What is a licensed engineer

Regulation and approval in engineering

Becoming an engineer is a process that is very different around the world. In some regions the use of the term “engineer” is regulated, in others it is not. Where engineering is a regulated profession, there are specific procedures and requirements for obtaining a registration, charter or license in engineering. These are obtained by the government or a charter issuing authority acting on their behalf and are subject to regulation by these bodies., In addition to the license, there are voluntary certification programs for various disciplines that include examinations accredited by the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards.

Due to the professional closure, licensed engineers have significant influence on their regulation. They are often the authors of the relevant codes of ethics used by some of these organizations. In their practice, engineers in private practice are mostly in traditional professional-customer relationships. Engineers who are employed in the public service and in government industry are on the other side of this relationship. Despite the different focus, engineers in industry and private practice face similar ethical questions and come to similar conclusions. An American engineering company, the National Society of Professional Engineers, has attempted to renew a single professional license and code of ethics for all engineers regardless of their line of work or employment.,

United States

In the United States, registration or license of professional engineers and engineering practices is subject to individual states. Any registration or license is only valid in the state in which it is granted. Some licensed engineers are licensed in more than one state. Comity, also known as reciprocity, between states allows engineers who are licensed or registered in one state to obtain a license in another state without passing the usual rigorous proof of qualification through testing, this is accomplished by passing the second state recognizes the validity of the first state approval or registration process.


Licensing in the United States began in the state of Wyoming when lawyers, notaries, and others with no technical training filed inferior applications to the state to use state water for irrigation. Clarence Johnson, the Wyoming State Engineer, introduced bill to state lawmakers in 1907 providing for registration for anyone introducing themselves as an engineer or surveyor and establishing a Board of Examiners, Charles Bellamy, a 52-year-old engineer and Mineral Surveyor then became the first licensed professional engineer in the United States. Upon enactment, Johnson would be wrong to write about the operation of the law, saying, "Within a few months there has been an amazing change in the nature of the maps and plans that were submitted with the permit applications." Louisiana, followed by Florida and Illinois, would be the next state that needs a license. Montana became the last state to put licensing in 1947.,


Licensing requirements vary, but are generally as follows:

  1. Graduate of an Engineering and Technology Accreditation Committee (ABET) -accredited four-year college or university program with a degree in engineering (e.g., Bachelor of Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Engineering, Master of Science in Engineering, Master of Engineering) or in some States graduate from an ABET-accredited four-year college or university program with a degree in engineering technology.,
  2. Take a Standard Engineering Fundamentals (FE) written exam that tests applicants for breadth of understanding of basic engineering principles and, optionally, some elements of an engineering specialty. Completion of the first two steps typically qualifies applicants for certification in the United States as Engineer In Training (EIT), and sometimes as Engineer In-House (EI).
  3. Gain some engineering experience: most states require four years, but some are less., For engineering graduates, the number of years required may be higher.
  4. Take a written Engineering Principles and Practice (PE) exam that tests the applicant's knowledge and skills in the engineering discipline they have chosen (civil, electrical, industrial, mechanical, etc.), as well as engineering ethics.

For standardization, FE and PE exams are written and assessed by a central organization, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). However, each state's Board of Professional Engineers sets the requirements for the exams as well as the passed points. For example, in some states, applicants are required to provide professional references from multiple PEs before they can take the PE exam. There is a fairly wide range of exam pass rates for FE and PE exams, but the pass rate for retest takers is significantly lower.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have engineering firms represented on the NCEES that conduct both the FE and PE exams.,

The requirements for degrees in the United States are evolving. As of January 1, 2020, the NCEES model requires additional credits beyond a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. NCEES develops the types of creditworthy activities that meet additional educational needs. This has received some assistance from civil engineers.

From 2013 it will still be possible for an individual to bypass steps 2 and 4. For example, in Texas, both FE and PE exam releases will continue to be available to those with several years of creditable experience.,

In some states, it is still possible for a person to bypass Step 1 and apply for the entrance exams — as long as a PE sponsors the applicant — because academic experience can be substituted for work experience. The requirement for years of experience can also vary. For example, in California, after a Bachelor of Science in Engineering or one year of experience after a Master of Engineering, it is possible to take a PE exam with just two years of experience., In other states, candidates can take one of the PE exams directly through NCEES, in some cases immediately after graduation, however, you will still have to wait for the required experience to be gained before obtaining a license. Some states also have state-specific exams. California requires two additional exams in land surveying and earthquake engineering for civil engineering candidates, and many states have exams based on their individual laws and ethical requirements.

Some states issue generic professional engineering licenses. Others, known as "Disciplinary States," issue licenses for specific engineering disciplines such as civil engineering, mechanical engineering, nuclear engineering, electrical engineering, and chemical engineering. In all cases, however, engineers have an ethical obligation to limit their practice to their area of ​​competence, which is usually a small part of a discipline. While licensing agencies don't often enforce this restriction, it can be a factor in negligent lawsuits. In some states, licensed civil engineers can also perform land survey work.,

In addition to licensing the person, most states require companies that provide engineering services to be authorized to do so. For example, the state of Florida requires that companies providing engineering services be registered with the state and have a Florida licensed professional engineer for the company.

Civil engineers make up a large proportion of licensed professional engineers. In Texas, for example, over 37 percent of the licenses are for civil engineers, with civil engineering exams making over half of the exams taken., Many of the remainder are mechanical, electrical, and civil engineers. However, some engineers in other fields are licensed to serve as professional witnesses in courts, government committees, or just for prestige — even though they may never sign and seal design documents.

Because the regulation of engineering practice is carried out by the individual states in the United States, the areas of engineering involved in interstate trade are essentially unregulated., These areas include much of mechanical, aerospace, and chemical engineering and can be used as part of a " industrial exemption ”should be expressly excluded from the regulation. An industrial exception applies to engineers who design products, such as automobiles, that are (or can be sold) sold (or can be sold) outside of the state in which they are manufactured, as well as the equipment used to manufacture the product. Structures subject to building regulations do not fall under an industrial exemption, although small residential buildings often do not require an engineering seal., In some countries the roles of architects and civil engineers overlap. In general, the chief professional responsible for designing residential buildings is an architect. The architect signs and seals design plans for buildings and other structures that people can occupy. A civil engineer is hired to provide a technical structural design that ensures the stability and safety of the overall structure, but currently no states allow engineers the ability to carry out professional architecture without also being licensed as an architect.,

Many private companies employ non-graduate workers in technical positions with engineering titles such as “test engineer” or “field engineer”. Unless the company provides engineering services directly to the public or other companies, such positions may not require an engineering license.

However, it is important to distinguish between a “graduate engineer” and a “professional engineer.” A “graduate engineer” is someone who has an engineering degree from an accredited four-year university program but is not licensed to practice services to the public or to offer. Unlicensed engineers usually work as employees for a company or as professors at engineering colleges, where they are regulated under the industrial exemption clause.


Engineering practice in Canada is highly regulated under a licensing system administered by a self-regulated engineering association in each province., In Canada, the term "Professional Engineer" can only be used by licensed engineers and the engineering practice is protected by law and in all Provinces strictly enforced. The regulation and licensing of engineers is done through each province's own engineering association created by laws of that province's legislature. There is also Engineers Canada, which regulates undergraduate engineering programs., The process for registration is usually as follows:

  1. Graduates with a degree from an accredited program in Engineering or Applied Science accredited by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB).
  2. Complete an engineer-in-training (EIT) or engineering internship under the guidance of a professional engineer. With the exception of Quebec, this is a four-year minimum program.
  3. Review of professional experience by the association.
  4. Pass a professional practice exam, the content and format of which vary by province.,

Professional engineers are not licensed in a particular discipline, but are bound by their respective provincial code of ethics (e.g. in Ontario: Professional Engineers Act R. R. O. 1990, Regulation 941) to practice beyond their training and experience. Code violations are often sufficient grounds for enforcement action, which can include suspension or loss of license and financial penalties. It could also result in jail time should negligence be proven, which has played a role in every incident resulting in loss of life.,

Engineers are not tested for technical knowledge during the licensing process if their training has been accredited by the CEAB. The accreditation of schools and their status as accredited degrees are monitored and controlled. This accreditation process is regulated by Engineers Canada through its active group CEAB.

The accreditation process is enforced continuously and through regular accreditation reviews of each school., These reviews typically include a review of the school's curriculum (including flagged final exams and assignments), interviews with current students, extracurricular activities and teaching staff, and additional areas that the visiting committee may consider considers necessary. The individual areas considered are the contents of the curricula, the program environment and general criteria. The clubs are granted both an exclusive right of ownership and an exclusive right to exercise. There are few exceptions specifically mentioned in the laws - which do not include "industrial exceptions", therefore a professional engineer must be legally registered. The level of enforcement varies by industry. And, in some provinces, there is no requirement to have graduated from an accredited Canadian university to be a professional engineer.

The professional engineer license is only valid in the supplying province. However, there are agreements between the associations to facilitate mobility. In 2009 Professional Engineers Ontario led an initiative to develop a national engineering licensing framework.,

The term "engineer" is often used loosely in some Canadian industrial sectors to describe people who work in engineering technology — not as professional engineers — as engineering technicians or engineering technicians, and trade names such as stationary engineers. For example, the Canadian Coast Guard and Navy often internally refer to their technicians as "marine engineers," "energy engineers," and "military engineers," but not publicly. The term "locomotive engineer" has been an integral part of the Canadian railways since its inception., "Stationary engineering" is a trade whose engineers operate heavy machinery and equipment that provides heat, light, air conditioning, and electricity.

United Kingdom

Main article: Chartered Engineer (UK)

“In general there is no restriction on the right to practice as an engineer in the UK. However, there are a small number of areas of work, generally safety-related, that are reserved by statute, regulation, or industry standards to licensed or otherwise authorized persons. "The title of" engineer "is not regulated, but certain engineering titles are., There is no system for the licensing, but registers are held by qualified persons. The Engineering Council is the UK regulator for its engineering profession. It holds the national register of 235,000 engineers registered as EngTech (technicians), ICTTech (information and communication technology technicians), IEng (incorporated engineers) and CEng (chartered engineers). These titles are fully protected by law by the royal charter and statutes of the Engineering Council. In order to protect these titles, legal action will be taken against their unauthorized use.,

In order to receive the designation as CEng, it is necessary to have approved training (usually up to a master’s degree) and to demonstrate considerable technical and commercial leadership and management skills.

A chartered engineer is entitled to register as a European engineer via the European Federation of National Engineering Associations (FEANI) and to use the designation Eur Ing.,


In India, engineers with a bachelor's or master's degree in engineering or technology from a university are allowed to practice as consulting engineers-they must be licensed or registered with municipalities to submit public plans, drafts, or drawings for approval and recording. The Institution of Engineers (India) received the British Royal Charter in 1935 and admits engineers holding the above degrees as Corporate Member (AMIE) or Chartered Engineer (CEng).,

IE (India) also offers Professional Engineer (PE) and International Professional Engineer (PE) registration for member engineers with seven years of active hands-on engineering experience after graduation. IE (India) is a member of the IPEA (International Professional Engineers Agreement) with bilateral agreements with many national, foreign and international engineering institutions. Many municipalities exempt Chartered Engineers (PE or PE) from their licensor or their comity registration., All these consulting engineers, regardless of their discipline or area of ​​activity, must be licensed, registered or chartered.


In Iran, registration or approval of professional engineers and technology is regulated by the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology (Iran). For standardization, FE and PE exams are carried out by a central organization, the National Organization for Examination and Training ( NOET), known as Sanjesh in Persian, written and rated.,

License requirements are as follows:

Graduate from an accredited four-year college or university program with a degree in engineering (e.g., Bachelor of Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Engineering). Take a Standard Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) written exam that puts applicants on the breadth of understanding Basic engineering principles and optional tests on some elements of an engineering specialty. Accumulate a certain amount of engineering experience Requirement is at least four years., Take a written engineering principles and practice (PE) exam that examines the knowledge and skills of the Candidate in the engineering discipline they have chosen (civil engineering, electrical engineering, industry, mechanical engineering, computers, etc.), as well as engineering ethics.


In Pakistan, engineering education and profession is regulated by the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) through PEC Act 1976. PEC is a federal government organization., Any person with an engineering degree (BE / BS / BSc Engineering) from PEC accredited universities / institutes is legal entitled to register with the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) as a registered engineer (RE). Previously, every engineering graduate registered with the PEC and at least five years of relevant work experience had the title of professional engineer (PE) without an examination. To improve the quality of the engineering profession, this two-tier system was improved through PEC CPD Bye-Laws 2008. This system was implemented realistically from July 10, 2010., Graduated engineers register now and practice their general work discipline as registered engineers (RE). After at least five years of relevant professional experience and accumulation of at least 17 CPD points (Continued Professional Development), you can pursue the engineering practice (EPE) carried out by the PEC. EPE is held biennially by PEC in major cities across the country. Those who pass the EPE are awarded the prestigious title of Professional Engineer (PE) in their discipline.,

To improve the quality of engineering services, engineers with Professional Engineer (PE) status must also perform CPD activities in order to retain their PE license. CPD points are awarded for various development activities, such as: B. formal education (e.g. postgraduate diploma, master’s or PhD), professional experience, participation in conferences / workshops as an audience, speaker or organizer, publications in specialist journals, part-time teaching, as a visiting lecturer (except full-time teaching) and as an external examiner for master’s / doctoral theses .,

An upper limit for points has also been implemented for the CPD points system in order to prevent abuse of the system and to encourage balanced participation in various CPD activities. Work experience on the job, which is the primary commitment of the engineering profession, is awarded one CPD point for 400 hours of work. A cap of 2 credits per year has been set for work experience in the workplace., The reward of just 800 hours (~ 4 months of full-time) work per year has many benefits including inherent tolerance for bouts of unemployment, built-in allowance for sickness / sickness / Injury, discouragement from workaholism, which enables full-time engineering teachers to gain relevant field experience with reduced time investment (e.g., part-time counseling engagement) and encourage participation in other CPD activities that advance the engineering profession (e.g., guest lectures , Publishing research, book writing and social work for engineers in recognized engineering associations).,

To avoid confusion, PEC CPD Bye-Laws introduced the legal term “registered person” in 2008. Registered person is a term that is different from the Registered Engineer (RE). It is a general term for anyone who is enrolled in any capacity at PEC - be it as Registered Engineers (RE) or Professional Engineers (PE).


In Pakistan, engineering is regulated at the federal level. Engineers who are recognized as a Registered Engineer (RE) or Professional Engineer with PEC do not need to go through any further process once they move to another province or area within Pakistan., For civil engineers, registration with the local building authority may be an additional requirement depending on the jurisdiction and local building code.

Washington Accord: Pakistan gained observer status in the Washington Accord in 2009, became a provisional member in 2010 and became the 19th signatory to achieve this status on the 21st.,

IPEA & IntPE: By Paragraph 13 (h) of the PEC CPD Bye-law 2008, PEC has been honoring the Engineers Mobility Forum (EMF) / International Professional Engineers Agreement (IPEA) since July 10, 2010. An engineer who is already registered as a professional engineer with EMF / IPEA is exempt from the CPD point requirement of EPE & and will receive the title Professional Engineer (PE) upon submission of the application., June 2018 awarded by the International Engineering Alliance (IEA) the PEC has the power to grant IPE status (IntPE) to qualified candidates. PEC developed the application framework and has been accepting applications via a special IPEA portal on the PEC website since September 2020.

Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, the title of "engineer" is not regulated. However, under the Engineering Council Act No 4 of 2017, all engineering practitioners in Sri Lanka must be registered with the Engineering Council in order to practice., Otherwise it would result in a criminal offense and can be punished with a prison sentence of no more than one through a briefing before a judge Year and / or a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand rupees.


The European Engineer (Eur Ing, EUR ING) is an international professional qualification for engineers that is used in many European countries., The title is awarded to a national member of the European Federation of National Engineering Associations (FEANI) after a successful application Representatives from many European countries include, including much of the European Union. It allows a person who has an engineering degree and usually a technical professional qualification in one of the member countries to use the qualification in other countries, but this depends on local legislation.

The title Eur Ing is “pre-nominal”, meaning that it is placed before and not after the name, as in the case of a post-nominal title such as that for academic degrees (in some EU countries, however, academic degrees are also before- nominal). In addition to the national member registers, names are also entered in the FEANI register administered by FEANI.

Another association in Europe is EurEta. The job title “Ing. EurEta "is used as a pre-nominal (similar to Dr. or Prof)., A EurEta registered engineer" European Higher Engineering and Technical Professionals Association "is referred to as" EurEta Registered Engineer "and has the right to this title in Europe use.


In Germany academic title Dipl.-Ing. (Diplom-Ingenieur) is awarded by the education ministries of the federal states after completing an engineering education in accordance with the engineering law; however, it is not an engineering license, but an academic title. The degrees Ing. Grad., (Qualified engineer) and Obering. (Senior Engineer, Supervisor Engineer) are no longer awarded. The designation "Dipl.-Ing". is recognized by FEANI as a forerunner for the registration as "Eur Ing". "Dipl.-Ing." Does not grant government licensing and therefore does not correspond to the licensing steps (e.g. mandatory references, minimal work experience and a second theoretical and practical exam) that are used in other countries such as Great Britain, Canada or the United States.,

"State-certified engineer" is a qualification of the European Union for a professional engineer for technology or a professional engineer for engineering (not to be confused with an engineer or "Dipl.-Ing"). It is granted to engineering technologists after successfully completing a technical college and is also granted by an international organization based in Germany, the Federal Association of Higher Professions in Technology, Business and Design e. V. (BVT), granted.,).

EU Directive 2005L0036-DE 01.01.2007

ANNEX III List of regulated education and training as referred to in Article 13 (2), third subparagraph

A BVT member is entitled to use the initials “BVT” after his name. To achieve this qualification, it is required to complete a 42-month training program, a minimum of 2,400-hour college diploma in engineering or technology, two years of relevant experience, and the state examination. The academic requirement of being a state-certified engineer is required is a degree that corresponds to Level 6 on EQF = Bachelor in the European Qualifications Framework. A Bachelor (Honors) degree in engineering or engineering technology from an accredited university is also equated with level 6 at the EQF. A state certified engineer is not required to complete a university degree. Prior to Jan. 31, 2012, a state-certified engineering certificate usually qualified the holder for a bachelor's degree at a technical college., This has historically led to widespread and controversial discussions between bachelor's and master's degrees engineers and state-certified engineers.

Today this is on par with a bachelor's degree. With the SCE qualification, you can continue to study for a master’s degree. The academic requirements for the qualification are similar to Incorporated Engineer Qualification / Registration from EC UK. State-certified engineers now only support engineers with a diploma or master's degree., They also hold full engineering positions as system engineers, integration engineers, test engineers, QA engineers, etc.

State-certified engineer, business manager and designer level are now a Level 6 Bachelor on DQR and EQR, from Jan. 31, 2012. The following top representatives and agencies were involved: Federal Government (Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology) , permanent conference and meeting of economic ministers of the federal states, the Federation of German Employers' Associations, German Chambers of Industry and Commerce, the German Federation of Trade Unions and the Federal Institute for Vocational Training. They agreed on a common position on the implementation of the EQF as the German qualifications framework (DQR).