NCEES adopts position statement on the future of engineering licensure

The U.S. engineering and surveying licensure boards that make up NCEES have voted to adopt a position statement on future engineering education requirements for licensure as a professional engineer. The decision was made during the organization’s 2015 annual meeting, held August 19–22 in Williamsburg, Virginia.

The development of the position statement follows a 2014 vote to remove from the NCEES Model Law and Model Rules the additional education requirements for engineering licensure that were set to take effect in 2020 in order to allow work on implementation to continue without a set effective date. These requirements called for an engineering licensure candidate to obtain a master’s degree or its equivalent before initial licensure.

The NCEES Advisory Committee on Council Activities was charged this year with developing a position statement that reflected the future education requirements removed in 2014, with the aim of continuing to address the issue.

In addition to asserting the organization’s dedication to ensuring that the education requirements for engineering licensure continue to safeguard the public in the future, the statement outlines several pathways for a licensure candidate to obtain the body of knowledge necessary to enter the profession. It also reaffirms NCEES’ commitment to engaging with technical engineering societies and other interested parties to explore additional education pathways.

“The vision of NCEES focuses providing leadership in engineering and surveying licensure to safeguard the public and shape the future of professional licensure,” said NCEES Chief Executive Officer Jerry Carter. “This is a complex issue with many stakeholders; NCEES will use this position statement to guide its efforts to engage with those stakeholders and ensure that licensing standards continue to protect the public in the future.”

Ultimately, each jurisdiction will make its own decisions on future engineering licensure requirements. NCEES member boards maintain the Model Law and Model Rules as best practice manuals, but U.S. states and territories set their own licensing laws and rules. “Each state and territory will decide individually whether to amend its requirements, but the member boards of NCEES are working together to fully consider these issues,” Carter said.

The full text of NCEES Position Statement 35, Future Education Requirements for Engineering Licensure is available on the NCEES website.

Expanding international use of exams

Among other actions taken at the annual meeting, delegates voted to authorize the negotiation of a contract with the Egyptian Engineering Syndicate to offer the Fundamentals of Engineering exam in Egypt to graduates of the country’s engineering programs, regardless of whether they are accredited by the ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission.

The Egyptian Engineering Syndicate will use the FE exam to assist with assessing the quality of the engineering education in Egypt. It also plans to require the candidates to pass the exam to practice engineering in the country. Additionally, successful candidates could use it as a step toward engineering licensure with a U.S. state or territory.

The computer-based exam will be offered in Egypt at approved Pearson VUE test centers. As at U.S.-based testing sites, examinees will be required to adhere to strict security measures to protect the integrity of NCEES licensing exams.

NCEES currently offers the FE exam in Egypt to students and graduates of the American University in Cairo. The agreement with the Egyptian Engineering Syndicate, which individuals are required to be a member of to practice engineering in Egypt, could potentially bring as many as 25,000 more FE examinees each year. The exam is currently administered to approximately 45,000 examinees each year in the United States.

Promoting the surveying profession

Increasing the number of professional surveyors was another key concern at the annual meeting. NCEES member boards voted to fund a meeting of surveying organizations to discuss how to best attract a diverse cross section of people to the profession. The group will recommend additional outreach opportunities to promote surveying as a career, including potential collaborations with other organizations.

Delegates also voted to implement a new initiative to support surveying education at the college level. The program will recognize up to 10 professional surveying programs of distinction each year, awarding each up to $10,000. NCEES staff and members will work together in the coming year to develop the program, including finalizing award criteria.

These efforts to promote the surveying profession follow the work of the Future of Surveying Task Force, which was formed in 2014 to address the decline in the number of surveyors entering the profession in the United States.

Full details on all motions considered during the annual meeting will be included in the official minutes, which will be published later this year.