fined Microsoft Canada $1,000 for misusing the "engineer" title by referring to MCSE graduates as "engineers".[27] Conversely, an Albertan court dismissed the lawsuit filed by The Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists, and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA) against Raymond Merhej for using the title "System Engineer", claiming that, "The Respondent's situation is such that it cannot be contended that the public is likely to be deceived, confused or jeopardized by his use of the term…"[28] APEGGA also lost the appeal to this decision.[29]

The Canadian Information Processing Society[30] and in particular CIPS Ontario[31] have attempted to strike a balance between the professional engineering licensing bodies and the IT industry over the use of the term "engineer" in the software industry, but so far no major agreements or decisions have been announced.

Additional confusion has taken place over similarly named occupations. One such example would be power engineers or stationary engineers. Graduates of a two-year (in Nova Scotia) college level Power Engineering Technology program may use the title "Power Engineer" or "Stationary Engineer". This is conflicting with the title often used in the electrical industry for professional engineers designing related equipment. The incorporation of the word "engineer" in "Power Engineer" or "Stationary Engineer" can itself cause confusion.

United States

In the United States, most states prohibit unlicensed persons from calling themselves an "engineer" or indicating branches or specialties not covered by the licensing acts.

The title "Engineer" is legally protected in many states, meaning that it is unlawful to use it to offer engineering services to the public unless permission is specifically granted by that state, through a Professional Engineering license, an "industrial exemption", or certain other non-engineering titles such as "operating engineer". Employees of state or federal agencies may also call themselves engineers if that term appears in their official job title. The IEEE's formal position on this is as follows: "The title, Engineer, and its derivatives should be reserved for those individuals whose education and experience qualify them to practice in a manner that protects public safety. Strict use of the title serves the interest of both the IEEE-USA and the public by providing a recognized designation by which those qualified to practice engineering may be identified." It is generally a requirement in the United States to have at least a Bachelor of Science degree in an engineering discipline or related applied science to be considered an engineer and practice as such.

A business generally cannot offer engineering services to the public or have a name that implies that it does so unless it employs at least one Professional Engineer.

Due to industrial exemption many professionals are titled as engineering. Examples are Production Engineers, Test Engineers, Integration Engineers, Network Engineers, Project Engineers, Systems Engineers, Sales Engineers etc.

This is seen in engineering job advertisements on line and in news papers, most of the advertisements and the employers don't require licensing due to the industrial exemption.

In the United States, use of the title Professional Engineer is restricted to those holding a Professional Engineer's license. These people have the right to add the letters "P.E." after their names on resumes, business cards, and other communication. However, each state has its own licensing procedure, and the license is valid only in the state that granted it.

Other uses of the term "engineer" are legally controlled and protected to varying degrees, dependent on the state and the enforcement of its engineering certification board. The term is frequently applied to fields where practitioners may have no engineering background, or the work has no basis in the physical engineering disciplines; for example sanitation engineer. However, in many jurisdictions, the usage of this term is limited to internal use by a company, rather than in a professional or marketing aspect, if said company is not licensed to perform engineering work. This is because what is legally recognized as engineering work (and thus requiring licensure to be practiced) is held to strict criminal liability.[32]

With regard to the term "software engineer", many states, such as Texas and Florida, have license requirements for such a title that are in line with the requirements for more traditional engineering fields. Jurisdictions such as these tend to refer to the position of network engineer as a technician.[32]

United Kingdom

Engineering in the UK is not a licensed profession. In the UK, the term "engineer" is often applied to non-degreed vocations such as technologists, technicians, draftsmen, machinists, mechanics, plumbers, electricians, repair people, and semi-skilled occupations. Many of these occupations adopt the term "engineer", "professional engineer", "registered engineer", "gas engineer", "heating engineer", "drainage engineer", "automobile engineer", "aircraft engineer" and many hundreds of derivatives. British Gas describe their installation and maintenance mechanics as registered professional engineers. Most members of the UK public perceive the engineer and engineering as a semi-skilled trade. The work and identity of UK Chartered Engineers is often styled as science and scientists by the UK media causing public confusion. There are a few fields of practice, generally safety related, which are reserved by statute to licensed persons.[33] The Engineering Council UK grants the titles Chartered or Incorporated Engineer, and declares them to be "professional engineers." [34] The Incorporated Engineer is an Engineer as declared by the Engineering Council of the United Kingdom and the European definition of title under 2005/36/EC.[18] UK Incorporated Engineers are recognized internationally through the Sydney Accord academic agreement as Engineering Technologists.

All Chartered and Incorporated engineers in the UK are members of an engineering institution usually aligned with their undergraduate degree (Mechanical, civil, chemical, electrical, aeronautical etc.). There are various levels of membership including; student, associate, member, fellow with designator letters. An example is Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (MIET) (formerly Institution of Electrical Engineers). This category is open to professional engineers with suitable qualifications and involvement in areas relevant to the interests of the Institution (Engineering and Technology). MIET is a regulated professional title recognized in Europe by the Directive 2005/36.[35] MIET is listed on the part 2 professions regulated by professional bodies incorporated by Royal Charter-Statutory Instruments 2007 No. 2781 Professional Qualifications-The European Communities (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2007.[36]

The U.K. has other "professional" engineering titles registered via the Engineering Council UK (ECUK): Incorporated Engineer (IEng) and Chartered Engineer (CEng).[37]

Incorporated Engineer is a first-cycle qualification for Bachelor of Engineering or Bachelor of Science degree holders(Sydney Accord, equivalent to Technologist). Chartered Engineer is a second-cycle qualification usually reserved for holders of integrated Master of Engineering degrees or Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Science degrees. Both IEng and CEng require substantial professional experience (4–8 years post graduate), a professional review and interview.

It is illegal in the U.K. to hold that one is a Chartered or Incorporated Engineer unless so registered with Engineering Council. The title of "Engineer" by itself is not regulated in the U.K.[38]

While Engineering Council is the primary body registering Engineers in U.K., there are other professional societies that register engineers as well. Under its Royal Charter, Engineering Council grants licences to engineering institutions allowing them to assess candidates for inclusion on its Register of Professional Engineers and Technicians, and to accredit academic programmes and professional development schemes. There are over 30 institutions licensed to register professional engineers with Engineering Council.

Become a Chartered Engineer (CEng)or Incorporated Engineer(IEng) in the UK with the Engineering Council Examinations. These qualifications also offer a flexible way to meet requirements for further learning or continued professional development.

The exams are available at 3 levels, from undergraduate level to the equivalent of a MEng degree. You can choose from areas such as electrical, chemical, civil, mechanical and computer engineering.

The Engineering Council Examinations are for those with extensive science or engineering knowledge.

For the Level 5 qualification, you'll need at least 2 'A' levels or Level 4 qualifications in engineering or science. For Level 6 you should have already gained the Level 5 Certificate in Engineering or a comparable qualification. And for Level 7, you'll need the Level 6 Diploma in Engineering or a UK-accredited BEng degree. These examinations have been administered by City and Guilds since 2001.

Europe and Latin America

  • Engineers in Europe table showing all countries where this profession is regulated, with the name of the profession as used in the country.
  • In Germany and some other European and Latin American countries, the term Diploma Engineer implies that the person has completed typically one more year of academic work beyond the basic engineering bachelor's degree. The Diploma Engineer is therefore a university degree, and not a professional registration or license. However, in Germany and most other countries where the Diploma Engineer degree exist, there is no professional registration or licence in engineering (with a very limited number of exceptions, such as civil engineering in Germany). This is the reason why graduates of these degrees are generally allowed to use the legally-protected title of "Engineer" within these countries. In Germany the usage of the term engineer (Ingenieur) as such, not just the Diplom-Ingenieur, is protected by various Länder (States of Germany) laws, since education matters fall into the legislation of the Länder, not the federal government. Although the details of the laws vary, they all properly restrict the usage of the term. Examples of such laws are[39][40][41]
  • In France, engineer title can be used pretty liberally, and is often attributed based on professional position rather than initial qualification, however the title Ingénieur diplomé (Diploma Engineer) is reserved to people having followed one of the trainings listed by Commission des titres d'ingénieur (Commission for Engineer Titles). It corresponds to a highly-selective Master degree level, as three selections occurs: in high school, after two years of classes preparatoires, and for the diploma delivering. This highly-selective process and the French undervaluing of Ph.D.s (with exception to those in the industries of medicine and veterinary science) makes the Ingénieur title very prestigious.
  • In Chile, the Ingeniero (engineer) title is regulated by law, which distinguishes at least three different kinds of professional engineering titles. First, the Ingeniería de Ejecución, which only requires a degree in applied science and a technical degree, from a university or a technical institute (usually four years of formation); Ingeniería, which requires a major degree in basic sciences plus a technical degree, both from a university (usually five years of formation); and Ingeniería Civil, which requires an academic major degree in basic sciences, a minor degree in applied sciences and a technical degree, all from a university (usually six or six and a half years). In all cases, the term refers to a professional degree conceded by an educational institution, yet it can only be given by certain institutions when all legal requirements are met.
  • In Brazil, the title of Engenheiro (engineer) and in Argentina[42] the title of Ingeniero can only be legally used by someone with a five or six-year engineering degree. In Argentina most universities have a five or six-year engineering degree (Around 3500–4000 hours of classes or aprox 240-250 credits, one credit = 16 contact hours). Both countries concede the degree through universities (most common) and certain institutions (most rarely).
  • In Puerto Rico, use of the title Ingeniero (engineer) is restricted to those holding an engineer's license registered by the College of Engineers and Land Surveyors of Puerto Rico. These people have the right to add the letters "Ing." before their names on resumes, business cards, and other communication.

International professional bodies

The AACE, a professional body for Cost Engineers, explains why a technical engineering background is not required for their profession with the following statement:[43]

The skills and knowledge required to deal with costs (e.g., cost estimating, planning and scheduling, etc.) are quite different from those required to deal with the physical design dimension. From that difference, the field of cost engineering was born. Cost engineering practitioners work alongside of and are peers with engineers, software analysts, play producers, architects, and other creative career fields to handle the cost dimension, but they do not necessarily have the same background. Whether they have technical, operations, finance and accounting, or other backgrounds, cost engineering practitioners need to share a common understanding, based on “scientific principles and techniques,” with the engineering or other creative career functions.

See also


  1. ^ a b Layton, Edwin (1986). The Revolt of the Engineers: Social Responsibility and the American Engineering Profession. Baltimore, Maryland, USA: The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-3287-X.  (pp. 6-7)
  2. ^ NSPE. NSPE Ethics in Employment Task Force Report. Archived from the original on 2006-09-27. Retrieved 2006-10-20. 
  3. ^ Layton (1986). pp. 238-239.
  4. ^ "Licensure by Comity". National Society of Professional Engineers. 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-14. 
  5. ^ "Model Law" (php). National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. 2009. Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  6. ^ 59 Okla. Stat. Sec. 475.12. Retrieved 16 August 2006 from Oklahoma state board of licensure for professional Engineers and Land Surveyors.
  7. ^
  8. ^ American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) (2001) Academic Prerequisites for Licensure and Professional Practice. Policy Statement 465.
  9. ^ American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) (2007) White Paper on Implementation of Additional Engineering Education Requirements as a Prerequisite for Licensure, [1]
  10. ^ NCEES. "Exam Pass Rates". Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  11. ^ "New/Old Waiver Rule Comparison". Texas Board of Professional Engineers. 2006. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  12. ^ "Exam Waiver Requirements". Texas Board of Professional Engineers. 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Texas PE License Information Roster". Texas Board of Professional Engineers. 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-24. 
  15. ^ "Examination Pass/Fail Rates". Texas Board of Professional Engineers. 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-24. 
  16. ^ [2]
  17. ^ [3]
  18. ^ a b "Engineer". Regulated professions database. European Commission. Retrieved 25 January 2010. 
  19. ^ [4]
  20. ^ [5]
  21. ^
  22. ^ Regulated Professions in the UK. (UK) Department for children, schools and families. Accessed 2 November 2007.
  23. ^ Board of Professional Engineers of Queensland
  24. ^ Engineers Act
  25. ^ Professional Code
  26. ^ Andronache, Tatiana, The Importance of "Being Engineer".
  27. ^
  28. ^ APEGGA website
  29. ^ ASET Technology Alberta, p. 2
  30. ^ CIPS National website
  31. ^ CIPS Ontario website
  32. ^ a b
  33. ^ ECUK - About the International Registers
  34. ^ Gas fitters are also declared as registered "professional engineers" by the British Gas utility.C&IEWeb06
  35. ^ qualifications
  36. ^
  37. ^ "The European Communities (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) (First General System) Regulations 2005". UK Office of Public Sector Information. 2005. Retrieved 2006-07-19. 
  38. ^ "Engineering Council UK website, FAQ page". Engineering Council UK. 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  39. ^ Niedersächsisches Ingenieurgesetz (NIngG) in der Neufassung vom 12.7.2007 (Nds.GVBl. 21/2007 S.324; ber. Nds.GVBl. 26/2007 S.434), geändert durch Art. 2 des Gesetzes v. 10.12.2008 (Nds.GVBl. Nr.25/2008 S.370)
  40. ^ Gesetz zum Schutze der Berufsbezeichnung "Ingenieur" und "Ingenieurin" - Ingenieurgesetz - IngG - (BayRS 702-2-W), zuletzt geändert durch § 1 des Gesetzes vom 24. März 2010 (GVBl S. 138)
  41. ^, Brandenburgisches Ingenieurgesetz (BbgIngG) Vom 29. Juni 2004 (GVBl.I/04, [Nr. 15], S.326), zuletzt geändert durch Artikel 2 des Gesetzes vom 11. März 2010 (GVBl.I/10, [Nr. 15])
  42. ^
  43. ^ "what is cost engineering?". Archived from the original on 2007-11-19. Retrieved 2007-11-21. 

20 Regulated Professions in the

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