Approved by Committee on Licensure on February 6, 2023
Approved by the Public Policy and Practice Committee on March 3, 2023
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 22, 2023
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) believes that formal education alone is not adequate for licensure. Progressive experience, with both technical and professional practice components based on the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (BOK3) and under the supervision of a Professional Engineer is an essential requirement for engineering licensure.
ASCE believes that, as a prerequisite for licensure and consistent with the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) Model Law, four years of such progressive experience should be required for those possessing a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree from an Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC)/ABET, Inc. program, three years for those having a EAC/ABET accredited master’s in engineering, and two years for those with an EAC/ABET accredited doctorate.
Licensure as a Professional Engineer is based upon three components: education, experience, and examination. Historically, much attention has been given to the structure and contents of the education and examination components, but less attention has been placed on the nature of the required experience component.
Progressive engineering experience and responsibility is how civil engineers learn the practice of engineering and how to apply technical knowledge to real world engineering problems. It is how they gain an understanding of the standards of professional practice and is best experienced in the workplace. Typically, the only experiential requirements of state licensing boards are that the experience be engineering in nature, that it be progressive, and that it is of a duration meeting or exceeding the jurisdiction’s requisite number of years. Few jurisdictions attempt to evaluate the quality and content (breadth and depth) of the experiential requirements for licensure.
The Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (BOK3) addresses competencies that need to be attained as a prerequisite for professional practice. Many of these competencies have experiential components, such as: breadth and depth in civil engineering; critical thinking and problem solving; design; sustainability; risk and uncertainty; project management; engineering economics; communication; leadership; lifelong learning; professional attitudes; professional responsibilities; and ethical responsibilities.
It is the professional responsibility of engineering employers, supervisors, and mentors, to assure that engineering graduates develop these competencies as addressed in BOK3 and as applicable and pertinent to their practice area.
Professional licensure to practice civil engineering is intended to assure that the licensee has obtained minimum level of competency necessary to protect and advance the health, safety, and welfare of the public. The education component of licensure is focused primarily on the foundational and technical aspects of civil engineering. The licensing exams, as currently structured, evaluate the attainment of these technical capabilities. Professional licensure relies on experiential requirements to document attainment of other essential skills necessary for professional practice, but these requirements lacked structure. That structure, and assurance, needs to be provided by employers, supervisors, and mentors to meet the outcomes in the BOK3.
ASCE Policy Statement 547
First Approved 2015