Position Statement: It is the position of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) that all engineers who are in responsible charge of the practice of engineering, as defined in the NCEES Model Law and Rules, that potentially impacts the public health, safety, and welfare should be required by all jurisdictions to be licensed professional engineers. NSPE recommends eliminating Engineering Licensure exemptions in state licensing laws.
Many engineers have responsibility for activities that directly affect the public health, safety, and welfare. However, exemptions in current state licensing laws place certain individuals and organizations performing engineering services outside of the licensing system. Exempt individuals and organizations are not subject to the same legal and ethical requirements as those who are licensed. These exemptions undermine the intended purpose of engineering licensure, and may leave the public in danger of receiving services from individuals who may not have the ability to make Engineering decisions in a way that would provide adequate protection of public health, safety and welfare. After becoming licensed, professional engineers are subject to individual state licensing laws and rules of professional conduct and are bound by enforceable ethical and legal duties for the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare.
The public interest is best served when someone in the decision chain not only has proper technical expertise, but also a duty to safety that overrides all other considerations. The licensed professional engineer serves this role.