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Assessing State Engineering Examining Boards And Higher Education’s Response To The 2006 Ncees Model Law For Professional Engineering Licensure

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Professional Issues in Civil Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.246.1 - 14.246.9



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Paper Authors


E James Nelson Brigham Young University

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Civil and Environmental Engineering,
Brigham Young University.
Teaching and research focus in hydrology and hydrologic modeling

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Gus Williams Brigham Young University

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Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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Paul Richards Brigham Young University

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Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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Grant Schultz Brigham Young University

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Assitant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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Travis Wight Brigham Young University

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Student Research Assistant

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Jeff Armstrong Armstrong Forensic

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Assessing Higher Education Response to the 2006 NCEES Model Law for Professional Engineering Licensure

Introduction To obtain a professional civil engineering license, engineers must complete requirements in three areas: academic training, professional experience, and national examinations. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) have proposed additional requirements beyond those currently in force, particularly in the area of academic training. Both ASCE and NCEES anticipate that these changes will more adequately prepare engineers for the tasks that they will face in the future, allowing NCEES to ensure maximized public health, safety, and welfare consequential to civil projects. Additionally, ASCE believes that implementation will enhance the stature of the profession in general. As the graduate committee in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Brigham Young University (BYU), the authors of this paper were charged with planning for potential impacts that a change in the academic requirements for licensure would have on our department. The authors used this opportunity to ascertain if civil engineering departments at other universities were making changes in their programs and if they were taking planning actions based on these proposed licensing requirements. The purpose of this paper is to summarize the results of a survey conducted to aid in this effort. Before presenting the survey the paper outlines current requirements for professional engineering licensure, identifies proposed changes to licensure requirements, and outlines the study objectives. Following this introductory information, the research methods are presented and survey results summarized, including issues and discussion. Finally, conclusions to the research are provided.

Current Licensure Requirements

The academic training required for professional licensure is a four-year Bachelor of Science (BS) degree from an ABET/EAC (ABET, Inc., Engineering Accreditation Commission) accredited program. ABET/EAC is a non-governmental association that specifies curriculum requirements and minimum learning outcomes that an accredited civil engineering program must provide to each engineering student. ABET/EAC oversight ensures nationwide uniformity and quality in engineering education. The professional experience requirement for licensure is satisfied through post-baccalaureate work experience under the supervision of a licensed engineer. Individual state licensing boards approve work experience on a case by case basis and there are few general guidelines available which establish appropriate work. Licensing boards typically require four years of experience, but some allow credit for time spent in completion of a graduate degree to substitute for a portion of the professional experience. Licensing boards review the quality of the professional experience to determine whether the experience was appropriate. Many jurisdictions also require that the engineering experience be progressive in nature, which means increasing in breadth, depth, and responsibility, rather than one year’s experience repeated a number of times.1

Nelson, E. J., & Williams, G., & Richards, P., & Schultz, G., & Wight, T., & Armstrong, J. (2009, June), Assessing State Engineering Examining Boards And Higher Education’s Response To The 2006 Ncees Model Law For Professional Engineering Licensure Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5389

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2009 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015