Licensure Exchange December 2010

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

Licensure Exchange December 2010 (PDF)

  • Enforcement Beat: Education, outreach are key to effective enforcement
  • Committees, task forces begin addressing Council issues for 2010–11
  • How are we providing leadership continuity?
  • Board of Directors approves exam item costs
  • From the President: Thanks to professional engineers, surveyors who volunteer to write exams
  • NCEES prepares for first administration of new Structural Engineering exam
  • Headquarters Update: NCEES staff works to be good stewards of environment and Council resources
  • Ontario removes citizenship, residency requirements for P.Eng.s
  • New editions of PE exam study materials published

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NCEES seeks Environmental P.E. volunteers

NCEES is currently seeking volunteers who are licensed professional environmental engineers to participate in a standard-setting study for the updated PE Environmental exam. Selected volunteers will review the PE Environmental exam that will be administered in April 2011 and rate the difficulty of each item on the test. The volunteers’ responses will help NCEES determine the new passing score for the PE Environmental exam. The standard-setting study will take place April 29–30, 2011, at NCEES headquarters in Clemson, S.C. Travel and lodging expenses will be paid by NCEES.

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

NCEES approves new engineering education standard for credentials evaluations

On January 1, 2011, NCEES will begin using a new standard for its education credentials evaluations for engineering licensure candidates. NCEES will use this standard to evaluate

  • Engineering degree programs outside the United States
  • U.S.-based degree 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 the state board where they are applying for licensure.

The NCEES Engineering Education Standard (PDF) was developed by an advisory group of state licensing board members and administrators along with NCEES staff. The group worked in consultation with state licensing boards to determine the minimal education requirements necessary to be considered for entry into the engineering profession. The standard will replace the existing practice of comparing a candidate’s educational history against ABET accreditation criteria.

“The big advantage of using the new standard is that NCEES will evaluate graduate-level coursework in addition to work at the bachelor’s level,” Executive Director Jerry Carter said. “Now, we can give licensing boards an assessment of an applicant’s whole educational experience.”

The new standard will apply to applications completed on or after January 1, 2011. Applications are considered completed when all requested documents have been submitted to NCEES.

Licensure Exchange October 2010

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

Licensure Exchange October 2010 (PDF)

  • From the President: Managing change is our ongoing charge
  • Annual Meeting generates important debate and decisions
  • Headquarters Update: Council decisions define activity for coming year
  • D.C. National Mall to host first USA Science and Engineering Festival
  • Nominations open for NCEES service awards
  • NCEES urges P.E. seals for crane foundation designs
  • FE, FS exams begin gradual move to computer-based format
  • Enforcement Beat: In combating unlicensed practice, boards should put NCEES tools to use
  • NCEES installs 2010–11 Board of Directors

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NCEES urges P.E. seals for tower crane foundation designs

The following letter was submitted to Engineering News-Record (ENR) in response to their recent coverage of tower crane accidents in the construction industry.

ENR’s August 16 article, “Gutsy Builder Took A Quantum Leap,” references new OSHA regulations set to go into effect later this year concerning the certification of crane operators. NCEES would like to bring attention to another aspect of crane safety: the design of tower crane foundations and the qualifications of those who sign off on them.

Last month, the state licensing boards that comprise NCEES voted to adopt a position statement that recommends that the state boards actively pursue enforcement of statutes and rules concerning engineering supervision over the design of tower crane foundations. The statement recommends that foundation design documents be prepared and sealed by a licensed professional engineer (P.E.) and that the P.E. review the erection of the crane for compliance with the design and specifications for its foundation. The full text of the position statement can be found below.

The guidelines published by OSHA that will go into effect this year include a similar provision concerning the design of tower crane foundations. The member boards of NCEES have signaled their intention to enforce this as a part of their ongoing mission to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare.


Jerry Carter
Executive Director, NCEES


Position Statement 32, Tower Cranes

NCEES recognizes that the use of tower cranes—including assembly/erection, climbing, dismantling, and hoisting—exposes the public to a level of risk to health, safety, and welfare.

NCEES recommends that member boards actively pursue enforcement of statutes and rules with local permitting authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ) regarding the engineering supervision over the design and erection procedures related to the foundations of tower cranes.

To implement the above, the following is recommended:

  • Foundation design documents shall be prepared by a qualified licensed professional engineer or a licensed structural engineer, as required, and the documents are to be sealed by the engineer.
  • Supervision by a qualified licensed professional engineer or a licensed structural engineer is required in the review of erection of the crane for compliance with the engineer’s design and specifications for the tower crane foundations.

NCEES recognizes members for their service

NCEES recently recognized several members for their longtime service to the organization, the licensing boards on which they serve, and the engineering and surveying professions. The 2010 NCEES award winners are

  • Larry Smith, P.E., of Rhode Island, who received the Distinguished Service Award with Special Commendation
  • James Foley, P.E., S.E., G.E., of California; Skip Harclerode, P.E., of Maryland; Peter Hutchison, P.E., P.L.S., of Wyoming; and Ted Sack, P.L.S., of Oklahoma, each of whom received the Distinguished Service Award
  • Peggy Abshagen, the executive director of the Delaware Association of Professional Engineers, who received the Meritorious Service Award

The award winners were honored at an awards luncheon held during the NCEES Annual Meeting, which took place August 18–21 in Denver.

PDF downloads

Larry Smith, P.E.
James Foley, P.E., S.E., G.E.
Skip Harclerode, P.E.
Peter Hutchison, P.E., P.L.S.
Ted Sack, P.L.S.
Peggy Abshagen 

Timms begins term as NCEES president

Joseph Timms, P.E., of West Virginia, began his term as 2010–11 NCEES president at the conclusion of the NCEES Annual Meeting, held August 18–21 in Denver.

Timms has served on the West Virginia State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers since 1998. A resident of Bridgeport, West Virginia, Timms retired as president and CEO of Consolidated Natural Gas (now Dominion) Transmission Corporation following a career spanning 50 years. He replaces outgoing President David Whitman, Ph.D., P.E., who will remain on the NCEES Board of Directors as immediate past president.

Also during last month’s Annual Meeting, NCEES members elected Dale Jans, P.E., of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as its president-elect for the 2010–11 term. Jans has been a member of the South Dakota Board of Technical Professions since 1994.

NCEES also welcomed two new members of its Board of Directors in Nancy Gavlin, P.E., S.E., of Illinois and Patty Mamola, P.E., of Nevada. Gavlin and Mamola 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 term: David Widmer, P.L.S., of Pennsylvania returns as Northeast Zone vice president; Govind Nakarni, P.E., of Texas returns as Southern Zone vice president; and Gene Dinkins, P.E., P.L.S., of South Carolina continues as treasurer.

Detailed information about NCEES governance can be found here.

PDF downloads:
Joseph Timms, P.E.
Dale Jans, P.E.
Nancy Gavlin, P.E., S.E.
Patty Mamola, P.E.

FE, FS exams to begin gradual move to computer-based format

The state licensing boards that compose NCEES, the organization that develops and administers the exams used for engineering and surveying licensure throughout the United States, have voted to begin converting the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) exams to a computer-based format.

The decision was made during last week’s NCEES Annual Meeting in Denver. It followed a prolonged study by a special task force convened to consider the issue and share its findings with the organization.

Transition expected to take at least two years
The move from paper-and-pencil exams to computer-based exam delivery will not take place overnight, said NCEES Executive Director Jerry Carter.

“The language approved by the Council includes the phrase ‘at the earliest feasible date,’ which means that NCEES exam writers and staff will be involved in a process that includes adapting exam item banks, selecting vendors, and communicating with licensing boards and examinees before we can begin offering the exams via computer,” said Carter.

“We anticipate it will be at least two years before FE and FS candidates begin taking the exams at computer-testing centers.”

Flexibility and security key factors in decision
Among the reasons given by the NCEES Computer-Based Testing Task Force for its recommendation to convert the exams to a computer-based format include greater scheduling flexibility for candidates, more uniformity in testing conditions, and enhanced security for exam content. The vote to move toward computer-based testing for the FE and FS exams was unanimous.

The FE exam is designed for college engineering seniors who intend to pursue a P.E. license. Nearly 50,000 examinees took the FE exam during the 2009-10 academic year, which included October and April administrations. The FS exam is a similar exam designed for those beginning the process toward professional surveying licensure.

The PE and PS exams, which engineering and surveying candidates are also required to take after completing work experience requirements, will continue to be paper-and-pencil exams for the foreseeable future.

Full details on this vote and other actions taken at the NCEES Annual Meeting can be found in the published minutes, which will be available this fall.

For more information, contact NCEES Executive Director Jerry Carter or Associate Executive Director Davy McDowell, P.E., at 864-654-6824.

Licensure Exchange August 2010

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

Licensure Exchange August 2010 (PDF)

  • From the President: Recent events emphasize need for competent, ethical practice
  • Latest NCEES publication celebrates professional engineering in the classroom
  • Headquarters Update: IEA meeting brings focus to engineering education qualifications used across the globe
  • FE Other Disciplines module: not the easy option
  • April 2010 exam pass rates
  • Council to elect president-elect and induct new zone vice presidents at Annual Meeting
  • Enforcement Beat: Setting approximate corners puts short-term client satisfaction above long-term public protection
  • Professional engineers provide the needed link between industry and public welfare
  • NCEES dedicates funding to surveying promotional campaign

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NCEES letter to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy

NCEES President David Whitman, P.E., Ph.D., and Executive Director Jerry Carter recently wrote to the newly appointed director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy to explain the position of NCEES regarding professional engineering licensure.

In the letter, Whitman and Carter note the potential for licensed engineers to play an important role in protecting the public from accidents such as the one that caused the Deepwater Horizon blowout. It encourages the new Bureau of Ocean Energy to incorporate engineering licensure requirements into its efforts to reform the department.

Read the letter from NCEES to the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy.