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Policy Statement 547 Engineering Experience for Professional Licensure

 
Approved by Committee on Licensure on May 12, 2020
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on May 18, 2020
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 11, 2020

Policy

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) believes that prior to licensure as a Professional Engineer, an engineering graduate should have progressive experience in civil engineering, and in the following professional practice components pertinent to their practice area consistent with the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge:

  • Assessment of risk and impacts of engineering activities;
  • Communication skills;
  • Professional ethics;
  • Project management processes; and
  • Business and governmental processes.

Employers, mentors, and supervisors of Engineer Interns have a professional obligation to assist Engineer Interns in acquiring experience and capabilities in these professional practice areas, in addition to appropriate technical capabilities.

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 master's in engineering from an institution offering EAC/ABET programs, and two years for those with an earned doctorate in engineering from an institution offering EAC/ABET programs. 

Issue

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. 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.

The Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (BOK3) addresses outcomes that need to be attained as a prerequisite for professional practice. Many of these outcomes have experiential components, including but not limited to: 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. These capabilities are critical to practice at a professional level and to protecting the public health, safety, and welfare. While some of these topics are currently addressed in an introductory fashion in engineering education, and others may be in the future, all of them are dependent on the engineering graduate acquiring relevant engineering experience. These components are important to professional practice and many are not evaluated in the current examination process. It is also acknowledged that all of the experiential components may not be acquired prior to licensure, but it is important that the experience gained for licensure be consistent with those contained in the BOK. 

It is incumbent on engineering employers, mentors, and supervisors to assure that engineering graduates develop these capabilities as applicable and pertinent to their practice area.

Rationale

Professional licensure is intended to assure that the licensee has obtained a level of competency to practice civil engineering in a manner to protect the public health, safety and welfare. The education component of licensure is focused primarily on the technical aspects of practice and the licensing exams, as currently structured, evaluate the attainment of these technical capabilities. The attainment of skills in other components of professional practice has traditionally relied on the experiential requirement for licensure but has lacked structure. That structure, and assurance, needs to be provided by employers, mentors, and supervisors to meet the outcomes in the BOK.

ASCE Policy Statement 547
First Approved 2015


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