The Definition of Professional Engineer
To a customer, it means that you have the credentials to gain their trust. It indicates to an employer the willingness to take on a higher degree of obligation. It demands respect amongst your peers. To yourself, it’s a sign of pride and an indication of your hard-won accomplishment.
To become certified, engineers must complete a four-year college degree, practice for at least four years under a Practicing Engineer, pass two intensive competency tests and obtain a license from the licensing board of their state. Then, PEs must constantly maintain and develop their skills throughout their careers to keep their licenses.
Yet the effects are well worth the effort. PEs help makes us healthier, keep us safer, and encourage all of us to live better lives than ever before by combining their specialized skills with their high standards for ethics and quality assurance.
A century ago, without evidence of competency, anyone might work as an engineer. The first engineering licensing law was passed in 1907 in Wyoming to protect public health, safety, and welfare. Now, by granting only licensed engineers (PEs) the authority to sign and seal engineering plans and give their services to the public, every state controls engineering practice to ensure public safety.
- Engineers must complete several steps to ensure their competence to use the PE seal.
- Acquire a four-year engineering degree from an accredited engineering program
- Passing the Engineering Fundamentals (FE) test
- Total four years of progressive experience in engineering under a PE
- Passing the Engineering Principles and Experience (PE) test
Is There a Difference Between a PE and an Engineer
By meeting continuing education standards based on the state in which they are registered, PEs must also regularly demonstrate their expertise and retain and develop their skills.
- Only a licensed engineer may prepare, sign and seal and apply to a public authority for approval of engineering plans and drawings, or seal engineering work for public and private customers.
- PEs bear responsibility not only for their job but also for the lives impacted by that job and must comply with high ethical standards of practice.
- Licensing is not simply beneficial for a consulting engineer or a private practitioner; it is a legal necessity for those who are in charge of work, be they, principals or workers.
- Licensing for government engineers has become increasingly necessary. Certain governmental engineering positions, especially those considered to be higher level and responsible positions, must be filled by licensed skilled engineers in many federal, state, and municipal agencies.
- Several states mandate that people who teach engineering must also be certified. State law exemptions are under threat, and those in education, as well as in business and government, will need to be certified to practice in the future. Licensure also helps educators train students in engineering for their potential.