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Creating A Path For Licensure For Engineering Technology Graduates

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.173.1 - 3.173.4



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Paper Authors

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Walter Buchanan

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

Session 1547

Creating a Path for Licensure for Engineering Technology Graduates

Walter W. Buchanan Oregon Institute of Technology


For proponents of the allowance of graduates of engineering technology programs to become Professional Engineers, a disturbing trend is developing. In the past fifteen years the number of states that allow a path for licensure for engineering technology graduates has dropped from forty1 to thirty-five.2 Much of the reason for this has been a campaign by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and now the new proposed “Engineering Licensure Model”3 that would prohibit a path for licensure for these graduates. This article will show an effective way of combating this movement.


Less than one in five engineers in the United States is a registered Professional Engineer. Also, the membership of NSPE has been declining in the past ten years with a loss of membership of over 10,000. Nevertheless, many engineering technology educators feel that it is important that their graduates have a chance to become Professional Engineers, if they so desire.4 Although most engineering technology graduates will never need to be registered, it is important that a path for licensure be preserved. The reason for this is that many of these graduates can be made to feel that they are second-class citizens if they have no path to licensure. This feeling can have a negative impact on recruiting efforts if potential students become aware of the fact that they can not get registered if they have an engineering technology degree. Although enrollments in engineering programs in general have been down in recent years, enrollments in engineering technology programs in particular have suffered. For the period of 1987 to 1996, engineering degrees awarded has been down by 14 percent while engineering technology degrees during the same period has been down by 23 percent.5 The trend towards not allowing licensure of engineering technology graduates may play a role in this difference.

With the problem defined, the question arises as to its solution. The author has felt for many years that involvement in NSPE by engineering technology educators is important since NSPE has great influence on state engineering registration boards. However, although the author has made some headway in convincing some members of NSPE that engineering technology graduates should be allowed a path to licensure, the position of NSPE will not change unless a significant number of engineering technology educators join and work within NSPE for a change in its policy. This has not happened. Moreover, it is at the state level itself that the “rubber hits the road” for influencing state registration boards as to their examination admissions policy. Fighting the battle state by state at the state level may therefore make more sense. Individual

Buchanan, W. (1998, June), Creating A Path For Licensure For Engineering Technology Graduates Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--7000

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