NSPE Structural Engineering Licensure Talking Points

  • Of paramount importance to licensure as a professional engineer is the ethical commitment to limit one’s area of practice only to those fields of engineering in which he or she can demonstrate competence.

  • A PE who is not fully competent to perform structural engineering is already ethically obligated not to do so, even as he or she is obligated not to practice in other areas that are beyond their established expertise and competence.

  • The obligation to stay current and practice in one’s own field is the bedrock of PE licensure and is not limited to or required by separate discipline-specific licensure.

  • For decades, licensure as a professional engineer has been central to protecting the public health, safety and welfare.

  • As we face increasingly complex challenges, NSPE believes that the continued recognition of PE licensure as the defining qualification for practice is critical to guaranteeing the trust and protection of the public. Layers of licensing requirements would cloud that perspective and create uncertainty.

  • The current system recognizes that the line between disciplines can at times be difficult to demarcate and therefore, allows the individual professional to exercise the appropriate professional judgment, autonomy and discretion similar to other professionals rather than controlling by rigid, bureaucratic means. Many of the SE activities are also activities of other civil engineering professionals (site, geotechnical, foundation, etc.) which tend to cross over discipline boundaries. Wouldn’t such a change then, interfere with the practice of thousands of duly licensed and qualified professional civil engineers?

  • The discussion regarding a separate SE license does not address the success of the current system. Tens of thousands of superb structures have been designed and built not only without harm, but in fact with great benefit to the public.