In Minnesota, a Major Victory Against Additional Certifications
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has signed a bill specifying that professional engineers licensed in the state are qualified to practice engineering without additional licenses or certifications.
The legislation was pushed by the Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers, which believes that requiring professional engineers to gain additional licenses and certifications will not provide increased protection of the public health, safety, and welfare. Without the legislation, state and local agencies could have varying standards and requirements for qualifying individuals to practice engineering.
The bill, which was signed on May 7 and takes effect on August 1, clarifies the licensure requirements in the state’s professional engineers law. The new law states that a person licensed as a PE will be required to obtain a license, certification, or other form of approval for a skill or service in addition to a PE license only if the state or political subdivision has determined the additional license or certification is necessary to safeguard life, health, and property, and promote the public welfare. The bill doesn’t restrict the state or political subdivision from including additional requirements when soliciting public contracts for engineering services.
The governor’s signature is the final step in more than four years of hard work toward enactment of the bill, says MSPE Executive Director Mary Detloff. While the new law does not affect any additional licenses or certifications already in place, the society anticipates that its passage will stem the tide of future new licenses or certifications for professional engineers.
“The law recognizes the education and experience requirements of the professional engineering license as the gold standard of the engineering profession,” says Detloff. “Eliminating the automatic application of additional licenses or certifications to individuals already licensed as professional engineers should make it simpler and less costly for Minnesota PEs to conduct business.”
NSPE believes that professional engineering licensure is the only qualification for engineering practice. The Society and its state societies will actively oppose attempts to enact any local, state, or federal legislation or rule that would mandate certification in lieu of or beyond licensure as a legal requirement for the performance of engineering services. Following licensure as a professional engineer, individuals may voluntarily have their expertise in a specified field of engineering recognized through an appropriate specialty certification program. Such certification, NSPE argues, must not imply that other licensed professional engineers are less qualified for practice in a particular field of specialty.