Why Licensure Matters

The Value of Licensure

Professional engineering and surveying licensure provides public protection.

The safety of buildings, bridges, roads, and other structures and technologies used in our everyday lives depends on licensed professional engineers and surveyors who have successfully demonstrated a level of competence through education, experience, and examination requirements.

These “3 Es” are an important distinction between highly complex, technical professions such as engineering and surveying, and the trade and vocational occupations.

photo of a female surveyor on the job

How Professional licensure Protects the Public


Professional licensure for engineers and surveyors provides a baseline level of proven standards necessary to protect the public. Education, experience, and examinations are the three pillars of public protection.


Public protection is particularly critical in highly complex, technical professions where the public does not have the specialized knowledge needed to evaluate qualifications and performance.


Once licensed, licensed professional engineers and surveyors must adhere to a strict code of conduct that requires them to practice in a manner that safeguards the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

Why Engineering and Surveying Licensure Matter

In most cases, consumers can choose a service provider based on recommendations and then decide whether to continue using them based on their own level of satisfaction. There is usually minimal risk to public safety in these types of services. However, this is not true for highly technical professions such as engineering and surveying.

Consumers do not get to choose who builds the bridges and roads they drive on every day. They must rely on their state lawmakers to ensure their safety through licensing standards that require engineers and surveyors to demonstrate a level of competence through education, examinations, and experience.

Weakening or eliminating licensure standards for engineers and surveyors puts the public at an increased level of risk. Since the first licensure laws were established, lawmakers in every state have taken seriously their responsibility to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public in situations where they are unable to do so for themselves. This commitment must continue.

When there is a high impact on public safety and welfare, more than 70% of voters believe it is important to regulate professions such as engineering, surveying, and other related fields like architecture, landscape architecture, and accounting.

Source: Benenson Strategy Group Survey, 2019

Learning From The Past
Safeguarding The Future


The St. Francis Dam in California collapsed, killing more than 430 people. It is widely considered one of the worst American civil engineering disasters of the 20th century.


In New London, Texas, a school explosion caused by a natural gas leak killed 300 people.

In response to the New London explosion, the Texas state legislature enacted legislation that would later become known as the Texas Engineering Practice Act and included the following statement:

“The purpose of this chapter is to: enable the state and the public to identify persons authorized to practice engineering in this state…It therefore becomes apparent that this legislation was not enacted to restrict the number of practitioners, but rather to safeguard life, health, and property and protect the public welfare.”

Both of these tragic incidents, as well as similar ones in other states, served as a catalyst for professional engineering and surveying licensing laws in their respective states and throughout the country. Those lawmakers of long ago took the necessary steps to create licensing laws that protect the citizens of their states.