The Future of Professional Engineering

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"The opinions and recommendations presented in this paper are intended to encourage further understanding and do not necessarily reflect any official position of NSPE."


This NSPE report, entitled The Future of Professional Engineering: Continued Protection of the Public Health, Safety and Welfare Through Professional Engineering Licensure, was developed by a team of volunteers appointed to the NSPE Future of Professional Engineering (“FOPE”) Task Force of the National Society of Professional Engineers (“NSPE”) from June 2016 to July 2018 and presents a discussion of a range of issues that are expected to impact professional engineers and professional engineering in the coming decades – emerging technologies, industrial exemptions, public policy, engineering education, globalization, alternative project delivery, the role of engineering technicians/technologists, public sector engagement and other critical issues.

The FOPE Task Force has presented this report with the intent that it will encourage thoughtful discussion around the recommendations identified herein. While the FOPE Task Force worked diligently to analyze key issues and concerns from many different perspectives and gathered input from many different sources, additional input and insight is warranted as professional engineering progresses through the twenty-first century. Further, this report is not intended to be, or capable of being, all-encompassing of every key consideration related to professional engineering and the continued protection of the public health, safety, and welfare.

The summaries, recommendations, and conclusions were developed over a two-year period through various discussions, exchanges, and considerations by the Task Force. The opinions and recommendations presented in this paper are intended promote further understanding and discussion of the topics identified herein; they do not necessarily reflect those of NSPE, the individual members of the Task Force, the professional organizations or local, state, or federal agencies identified herein, or the employers or other affiliated professional organizations or societies of the Task Force members. Only those recommendations later incorporated into NSPE Professional Policies, Position Statements, or other official communications represent the position of NSPE.