NSPE Leads Effort to Clarify “Professional Engineers” In Federal Communications Commission Public Notices

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Under the leadership of NSPE, several engineering societies have submitted a letter to the Federal Communications Commission thanking the commission for its continual use of professional engineers but requesting that the FCC revise language in public notices indicating that a licensed professional engineer does not have to have an engineering license.

The recent FCC Public Notice DA 18-887 includes a reference to a “professional engineer,” but without the requirement of licensure:

“While it is not necessary that the professional engineer certifying the network diagram have a Professional Engineer license, the certification should describe the professional engineer’s qualifications such that the certifier’s expertise is apparent.”

The engineering societies emphasize that the terminology “Professional Engineer” should only be used consistent with state laws and regulations. As articulated in the letter, “using the term ‘professional engineer’ in Commission rules and communications in a manner that directly conflicts with state and territorial licensing laws and regulations creates significant confusion and will ultimately result in unlawful use of an engineering title that violates state and territorial licensing laws and regulations.”

Going forward, NSPE requests that the Federal Communications Commission continue to require the use of the licensed professional engineer and to use the definition of “professional engineer” found in state law to avoid the unlawful use of an engineering title. Use of the PE designation and requirement will also reduce the amount of time needed by the FCC to ensure this requirement of knowledge, training, and experience is actually met.