NSPE Urges U.S. Office of Personnel Management to Strengthen Qualification Standards

Release Status: 
Contact Name: 
Stacey Ober
Contact Number: 
Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The National Society of Professional Engineers has urged the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to strengthen its qualification standards for filling federal professional engineering positions. OPM recently issued a proposed draft revision to the current qualification standards that would add ABET-accredited engineering technology bachelor degrees as qualifying for professional engineering positions.

While NSPE greatly values the important role of the engineering technologists as part of the engineering team, the "professional engineer" is a protected term in all 50 states. The existing individual occupational requirements for a professional engineering position in the federal government do not meet the requirements for PE licensure. In fact, in certain instances, the federal government considers education alone a sufficient qualification for professional engineer status. By revising the qualification standards to require only a bachelor's degree in engineering technology, OPM will be further eroding basic and long-established standards for the professional engineering practice.

In a letter to OPM Deputy Associate Director Kimberly Holden, NSPE President Robert Green, P.E., F.NSPE writes, "Licensed professional engineers have always and continue to play a critically important role in designing innovative solutions to societal challenges and in protecting the public health, safety, and welfare. At a time when the federal government is seeking to promote broad economic prosperity and to enhance our national security, all federal agencies must show leadership and establish and maintain high engineering qualifications and standards for employees in the federal workforce."

NSPE strongly urged the OPM to instead revise the qualification standard for professional engineering positions to require a PE for professional engineering occupations. NSPE and OPM share a common mission to ensure that all engineers' foremost priority is to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. A PE's rigorous training and demonstrated expertise is a prerequisite to meeting this goal.

For more information or questions concerning this, please contact NSPE's Manager of Government Relations Arielle Eiser at aeiser@nspe.org. Read President Green's letter to Deputy Associate Director Holden.

Additional Notes: 

The National Society of Professional Engineers is the national society of licensed professional engineers from all disciplines that promotes the ethical and competent practice of engineering, advocates licensure, and enhances the image and well-being of its members. Founded in 1934, NSPE serves more than 35,000 members and the public through 53 state and territorial societies and more than 400 chapters. For more information, please visit www.nspe.org.