Council Votes to Increase Amount of Education Required for Engineering Licensure

At the 2006 Annual Business Meeting of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), delegates voted to modify the NCEES Model Law requirements for licensure to require additional education for engineering licensure.

The approved language states that an engineer intern with a bachelor’s degree must have an additional 30 credits of acceptable upper-level undergraduate or graduate-level coursework from approved providers in order to be admitted to the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) examination.

NCEES committees have been studying this issue for more than five years, first through the Engineering Licensure Qualifications Task Force (ELQTF) and then through the Licensure Qualifications Oversight Group (LQOG). ELQTF, which was made up of representatives from NCEES, engineering professional societies, government, industry, and education, was established in 2001 to evaluate the U.S. licensure system. The task force concluded in 2003 that additional education would be necessary in the future to prepare students for engineering practice at the professional level.

LQOG, which was made up of NCEES members only, was formed the next year to study the ELQTF report, assess the recommendations from NCEES and Member Board perspectives, and prepare recommendations for Council action. LQOG supported the ELQTF conclusion that additional engineering education was needed. Both groups cited the decrease in the number of credits required to earn an undergraduate degree—from 150 a few decades ago to an average of 128—as one of the reasons for supporting this change to the Model Law.

The Council approved the concept during the 2005 Annual Meeting when it voted to charge the Committee on Uniform Procedures and Legislative Guidelines (UPLG) with incorporating language requiring additional education into the Model Law. At this year’s meeting, UPLG recommended specific language to be added to the Model Law for this requirement (see below). The effective date of this provision is January 1, 2015.

The Council also passed a UPLG motion adding language to the Model Rules stating that, effective January 1, 2015, a graduate with a bachelor of science degree in engineering requiring more than 120 credits may request that credits earned in excess of 120 credits be applied to satisfy the requirement.

Now that the Council has approved the concept and approved incorporating it into the Model Law, NCEES will define what the additional education should be. This coming year’s UPLG Committee has been charged with defining some of the terms and considering issues related to implementation.

New Model Law language

The following language was added to the NCEES Model Law definition of what will be considered minimum evidence satisfactory to the board that an applicant is qualified for licensure as a professional engineer.

Licensure by Examination (Effective January 1, 2015) The following individuals shall be admitted to an 8-hour written examination in the principles and practice of engineering:

  1. An engineer intern with a bachelor’s degree, with an additional 30 credits of acceptable upper-level undergraduate or graduate-level coursework from approved course providers, and with a specific record of an additional 4 years or more of progressive experience on engineering projects of a grade and a character which indicate to the board that the applicant may be competent to practice engineering.
  2. An engineer intern with a master’s degree in engineering from an institution that offers EAC/ABET-accredited programs, or the equivalent, and with a specific record of an additional 3 years or more of progressive experience on engineering projects of a grade and a character which indicate to the board that the applicant may be competent to practice engineering.
  3. An engineer intern with a doctorate in engineering acceptable to the board and with a specific record of an additional 2 years or more of progressive experience on engineering projects of a grade and a character which indicate to the board that the applicant may be competent to practice engineering.
  4. An individual with a doctorate in engineering acceptable to the board and with a specific record of an additional 4 years or more of progressive experience on engineering projects of a grade and a character which indicate to the board that the applicant may be competent to practice engineering.

The NCEES Annual Meeting was held September 13–16 in Anchorage, Alaska.


Licensure Exchange October 2008

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 2008 (PDF)

  • Communication and public protection are focus for 2008–09
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  • Annual Meeting highlights
  • Board approves exam item costs
  • NCEES seeks volunteers for Structural PE exam PAKS
  • Annual Meeting debate adds insight to higher education issue
  • Introducing the 2008–09 NCEES Board of Directors

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Message from the Executive Director regarding the education requirements for engineering licensure

Last week at the 2008 NCEES Annual Meeting, Council delegates and representatives of many engineering organizations gathered in Minneapolis to help shape the future direction of engineering licensure. One of the major items of discussion was the ongoing initiative to strengthen the education requirements for licensure.

In 2006, NCEES delegates passed a motion to draft Model Law language requiring candidates to complete 30 academic credits beyond an accredited bachelor’s degree (or earn a master’s degree) as a prerequisite for engineering licensure. Since then, members of the Council have wrestled with the specifics involved in implementing this requirement at the state level. This requirement has gone by several names, most commonly the “bachelor’s plus 30.” NCEES will now begin referring to this requirement more simply as the master’s or equivalent. To promote consistency and simplicity, I encourage all of you to do the same.

While the Council is nearly unanimous in its desire to strengthen the education requirements for engineering licensure, many within the organization and throughout the engineering profession have expressed concern with the specifics of the master’s or equivalent requirement. This prompted a close examination of the work done by the 2007–08 Bachelor’s Plus 30 Task Force, which was charged with investigating potential obstacles to implementing the new requirement. Among the task force motions that passed was a motion to change the date of the requirement’s implementation to 2020.

During this year’s meeting, people on all sides of this debate were able to take a closer look at the higher education issue during various forums and workshops that took place prior to the business sessions. It was an excellent example of engineers working together to solve complex challenges, and it resulted in a decision by the Council to pass a resolution that calls for NCEES leadership to assign a task force to provide the Council with a written analysis of

  1. The potential educational, professional, regulatory, and economic impact of the master’s or equivalent; and
  2. Any alternative solutions besides the master’s or equivalent that could potentially address the challenge of better preparing engineering licensure candidates to enter the profession.

As we are still in the beginning stages of responding to this resolution, you can expect more information to come in the future about the specific charges that President Henn Rebane, P.E., will assign to the 2008–09 Engineering Education Task Force. On behalf of the entire Council, I applaud your ability to address a potentially delicate issue in such a decisive and efficient manner and look forward to your continued and active involvement.

Jerry T. Carter
NCEES Executive Director


Licensure Exchange August 2008

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 2008 (PDF)

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  • Headquarters Update: Annual Meeting workshop brings international focus
  • April 2008 exam pass rates
  • 2008 Annual Meeting motions
  • Q&A: Whitman, Jans share vision for future of NCEES
  • Document verification the key to academic fraud prevention
  • Civil PE candidate pleads guilty in exam theft case
  • Committee Update: Adopting the new NCEES Bylaws
  • NCEES completes ANSI standard for Model Law Engineer
  • Member board updates
  • Parliamentary procedure guides for Annual Meeting business sessions

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Licensure Exchange June 2008

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

Licensure Exchange June 2008 (PDF)

  • CBT Task Force considers shifting NCEES exams to computer format
  • The President’s Message: Council to vote on new governing document at Annual Meeting
  • Headquarters Update: Preparations for Annual Meeting underway
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Licensure Exchange April 2008

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

Licensure Exchange April 2008 (PDF)

  • Nebraska legislature considers bill to implement bachelor’s plus 30
  • UPLG, Bachelor’s Plus 30 Task Force propose revisions to additional education requirements
  • Headquarters Update: Council celebrates National Engineers Week
  • The President’s Message: Ahead of zone meetings, several issues merit close attention
  • The President-Elect’s Message: Licensure boards have role to play in efficiency code enforcement
  • Fire protection engineers assist high school teachers while promoting profession
  • Proposed Alabama legislation creates rural sureyor category for unlicensed practitioners
  • Message from the director of the Center for Professional Engineering Education Services
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Licensure Exchange February 2008

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

Licensure Exchange February 2008 (PDF)

  • Women’s colleges create new paths to the engineering profession
  • Texas Board reaches out to the next generation of engineers
  • NCEES to unveil new Engineering Award for college programs
  • The President’s Message: Council moves forward with bachelor’s plus 30 implementation
  • Headquarters Update: Center continues to improve Member Board services with new evaluators, office space
  • Exam reminders for 2008
  • October 2007 exam pass rates
  • South Carolina, Colonial States Boards debut licensure exams for emerging surveying disciplines
  • Centuries-old maps go online in Vermont, Minnesota
  • Reader’s Forum: Newly licensed engineer relates importance of taking the FE in college
  • NCEES to hold exam administration forum in February

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