Licensing by Engineering Discipline

The licensing of engineers began in Wyoming in 1907 to protect the public from untrained individuals practicing engineering and surveying. Today, all states and territories license professional engineers to protect the public health, safety, and welfare.

While every licensed professional engineer has expertise in certain areas, such as civil, electrical, or mechanical, they are licensed as a professional engineer rather than a professional civil engineer or a professional electrical engineer. Every professional engineer has an ethical obligation to practice only in their areas of competence.

NSPE’s Position

NSPE endorses and supports the concept of licensure of engineers only as a professional engineer and opposes licensure status by designated branches or specialties . This well-tested approach to the regulation of engineering practice has been protecting the public for decades.

More on this issue

PE Articles

Bridging a Divide: Structural engineers want to expand separate licensing of their discipline while NSPE opposes discipline-specific licensure. Is there any way to build a consensus?

NCEES Rejects Structural Engineering Proposal

Structural Divide: The debate over licensing structural engineers goes to the heart of how the practice of engineering should be regulated.

Other Resources

Pipeline Safety

Letter to George T. Gibson (Oklahoma Licensing Board Chairman)

NSPE’s Structural Engineering Talking Points

NSPE and SEA—Two Sides of the Debate Over Separate Licensure of Structural Engineers: Read NSPE and the Structural Engineers Association’s thoughtful dialogue on a separate license for structural engineers in their respective letters to the editor in the FES Journal (May 2014).