Disclaimer: This is rehashed from an article I wrote in July 2016 for GineersNow. Some parts are added or edited for clarity.
In most parts of the world, there are engineering examinations conducted by government bodies to set national standards and competencies. For graduates of many engineering fields, it requires passing such exams to be rightfully called engineers, and have the benefit of tagging the word “engineer” in one’s name. Only then that one can be called a professional engineer or licensed engineer that goes with a lot of pride and honor.
But what does it really mean to have an engineering license?
- Becoming a licensed engineer shows an assurance of dedication, skill and quality of an engineer. Proven to be equipped with the necessary knowledge to practice, the engineer with his license can say that he or she is of a certain caliber, and that he or she has already mastered critical elements of the profession.
- Only licensed or professional engineers can prepare, sign, seal and submit engineering plans and drawings for approval, or to seal engineering work for public and private clients. This is a privilege enjoyed by those who struggled for the licensure exams.
- Most companies already require a license as a requirement. When one works for a company and somehow messes up terribly on a specific project, worse to the extent of harming the public, the company, as well as the regulating body for licensed processionals, can strip the engineer’s right to practice. Having a license promotes accountability.
- The society has high regard for licensed engineers, much like certified public accountants, lawyers, and medical doctors. There is so much prestige that comes with being a graduate of engineering alone, much more getting a license.
- Perhaps other engineering graduates are taking the licensure exams for the money, which is understandable because licensed engineers indeed get a higher pay versus those who choose to skip the exam.