NSPE Champions PE License at NCEES Annual Meeting

Friday, September 2, 2016

At the 95th Annual NCEES Meeting last week in Indianapolis, the NCEES Council (consisting of the state and territorial licensing boards) defeated a proposed motion to change the NCEES Model Law which, NSPE argued, could have encouraged the creation of a separate license for structural engineers in additional states beyond those where such a credential already exists and a requirement that structural engineers be included as members of jurisdictional licensing boards. The vote was 12.5 in favor, 51.5 opposed and 2 abstentions.

On July 26th, NSPE President Kodi Jean Verhalen communicated NSPE’s concerns with the proposals in a letter.  A big thank you is owed to our many state societies, who backed up national with individual, state-level contacts to their licensing boards prior to the NCEES meeting.

In Indianapolis, in private meetings and addressing the NCEES board, President Verhalen acknowledged the strong relationship between NSPE and NCEES and their shared commitment to increasing public awareness of the critical role of the PE in protecting the public health, safety and welfare. She reiterated NSPE’s long standing position opposing discipline-specific licensure, which, in our view, would splinter the profession, confuse the public, and weaken a strong licensure system. She noted that a proposal for a separate structural engineering license had been brought to a vote at last year’s NCEES meeting and been defeated.

In conversations before the NCEES Council vote, she acknowledged that the NCEES committee that had proposed the Model Law amendments had not intended to endorse or mandate discipline-specific licensure; rather, the committee had intended only to create Model Law language to be used by those state boards that already license SEs separately. However, she maintained, if SEs and NCEES wish to provide such model language, it should be done as an addendum with a clear disclaimer to avoid misuse or misrepresentation of the action taken.

NSPE made it clear that it does not object to PEs individually identifying the fact that they practice in a particular field of engineering, like structural engineering, or use specialty designations in combination with the PE designation, so long as such communications are in accordance with local practice regulations.

NSPE is pleased with the decision of the NCEES Council, and that they voted in a manner that preserves the integrity of the professional engineering licensure system.