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Policy Statement 547 Engineering Experience for Professional Licensure

 
Approved by Committee on Advancing the Profession on November 6, 2017
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on March 13, 2018
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 13, 2018


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 technical breadth and depth in their chosen sub-discipline(s) of civil engineering, and in the following professional practice components pertinent to their practice area:

  • 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 under their supervision in acquiring experience and capability 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)/ Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) 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 exceeding the jurisdiction's requisite number of years.

The Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (BOK) 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: engineering analysis and design; sustainability; environmental impact; risk and uncertainty; project management; communication; public policy; business and public administration; globalization; leadership; teamwork and ethics. These capabilities are critical to practicing at a professional level and to protecting 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 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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