Why Get Licensed?

Licensure is the mark of a professional. It’s a standard recognized by employers and their clients, by governments and by the public as an assurance of dedication, skill and quality.

Basically being a PE means that you are at the top of your game, top of your profession. They don’t just hand that out to anybody.” — Randal E. Riebel, P.E.

There are many powerful reasons – both professional and personal – for earning and maintaining a PE license. Only a licensed engineer, for instance, may prepare, sign, seal and submit engineering plans and drawings to an public authority for approval, or to seal engineering work for public and private clients.

For consulting engineers and private practitioners, licensure is a virtual necessity. In fact, it is a legal requirement for those who are in responsible charge of work, be they principals or employees.

More and more with each passing day, government agencies, educational institutions and private industries are requiring that they hire and contract only with licensed professional engineers. This is a trend that is almost certain to continue in the future.

Today, no matter what career path a professional engineer chooses, a successful, ongoing career virtually requires PE licensure.

Just as the CPA defines the accountant, and a law license defines the lawyer, the PE license tells the public that you have mastered the critical elements of your profession. It demonstrates your commitment to the highest standardsof engineering practice. It’s also proof of your ability to offer engineering services directly to the public – something only a licensed PE can do. The PE after your name is an advantage that will open doors for the rest of your life.

Advantages of a PE License

  • Employment – Licensed employees enhance the reputation of engineering firms and become symbols of competency, professionalism, experience, and character. Studies have shown that most PEs earn higher pay throughout their business careers. Having your PE allows expanded opportunities beyond a company structure – as an independent consultant for example.
  • Promotability – Getting licensed demonstrates motivation, responsibility, and success orientation. The same qualities are demanded for positions requiring individual thought, discretion and responsibility.
  • Quality Assurance – As the demand for consumer protection continues to grow, so will the demand for licensing among the engineers designing the products and processes affecting the public. Only PEs can sign and seal engineering drawings; and only PEs can be in responsible charge of a firm in private practice or serve as a fully qualified expert witness. Also, many government agencies and educational institutions are emphasizing licensure among their engineers as well.
  • Global Competitiveness – Engineering projects increasingly cross national borders. Most countries require some form of professional licensing and will expect the members of the international team to be licensed in their home countries. Having a PE license opens up your career options. You can become a specialist, or establish your own business. It also protects you during industry downsizing or outsourcing. The PE license allows you to go as far as your initiative and talent will take you.
  • Back to Basics – Industry increasingly demands licensing to better identify designers of both good and bad work in an effort to restore quality engineering and limit product liability.