What Is Licensure?

Licensed professional engineers, P.E.s, are charged with preserving the essentials that protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. By meeting standards in education, exams, and experience, professional engineers demonstrate that they have the skills and knowledge needed to perform their jobs. As licensed professionals, they must continue to practice in a manner that is both technically competent and ethically sound. Their first responsibility is to protect the public.

Why Is This Important?

Licensing boards in each state and territory regulate the engineering and surveying professions in the United States. These boards together form NCEES, a national nonprofit organization that serves to advance licensure for engineers and promote professional mobility for practicing professional engineers who need to be licensed in multiple states.

Only about 20 percent of practicing engineers today are licensed. This is due in part to industrial exemptions to licensure, which allow engineers to work under the supervision of a P.E. without being licensed. An industrial exemption covers engineers who design products such as automobiles or planes that are sold outside the state where they are produced, as well as the equipment used to produce the product.