NCEES seeks surveyor volunteers

NCEES is seeking volunteers who are licensed professional surveyors or surveyor interns to participate in a standard-setting study for the Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) exam. To qualify, volunteers must have taken and passed the NCEES FS exam.

The standard-setting study will take place July 27–28, 2012, in Atlanta, Georgia. Travel and lodging expenses will be paid by NCEES. Selected volunteers will review and rate the difficulty of items that will be included on the updated FS exam, which will be administered as a computer-based exam beginning in 2014. The volunteers’ responses will help NCEES determine the passing score for the FS exam.

Contact: NCEES Exam Development Engineer Charles Rutland, P.E., crutland@ncees.org 864-654-6824.


NCEES seeks engineer volunteers

NCEES is seeking volunteers who are licensed professional engineers or engineer interns to participate in a standard-setting study for the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. To qualify, volunteers must have taken and passed the NCEES FE exam. NCEES especially encourages recent engineer interns and recently licensed professional engineers to volunteer.

Selected volunteers will review and rate the difficulty of items that will be included on the updated FE exam, which will be administered as a computer-based exam beginning in 2014. The volunteers’ responses will help NCEES determine the passing score for the FE exam.

The standard-setting study will take place September 14–15, 2012, in Atlanta, Georgia. Travel and lodging expenses will be paid by NCEES.

Contact: NCEES Exam Development Engineer Thomas Dodd, Ph.D., P.E., FEstandards@ncees.org 864-654-6824


New developments in aftermath of Deepwater Horizon disaster emphasize role of licensure in ethical engineering practice

With the arrest of former BP engineer Kurt Mix putting the Deepwater Horizon disaster back in the headlines, it is important to remember the vital role that the licensing of engineers plays in protecting the American public, not just from technical incompetence but also from unethical practices.

Mix was arrested on April 24 on charges of obstruction of justice. He is accused of intentionally destroying electronic records related to the response to the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, which killed 11 and led to the largest oil spill in U.S. history. The first individual to face criminal charges following the disaster, Mix is accused of deleting hundreds of text messages, including some concerning the amount of oil potentially flowing into the Gulf of Mexico following the Macondo well explosions. While Mix should be afforded the presumption of innocence that any accused person is entitled to under our legal system, the allegations surrounding his arrest present an opportunity for sober judgment about the public’s interest in the practice of engineering.

Most of the media reports about Mix are referring to him as an engineer. Individuals such as Mix practice engineering in the private sector every day without a license under licensure exemptions. While state laws may not always require a license, NCEES is committed to advancing licensure for engineers to better protect the public from incompetent or unethical practice.

Professional engineers are licensed at the state level; they must meet education and experience requirements in addition to passing a standardized examination program. To maintain a license, a P.E. must adhere to a strict code of conduct, with the primary charge being to practice the profession in a manner that protects the health, safety, and welfare of the public. A professional engineer who violates this obligation is subject to losing his or her license.

In a statement released in June 2010 during efforts to stop the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, NCEES leadership highlighted the role of engineering licensure in protecting the public from incompetent or unethical practice. The latest developments in the Deepwater Horizon disaster call attention to the importance of ensuring that business activities do not sacrifice the well-being of our nation’s citizens. It is a mission to which NCEES and its member licensing boards remain firmly committed.

Dale Jans, P.E.
NCEES President

Jerry Carter
NCEES Executive Director


NCEES introduces PE exam for software engineering

NCEES is preparing to launch its latest Principles and Practice of Engineering exam, which will be used by engineering licensing boards across the United States. NCEES will begin offering a PE exam in software engineering in April 2013. After that, the exam will be administered yearly.

Partnering with NCEES as co-sponsor of the exam is IEEE-USA, assisted by the IEEE Computer Society, the National Society of Professional Engineers, and the Texas Board of Professional Engineers.

The NCEES board of directors approved the development of the new PE exam in 2009. In accordance with existing exam development policies, 10 member licensing boards of NCEES presented letters supporting the proposed exam.

Groups representing software engineers have long maintained that software engineering should be licensed because it is increasingly practiced in areas that reach into the everyday lives of the general public, such as traffic control systems and the electrical grid. An IEEE Computer Society survey of software engineers indicated that two-thirds of those employed in the industry support a licensure exam for their profession.

“With software engineering crucial to so many engineering projects, it’s important to regulate its practice in order to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public,” said NCEES President, Dale Jans, P.E.

For more information on the PE Software exam, visit ncees.org/exams. Registration for the April 2013 exam administration is scheduled to open mid-December 2012. The exam specifications—the test blueprint of knowledge areas to be tested and their relative weights of emphasis—are available online at ncees.org/exams. IEEE is planning to publish study materials for the exam later this year.

Contact: Charles Rutland, P.E., Exam Development Engineer


PE Industrial exam moving to spring administration

Following the October 2012 administration of its PE Industrial exam, NCEES is moving the exam to an April administration. The first offering of the exam with this new schedule will be in April 2013.

When the exam is offered in April 2013, it will also have new specifications, which indicate the knowledge areas to be tested and their relative weights of emphasis. As the developer of the exams used for engineering licensure in the United States, NCEES—in partnership with the Institute of Industrial Engineers—conducted a survey of licensed engineers working in industry, government, private practice, and academia to gather information about the knowledge and skills required of professionals in industrial engineering. With support from IIE, NCEES used the results to update the exam specifications.

“The exam will not change for the October 2012 administration,” explained Tim Miller, P.E, the director of exam services at NCEES. “We’ll offer the exam at the same time we have been, and we’ll use the current exam specifications. But in April 2013, we’ll begin holding the exam at a new time and using the updated specifications.”

The new specifications are available at the NCEES website. Updated study materials will be published in October 2012.

Contact: Susan Cline, P.E., Exam Development Engineer


NCEES leads NAE technical session on licensure

Three NCEES past presidents recently represented the organization at the 2012 National Academy of Engineering Convocation of Professional Engineering Societies. Gene Corley, Ph.D., P.E., S.E.; Jon Nelson, P.E.; and David Whitman, Ph.D., P.E., presented a technical session titled “P.E.: The Regulation of Engineering in the United States” at the April 16-17 event at the Keck Center of the National Academies in Washington, D.C.

Each presenter focused on a particular aspect of engineering licensure. Nelson gave an overview of the history of engineering licensure and the process of regulation in the United States. Whitman explained the requirements for licensure, including education, examination, and experience, which are to establish minimum competency. Corley, himself a member of NAE since 2000, discussed professional ethics and the standard of professional behavior required to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the public. The three then participated in a panel discussion, answering questions from the audience.

“It was a tremendous honor for NCEES to have this national platform to talk about the structure of engineering licensure and its role in protecting the public,” said NCEES President Dale Jans, P.E., who moderated the technical session. “It was a great forum for discussing the technical and ethical standards that set P.E.s apart.”

About NAE

Established in 1964, the National Academy of Engineering is a private, independent, nonprofit institution operated by congressional charter. Its members consist of the nation’s premier engineers, who are elected by their peers for seminal contributions to engineering. The academy provides leadership and guidance to government on the application of engineering resources to social, economic, and security problems.

The NAE is a member of the National Academies, which also includes the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council.

Download a PDF of the presentation


Licensure Exchange April 2012

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 2012 issue (PDF)

  • NCEES past presidents to lead NAE technical session
  • Committee Focus: Task force considers NCEES public outreach efforts
  • Committee Focus: NCEES must encourage new member participation to develop its future leaders
  • NCEES amends Credentials Evaluations policy to expand service
  • From the President: Advancing licensure requires efforts of many
  • Enforcement Beat: Protecting use of the term “engineer” continues to demand attention
  • Headquarters Update: Promoting adoption of the Model Law is audacious but not impossible
  • ANSI recognizes NCEES Model Law Structural Engineer standard
  • NCEES judges emphasize surveying practices at Future City competition
  • Proposed Bylaws amendments available for review
  • Member board news, upcoming events, and NCEES outreach
  • NCEES seeks engineer volunteers for FE standard-setting study

Browse the Licensure Exchange archives.


Credentials Evaluations policy amended to expand service

The NCEES board of directors recently approved an amendment to the policy that governs the NCEES Engineering Standard to expand access to its credentials evaluations service.

NCEES uses this standard to evaluate educational credentials of engineering licensure candidates with degrees from the following:

  • Engineering programs outside the United States
  • U.S.-based programs in engineering, engineering technology, related science, or mathematics that are not accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, when coupled with a master’s degree or doctorate from a program that is EAC/ABET-accredited at the undergraduate or graduate level

Candidates in the above categories are typically referred to NCEES Credentials Evaluations by a state licensing board where they are applying for licensure. Licensing boards use these evaluations to decide whether candidates meet the educational requirements for licensure as a professional engineer in their particular state.

State boards have a range of educational scenarios they are willing to consider, but not without a credentials evaluation. Although rare, it is an issue that has come up several times since NCEES began using the standard in January 2012.

“Without an evaluation, a state board may be unable to accept the education, and the applicant couldn’t be considered for licensure,” explained Stef Goodenow, manager of NCEES Credentials Evaluations. “We wanted to amend our policy to address this.”

Therefore, at its February 2012 meeting, the NCEES board of directors voted to amend the Credentials Evaluations policy to include a provision to allow state boards to determine if they would like to see the individual’s education compared to the engineering education standard.

“Adding this extra option will allow NCEES to better meet the specific needs of its individual member boards,” said NCEES Executive Director Jerry Carter.

Requesting an evaluation

To request an evaluation that falls outside the scope of the standard, a member board must send a written request to credeval@ncees.org.


NCEES celebrates National Surveyors Week

National Surveyors Week, which is taking place March 18–24, is designed to raise awareness of the surveying profession. NCEES encourages professional surveyors to promote their profession to students; its Surveying Speakers Kit to make it easy to explain the licensure process for surveyors. If you are interested in obtaining a Surveying Speakers Kit or becoming a speaker, visit the NCEES Educational Resources page and complete a contact form.

In addition, the National Society of Professional Surveyors has a website, surveyingcareer.com (now defunct), with information geared toward middle- and high-school students. This site shows what surveyors do and provides resources for persons interested in learning more about the profession.

Twice a year, thousands of candidates seeking professional surveying licensure take the FS and PS exams at sites throughout the country. Visit the NCEES Exams page to learn more about these exams. For general information about the licensing process for professional surveyors, visit the Licensure page.


National Engineers Week is February 19–25

National Engineers Week, which is taking place February 19–25, celebrates the positive contributions engineers make to society. Focusing on the theme “7 billion people, 7 billion dreams,” Engineers Week 2012 celebrates the contributions engineers make globally and how engineers are making a world of difference to every individual’s life.

Founded in 1951, Engineers Week is one of the oldest engineering outreach efforts in the United States. It focuses on increasing public understanding and appreciation of engineers’ contributions to society. EWeek includes New Faces of Engineering, the Future City Competition, Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, and Discover Engineering Family Day.

This, EWeek has added two new initiatives to its lineup of annual activities:

  • The DiscoverE Educator Recognition Award Program celebrates educators who are helping students discover engineering. The program gives engineers and engineering students the opportunity to nominate teachers in grades 6–12 who are helping their students excel in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects.
  • NCEES, along with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, is sponsoring New Faces of Engineering: College Edition. The program launched April 3 through Facebook (facebook.com/collegeedition). It is focused on recognizing the best and brightest third-, fourth-, and fifth-year engineering students.

NCEES is a longtime sponsor of the EWeek foundation. Find out more at eweek.org.