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SEI Policy Statement 101 - Structural Engineering License

Initiated by the SEI Professional Activities Committee of the Business & Professional Activities Division on: 11/02/2008
Approved by the SEI Business & Professional Activities Division Executive Committee on: 05/01/2009
Approved by the SEI Board of Governors on: 01/26/2010

Policy

The Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports Structural Engineering licensure. It encourages Professional Engineers practicing structural engineering to further obtain a Structural Engineer license in jurisdictions that have any form of Structural Engineering license by complying with the jurisdiction’s specified requirements for education, experience and examination, and by meeting continuing education requisites to maintain this license. SEI also encourages jurisdictions to license Structural Engineers as a post-PE (Professional Engineer) credential, and to include in their new legislation an equitable transitioning clause for engineers currently practicing structural engineering.

Rationale

The structural engineering specialty within civil engineering has been recognized by a number of states, starting with Illinois in 1915, with the implementation of various types of structural engineering licensure laws. Some jurisdictions with structural engineering licenses require that the responsible professional for some or all structures in their jurisdiction hold their structural engineer license. Other jurisdictions only require a structural engineering license if one wishes to represent themself as a structural engineer, and only mandate a more general professional or civil engineering license of those responsible for structures in their jurisdiction. In 2004, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) adopted a Model Law Structural Engineer, creating a standard for structural engineering licensure, including requirements for education, experience, and examination. The public will be better served if those engineers practicing structural engineering have attained a minimum set of qualifications directly related to structural engineering.

The breadth and diversity of the profession of civil engineering has, over the decades, led to a greater degree of specialization by many individuals in the profession. The increased specialization in the profession is evident in many ways including ASCE’s establishment of Institutes over a decade ago. Technology has enabled the undertaking of much more complicated and complex analyses and designs in the structural engineering field, thus requiring commensurate increases in knowledge and skills. Those engineers who exhibit additional or advanced expertise and credentials within the structural practice area of civil engineering should be identified through post-PE credentialing programs.

These concerns are embodied to a degree in other activities of the Society such as the requirements contained in the Body of Knowledge. The action taken by NCEES to embed the requirements for obtaining additional credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree and the issuing of the Model Law Structural Engineer are further evidence of the specialization and complexity of our profession. The need for advanced credentialing is endorsed by ASCE Policy Statement 524, and specialty licensure is one of the methods of demonstrating advanced credentials.

To continue providing for the safety and welfare of the public, engineering professionals need to demonstrate minimum levels of competency in those areas or disciplines in which they practice. Reliance upon the Code of Ethics binding professionals to practice only in thos