At annual meeting, NCEES continues to address additional education requirements

August 28, 2009

At its 2009 Annual Meeting in Louisville, NCEES delegates continued to address issues related to the additional education requirement for engineering licensure that, upon adoption by any specific state-level jurisdiction, could go into effect as early as 2020.

The additional education requirement now calls for an engineering licensure candidate to obtain a master’s degree or its equivalent prior to attempting the PE exam, which is typically the final hurdle in the engineering licensure process. The first such language was approved for addition to the Model Law by Council vote in 2006. Over the past three years, several additions and modifications to the language were approved to adjust and clarify the requirement. Before 2006, NCEES Model Law required only an engineering bachelor’s degree from an EAC/ABET-accredited program.

At this year’s meeting, delegates passed a resolution calling for the Engineering Education Task Force to study alternatives to the master’s or equivalent requirement, including an alternative to “reform the bachelor’s degree program” to incorporate into undergraduate engineering degrees “the appropriate education requirements to practice at a professional level.”

Later in the business session, the Council approved a motion presented by the Engineering Education Task Force to move forward with developing a clearinghouse for evaluating candidates’ education qualifications. The clearinghouse would be used when a candidate does not have a master’s degree but presents additional education for consideration as being equivalent to a master’s degree. In explaining the rationale for proposing such a clearinghouse, task force chair Michael Conzett, P.E., of Nebraska said the clearinghouse would allow for consistency across NCEES member licensing boards in interpreting the “or equivalent” clause of the master’s or equivalent requirement. The Council also formally incorporated into the Model Law language that further clarifies the master’s or equivalent requirement.

“Judging from its actions at the Annual Meeting, the Council expressed its will to continue with the effort to strengthen the educational qualification for licensure but also to continue the dialogue with all concerned parties,” said Executive Director Jerry Carter. “It is clear that the Council members want to ensure that other feasible alternatives are investigated. I look forward to seeing how this process unfolds as NCEES works to build consensus on this important issue.”

Contact: Jerry T. Carter, Executive Director