Professional Engineer (P.E.)
is the term for registered or licensed engineers
in some countries who are permitted to offer their professional services
directly to the public.
The term Professional Engineer and the actual practice of professional engineering is legally defined and protected by a government body. In some jurisdictions only registered or licensed Professional Engineers are permitted to use the title, or to practice Professional Engineering.
The earmark that distinguishes a licensed/registered Professional Engineer is the authority to sign and seal or "stamp" engineering documents (reports, drawings, and calculations) for a study, estimate, design or analysis, thus taking legal responsibility for it.
used vary by location:
- Ing. in Ghana (for engineers holding a B.Sc. or higher with relevant engineering experience) and a registered member of the Ghana Institute of Engineers (GhIE)
- Pr.Eng. or PrEng in South Africa (for engineers holding a B.Eng., B.Sc. or B.Sc.Eng. with relevant experience)
- Pr.Tech.Eng. in South Africa (for engineers holding a B.Tech. with relevant experience and three years of practicing in the engineering field)"Pr.Tech.Eng" standing for Professional Engineering Technologist
- R.Eng standing for Registered Engineer in Kenya (Holders of Four years post-secondary Engineering Education and four years of work experience)
- Mohandes is used as a pre-nominal in Arab country like Egypt
- Engr is used as a pre-nominal in Nigeria (for holders of bachelor degree with relevant experience and having successfully passed the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Professional Exams and fulfilled other NSE requirements)"
- CEng is used as post-nominal in Nigeria (after fulfilling both Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) requirements)
- Eng is used as a pre-nominal in Uganda for registered engineers .e.g (Eng. Emmanuel Jjunju). In Uganda, a registered Engineer must as a prerequisite be a member of the Uganda Institution of professional Engineers (UIPE) and must have a B.Sc. or higher in Engineering together with relevant engineering experience which must be documented, supported by 2-registered engineers and defended by the applicant in an interview with the Engineers' Registration Board (ERB) which has the power to confirm one as a Registered Engineer. Annual fees must be paid to the ERB by all registered engineers.The following links may provide more information on Uganda's engineering profession.UIPE: http://www.ugandaengineers.org/; UACE: http://www.uace.or.ug/
- Mohandess Payeh 1 and Mohandess Payeh 2 are titles used respectively for Professional Engineer and Engineer in Training in Iran
- Ir is used as a pre-nominal in Hong Kong , Malaysia and Indonesia
- C.Eng in India Institution of Engineering under Royal Charter
- P.E.Jp as a pre-nominal in Japan
- P.Eng. is used in Bangladesh
- Er. is used as a pre-nominal in Singapore
- Engineer or Engr is used as a pre-nominal (similar to Dr. or Prof.) in Pakistan
- Mohandes is used as a pre-nominal in Arab country like Jordan
- Engr. or Engineer is used as a pre-nominal in the Philippines for individuals passing the government regulated professional licensure examination, which is only given for certain fields of engineering.
- EurIng (European Engineer) in Europe, used as a pre-nominal (similar to Dr. or Prof).
- Ing.P.Eur (European Professional Engineer) in Europe, used as a pre-nominal
- Ing. (Ingeniero) in Spain, used as a pre-nominal, for the engineers who hold a master's degree. Also exists the Ingeniero Técnico (I.T.), who is a professional which a Degree and a minimum formation of three courses in an engineering official college. Both types of engineers have full competency in their respective professional field of engineering. The Bologna process will change this structure into a more modern and competitive one, not so outdated.
- Eng. (Engenheiro) in Portugal, used as a pre-nominal. An Engenheiro is a full chartered professional in engineering who was awarded a masters' degree (2nd study cycle according to the Bologna process system) by an accredited engineering school. In Portugal, accredited degrees in engineering are regulated and certified by the Ordem dos Engenheiros (Order of Engineers), and every professional full chartered engineer is registered at the Ordem.
- Dipl.-Ing. (Diplomingenieur) and Ing. (Ingenieur) (awarded by the authorities of the Lander-Law called Ingenieurgesetz) in Germany (pre-nominal letters)
- Ing. EurEta - used as a pre-nominal (similar to Dr. or Prof). An engineer registered with EurEta "European Higher Engineering and Technical Professionals Association" is called an "EurEta Registered Engineer", and has the right to use this title in Europe, [www.eureta.org/html/startframe.htm] .
- State-certified Engineer BVT. These titles are the respective translations, authorised by the German Federal Government, of "Staatlich geprüfter Techniker", in Europe.
- Ir. in the Netherlands (for engineers holding a Master's degree from a university) or Ing. (for engineers holding a Bachelor's degree from a professional school). (pre-nominal letters)
- Ir. in Belgium (for engineers holding a Master's degree in engineering/bio-engineering sciences from a university) or Ing. (for engineers holding a Master's degree in applied engineering from other institutes of higher education). (pre-nominal letters)
- Ing. in Italy (for engineers holding a Master's degree) or Ing.jr (Bachelor's). A state exam is required. (pre-nominal letters)
- Siv. Ing. (Sivilingeniør, M.Sc) and ing. (Høyskoleingeniør, B.Sc) in Norway. The titled is used by persons holding degrees from accredited engineering colleges and universities.
- CEng (Chartered Engineer) and IEng (Incorporated Engineer) in the UK & Republic of Ireland. UK and Irish engineers may also carry post-nominal letters specific to their specialist engineering institute, such as MIET (professional engineers and graduate professionals registered with the IET). In the UK these are recognised as regulated professions.
- Civ. Ing. in Sweden (for engineers holding a Master's degree in Engineering)
- Ing. in Romania, used as a pre-nominal (similar to Dr. or Prof.).
- Ing. for engineers holding a Master's degree in Czech Republic and Slovak republic, used as a pre-nominal (similar to Dr. or Prof.).
- inż. (abbreviation for inżynier) in Poland, very often the engineers graduate with Master of Science title. Then they use pre-nominal mgr inż (magister inżynier).
- Ing. in most Spanish speaking countries (pre-nominal letters) (similar to Dr. or Prof). Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, México, Perú, Uruguay, Venezuela.
- In Chile customary practice consists in placing the post-nominal word Ingeniero plus the specialty area, such as Ingeniero Civil, Ingeniero Electricista or Ingeniero Comercial.
- P.Eng. is used in Canada (as a post-nominal), except in the province of Quebec.
- Eng. (ing.) is used in Quebec.
- P.E. or PE is used in the U.S.
- CPEng is used as a post nomial in Australia and New Zealand subject to CPD requirements to maintain status.
- MIEAust is used as a post nomial to designate a member of the Institution of Engineers Australia. This is the minimum requirement to operate as a Professional Engineer in Australia.
- FIEAust is used to designate a fellow (highest category) of membership of the Institution of Engineers Australia.
Registration and regulation
Each country or state/province has specific procedures and requirements for the license or registration.
In the United States, registration or licensure
of Professional Engineers is performed by the individual states. Each registration or license is valid only in the state in which it is granted. Many Professional Engineers maintain licenses in several states for this reason, and comity
between states can make it easy to obtain a license in one state based on licensure in another state without going through the full application process. The licensing procedure varies but the general process is:
- Graduate with a degree from an accredited four-year university program in engineering.
- Complete a standard Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) written examination, which tests applicants on breadth of understanding of basic engineering principles, and optionally some elements of an engineering specialty. Completion of the first two steps typically qualifies for certification in the U.S. as an Engineer-In-Training (EIT), sometimes also called an Engineer Intern (EI).
- Accumulate a certain amount of engineering experience under the supervision of a P.E. In most states the requirement is four years, but in others the requirement is lower.
- Complete a written Principles and Practice in Engineering ('PE') examination, testing the applicant's knowledge and skills in a chosen engineering discipline (mechanical, electrical, civil, for example), as well as engineering ethics.
Degree requirements in the United States are evolving. Effective January, 1 2015, the NCEES model will require a minimum of a master of science degree in engineering or a bachelor of science degree with additional 30 credits of equivalent graduate level work.. This has received strong support from civil engineers.
There is a fairly large range in exam pass rates for these exams (FE and PE), but the pass rate for repeat test takers is significantly lower.
In a few states it is still possible for an individual to bypass Step 1, and apply to take the registration examinations as long as a P.E. will sponsor the applicant, and work experience can be substituted for academic experience. The years of experience may also vary; for instance, in California it is possible to take a Principles and Practice in Engineering examination with only two years of experience after a bachelor's degree, or one year of experience after graduate school. In Nevada, college graduates are eligible to take the Principles and Practice exam immediately after graduation and passing the EIT, before acquiring the required experience. Some states also have state-specific examinations, most notably California where there is a state-specific structural engineering exam and two additional exams in land surveying and earthquake engineering for civil engineering candidates.
Some states issue generic Professional Engineering licenses. Others, known as "discipline states", issue licenses for specific disciplines of engineering, such as Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering. In all cases, however, engineers are ethically required to limit their practice to their area of competency, which is usually a small portion of a discipline. While licensing boards do not often enforce this limitation, it can be a factor in negligence lawsuits.
engineers account for a large portion of licensed Professional Engineers. In Texas, for example, about one-third of licenses are for civil engineers, and civil exams make up over half of the exams taken. Many of the remainder are mechanical
, and structural
engineers whose practice involves areas that states regulate, such as HVAC
, and fire protection
systems for buildings or public infrastructure. However, some engineers in other fields obtain licenses for the ability to serve as professional witnesses, or just for prestige, even though they may never sign and seal design documents.
The "Engineer" title
The title "Engineer" is legally protected in many states, meaning that it is unlawful to use it to offer engineering services to the public unless permission is specifically granted by that state, through a Professional Engineering license, an "Industrial Exemption", or certain other non-engineering titles such as "operating engineer". Employees of state or federal agencies may also call themselves engineers if that term appears in their official job title.
A business generally cannot offer engineering services to the public or have a name that implies that it does so unless it employs at least one Professional Engineer.
Since regulation of the practice of engineering is performed by the individual states in the U.S., areas of engineering involved in interstate commerce
are essentially unregulated. These areas include much of Mechanical Engineering, such as Automotive Engineering
and Aerospace Engineering
, and Chemical Engineering
, and may be specifically exempted from regulation under an "Industrial Exemption". An industrial exemption covers engineers who design products such as automobiles that are sold (or have the potential to be sold) outside the state in which they are produced, as well as the equipment used to produce the product. Structures subject to building codes
are not covered by an industrial exemption, except small residential buildings often do not require an engineer's seal. In many jurisdictions, the role of architects
and structural engineers overlap.
Many private companies employ non-degreed workers in technical positions with engineering titles such as "test engineer" or "field engineer". Such position may not require an engineering degree at the discretion of the company. It is important however, to make a distinction between a "graduate engineer" and a "professional (or licensed) engineer". A "graduate engineer" is anyone holding a degree in engineering from an accredited four-year university.
In many states, Professional Land Surveyors
are regulated in a similar manner, often by the same state board as engineers or architects: Land Surveyors are required to pass a Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) exam, perform a period of internship and then pass a Practices of Surveying (PS) Exam. A four-year degree in engineering or land surveying may also be required. In a few states, licensed Civil Engineers may also perform land surveys.
In Canada, regulation and registration are accomplished through a self governing body, that is given the power to register and discipline engineers as well as regulate the field of engineering in their province, such as Professional Engineers Ontario
. Many of these associations are also responsible for regulating other related professions. The process for registration is generally as follows:
- Graduate with a degree from an accredited program in engineering or applied science,
- Complete an Engineer in Training program under the direction of a P.Eng. (This is normally a four-year program)
- Review of work experience by the Association,
- Pass a professional practice exam (essentially an engineering ethics and law exam).
Engineers are not registered in a specific discipline but are prohibited by the Code of Ethics from practicing beyond their training and experience. Breaches of the code are often sufficient grounds for enforcement, which may include the suspension or loss of license, as well as financial penalties and now, through recent changes to Canadian law, could also result in jail time should negligence be shown to have played a part in any incident in which there is loss of human life.
Engineers are not tested on technical knowledge during the licensing process; however, the accreditation of schools and their accredited degree granting status are tightly monitored and controlled. The Canadian system thus ensures that a specific and regimented curriculum is offered and tested with strict accordance to set national standards. This streamlines the overall licensing process and ensures a firm national standard on the quality of engineering in Canada. This accreditation process is governed by the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers through their active group the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board. The accreditation process is continuous and enforced through regular accreditation reviews of each school. These reviews typically include the review of the school's curriculum (including marked final exams and assignments), interviews of current students, extra curricular activities and teaching staff as well additional areas the visiting board may feel need addressing. The specific areas considered are Curriculum Content, Program Environment, and General Criteria. The associations are granted both an exclusive right to title and an exclusive right to practice.
There are only a few exceptions specifically noted in the acts and it does not include any "industrial exemptions". Therefore, a practicing engineer is legally required to be registered. The level of enforcement varies depending on the specific industry. The federal government is exempt from provincial laws, but in general the federal government will only give the title "engineer" to their employees who as part of their job requirements are able to be registered as a licensed Professional Engineer.
The iron ring typically worn on the little finger of a Canadian engineer is not a trademark of a Professional engineer, rather it is given upon completion of a bachelors degree in applied science or engineering.
Controversy over the term "Engineer"
The use of the term "engineer" has been an ongoing issue between professional licensing bodies and the IT
industry, where companies typically issue certification titles with word "engineer" as part of the title (such as Certified Novell Engineer
and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer
In general, there is no restriction on the right to practice as an engineer in the UK. There are a few fields of practice, generally safety related, which are reserved by statute to licensed persons. The Engineering Council UK
grants the titles Charter or Incorporated Engineer, and declares them to be "professional engineers."
Europe and Latin America
and some other European and Latin American countries, the term Diploma Engineer
implies that the person has completed typically one more year of academic work beyond the basic engineering Bachelor's degree. A major academic project or thesis is completed as well. Diploma Engineer is therefore a university degree, and not a professional registration or license.
- * Links to seven specialty institutes
- * Links to all provincial associations
- * Links to all Registered Professional Engineers (CEng, 'Engr') in Nigeria
- * NSPE — "What is a Professional Engineer?"
- * US NSPE and UK SPE to sign affiliation agreement