NCEES approves revised approach to education initiative

The U.S. engineering and surveying licensing boards that make up NCEES have voted to modify the approach to requiring additional education for initial engineering licensure by removing specific language in the NCEES Model Law and Model Rules, originally intended to be effective in 2020.

The decision was made during the 2014 NCEES annual meeting, held August 20–23 in Seattle, Washington. As part of the vote, annual meeting delegates decided to instead develop an official NCEES position statement that supports additional engineering education beyond a bachelor’s degree.

“NCEES remains committed to improving education standards to better prepare engineers to enter the profession and will work with other engineering organizations, educators, and the professional engineering community to reach that goal,” said NCEES Chief Executive Officer Jerry Carter. “NCEES voted to remove these requirements to avoid confusion and unintended comity licensure barriers while it works on the specifics of the requirement.”

The additional education requirement in the Model Law and Model Rules—the NCEES best-practice models for state licensure laws and rules—called for an engineering licensure candidate to obtain a master’s degree or its equivalent before initial licensure. The requirement was first added to the model documents by Council vote in 2006. In subsequent years, NCEES annual meeting delegates approved several additions and modifications to the language to adjust and clarify the requirement.

The Council’s latest decision means that in 2020 the NCEES Model Law and Model Rules will continue to require an engineering bachelor’s degree from an EAC/ABET-accredited program to fulfill the education requirement for engineering licensure.

Carter explained that having the additional education requirement in the model documents was creating uncertainty about what would be required for licensure in the future and impacting students entering engineering programs.

“The language about requiring additional education beyond the  bachelor’s degree was inserted in the NCEES model governance documents to reflect the belief of the Council that significant  revisions are needed in the education of engineers to ensure that they are prepared to enter the professional practice of engineering. Because the language had been incorporated into the NCEES Model Law and Model Rules but had not yet been adopted by any individual licensing board, it was causing confusion among  students, educators, and professional engineers,” he said.

Another key issue was the effect on the NCEES Records program, which is used by professional engineers across the country to facilitate comity licensure, the process by which a professional engineer licensed in one state gets licensed in another.

Carter explained, “For those who meet the Model Law Engineer or Model Law Structural Engineer standard, many states expedite a comity licensure application. In 2020, the MLE and MLSE standards would have required a master’s degree or the equivalent. If no state requires a master’s, most licensees would no longer meet the MLE and MLSE standards, which would have slowed comity licensure. NCEES is dedicated to facilitating licensure among states, so it wants to avoid this impediment.”

The NCEES Advisory Committee on Council Activities has been charged to develop the position statement supporting additional education for initial engineering licensure and will present it for adoption by the Council at the 2015 annual meeting.

Removing prerequisite in licensure requirements

Among other actions taken at the annual meeting, NCEES member boards voted to remove its Model Law prerequisite that four years of progressive engineering experience be earned before a licensure candidate can take the final licensing exam, the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam.

Delegates voted in 2013 to remove the prerequisite, and the NCEES Committee on Uniform Procedures and Legislative Guidelines was charged this year with proposing specific amendments to the language to effect the change. The Council voted to approve the proposed amendments.

Carter said that the change does not alter the requirements themselves. “The Model Law still requires four years of engineering experience for licensure. You don’t have to meet the experience requirement before you can take the PE exam, but you do have to earn this experience, along with meeting the education and exam requirements, before you can become licensed as a professional engineer.”

This change to the Model Law is subject to implementation at the state level. “Each jurisdiction will decide whether to remove the prerequisite aspect of the experience requirement from its laws or policies, and some have already done so,” Carter explained.

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


Widmer begins term as NCEES president

David Widmer, P.L.S., began his term as 2014–15 NCEES president at the conclusion of the organization’s annual meeting, held August 20–23 in Seattle, Washington.

A resident of Rochester, Pennsylvania, Widmer was a member of the Pennsylvania State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists from 1991 to 2011 and is now an emeritus member. He is president of Widmer Engineering Inc., a consulting firm based in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. He replaces outgoing president Patty Mamola, P.E., of Nevada, who will remain on the NCEES board of directors as immediate past president.

Also during the annual meeting, NCEES members elected Michael Conzett, P.E., of Nebraska president-elect for the 2014–15 term.

NCEES welcomed Christy VanBuskirk, P.E., of Iowa and Patrick Tami, P.L.S., of California to its board of directors as well. VanBuskirk and Tami will serve two-year terms as vice presidents of the Central Zone and Western Zone, respectively.

Rounding out the board of directors are three members serving the second year of their two-year terms: Gary Thompson, P.L.S., of North Carolina continues as treasurer; James Purcell, P.E., of New Jersey returns as Northeast Zone vice president; and Daniel Turner, Ph.D., P.E., P.L.S., of Alabama continues as Southern Zone vice president.

Detailed information about NCEES governance can be found here.

PDF downloads

David Widmer, P.L.S.
Michael Conzett, P.E.
Patrick Tami, P.L.S.
Christy VanBuskirk, P.E.


NCEES recognizes long-standing service

At its 93rd annual meeting, NCEES honored several members for their longtime service to the organization and the engineering and surveying professions. The 2014 NCEES award winners are

  • J. Richard (Dick) Cottingham, P.E., P.L.S., of South Carolina, who received the Distinguished Service Award with Special Commendation
  • B. David Cox, executive director of the Kentucky Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, who received the Meritorious Service Award
  • Edward Roche, Sc.D., P.E., of Florida, who received the Distinguished Examination Service Award

The winners were honored at an awards banquet on August 22 at the NCEES annual meeting in Seattle, Washington.

PDF downloads


Licensure Exchange August 2014

Read the latest issue of Licensure Exchange, the NCEES publication dedicated to opinions and ideas regarding the licensure of engineers and surveyors.

Download the August 2014 issue (PDF).

  • New CBT exams give opportunity to improve subject matter reports
  • President–elect nominee and incoming vice presidents discuss vision for NCEES
  • From the President: Focus on the basic questions of who, what, and where key to future of engineering and surveying
  • Headquarters Update: Decoupling experience—An evolution of the model
  • Enforcement Beat: Sharing critical information—The case for board compliance officers
  • Member boards news, upcoming events, and NCEES outreach
  • NCEES launches mobile app for annual meeting

Browse the Licensure Exchange archives.


Licensure Exchange June 2014

Read the latest issue of Licensure Exchange, the NCEES publication dedicated to opinions and ideas regarding the licensure of engineers and surveyors.

Download the June 2014 issue

  • Committee Focus: Help us introduce NCEES to Seattle
  • First NCEES-sponsored EWB-USA grants awarded
  • From the President: It’s time to find new ways to get more women in engineering and improve diversity
  • Enforcement Beat: Committee addresses use of confidential information for personal profit
  • Headquarters Update: Redefining the surveyor of the future
  • Remembering Past President Paul Munger
  • Member Board Brief: Are member boards serious about improving mobility for P.E.s?
  • Seattle University wins 2014 NCEES Engineering Award
  • Member board news, upcoming events, and NCEES outreach
  • NCEES annual meeting registration open online until July 7

Browse the Licensure Exchange archives.


Update on April 2014 exam results

The results of the April 2014 PE and PS exams were released to NCEES member licensing boards on May 20. The SE exam results were released on June 17.

This video explains some of the steps in the scoring process that take place between when your exam is submitted and your result is released:

How and when examinees receive their results will vary by state. Some boards use NCEES Exam Administration Services to release the results directly to examinees; some release them through another testing service such as PCS; and other boards release the results themselves. In addition, some state boards must validate the results at a board meeting before they can release them to examinees.

To find out how you will receive your results, go to the exams page, select your state from the drop-down menu on the right, select your exam, and look for the Results subhead.

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Seattle University wins 2014 NCEES Engineering Award

Electrical and computer engineering department takes $25,000 prize for microgrid system

NCEES is pleased to announce that the Seattle University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is the grand prize winner of the 2014 NCEES Engineering Award for Connecting Professional Practice and Education. The award jury met June 3, 2014, in Clemson, South Carolina, to select the $25,000 grand prize winner.

The department received the top prize for its submission, Microgrid System for a Wind and Solar Farm Located in Rural Kenya. For the project, electrical engineering students worked as part of a team that also included faculty, professional engineers, and other professionals to design a hybrid wind- and solar-power microgrid system to provide electricity to a school and surrounding community in Muhuru Bay, Kenya.

The jury praised the project for its strong interaction with professional engineers as well as its applications for communities in the United States and abroad.

The jury selected five additional winners to receive awards of $7,500 each:

  • The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina
    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Wave Dissipation System
  • North Carolina State University
    UNC/NCSU Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering
    Creating a Better Way to Locate Vasculature for Intravenous Therapy
  • Seattle University
    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Historic Landmark Incline Lift Structural Evaluation and Retrofit
  • University of Evansville
    College of Engineering and Computer Science
    Fairfield Reservoir and Dam
  • University of Notre Dame
    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences
    Innovative Housing Solutions for Post-Quake Haiti

The NCEES Engineering Award recognizes engineering programs that encourage collaboration between students and professional engineers. EAC/ABET-accredited programs from all engineering disciplines were invited to submit projects that integrate professional practice and education.

The winners were selected by a jury of NCEES members and representatives from academic institutions and professional engineering organizations. The 11 jury members considered criteria such as

  • Successful collaboration of faculty, students, and licensed professional engineers
  • Benefit to public health, safety, and welfare
  • Multidiscipline and/or allied profession participation
  • Knowledge or skills gained

“It is imperative that students preparing to enter the engineering profession understand the vital importance of technical competency and ethical practice,” said NCEES President Patty Mamola, P.E. “These projects, which represent a variety of engineering disciplines, are great examples of innovative ways to prepare students for professional practice. We hope they will inspire other engineering programs to incorporate similar collaborations.”

Profiles of the winning submissions are available here.


Licensure Exchange April 2014

Read the latest issue of Licensure Exchange, the NCEES publication dedicated to opinions and ideas regarding the licensure of engineers and surveyors.

Download the April 2014 issue (PDF).

  • NCEES makes a difference with Engineers Week
  • From the President: Boards must ask what they can do to improve mobility in their jurisdictions
  • NSPE Engineering Body of Knowledge defines key capabilities for a P.E.
  • Annual meeting puts bigger picture of national council in focus
  • Member Board Brief: Sex offenses and their reasonable relationship to professional practice
  • Enforcement Beat: Member boards must help each other to better protect the public
  • Headquarters Update: NCEES works to promote licensure
  • Member board news, upcoming events, and NCEES outreach
  • Remembering Past President Martin Pedersen

Browse the Licensure Exchange archives.


Celebrate National Surveyors Week

National Surveyors Week, which is taking place March 16–22, is designed to raise awareness of the surveying profession. This annual event is the perfect opportunity to introduce K–12 students to the many career paths open to professional surveyors.

The National Society of Professional Surveyors, which sponsors Surveyors Week, has a new volunteer kit to explain how you can get involved. Visit nsps.us.com to download a free copy.

On March 22, celebrate GPS Day, a Surveyors Week event in which geocachers and surveyors can participate in one of largest collections of GPS data at sites throughout the United States. Find out more at gpsday.com.

NCEES also encourages professional surveyors to promote their profession to university students. Its Speakers Kit for Surveyors makes it easy to explain the licensure process for surveyors. If you are interested in obtaining a Speaker’s Kit or becoming a speaker, visit the NCEES Outreach page and complete a contact form.


DiscoverE 2014 Engineers Week is February 16–22

Let’s make a difference.

Most Americans, kids and adults, do not know what engineering is or what engineers do. They don’t know that engineering is a collaborative, creative process that makes a difference in all of our lives—from advances in life-saving medicines to more-productive crop yields to clean drinking water. The DiscoverE Engineers Week, which is being held February 16–22, is a time to make a difference by celebrating engineering accomplishments and sharing knowledge, experiences, and enthusiasm. It is a time to turn comments like “I didn’t know that” into exclamations of “I want to do that!”

Below are some ways that NCEES is participating in this national celebration and promoting both the engineering and surveying professions.

  • NCEES is again the primary sponsor of New Faces of Engineering—College Edition. This national initiative recognizes the best and brightest 3rd-, 4th-, and 5th-year engineering students, whose academic successes and experiences in the engineering field have positioned them to start making an impact.
  • NCEES is sponsoring the Future City Best Land Surveying Practices special award at the regional and national levels. This award recognizes the design that employs the best land surveying practices, taking into consideration the high standards used by surveyors to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare. NCEES has sponsored this award at the national Future City competition for 10 years, and this is its second year offering it at the regional level. By expanding into the regional competitions, NCEES introduced 2,200 teams to the surveying profession in 2013. That’s a total of 35,000 middle-school students and 2,200 middle-school teachers.

To take part in DiscoverE Engineers Week and other outreach initiatives throughout the year, go to discovere.org and read about the many programs available. NCEES and professional engineers have an important role to play in increasing awareness of the many ways that engineers and surveyors protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public every day.