Asee peer logo

Implementing Civil Engineering-specific Requirements for Professional Licensure

Download Paper |


2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Educational & Professional Issues of Strategic Importance to the Civil Engineering Profession and ASCE

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Matthew K Swenty P.E. Virginia Military Institute

visit author page

Matthew (Matt) Swenty obtained his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Civil Engineering from Missouri S&T and then worked as a bridge designer at the Missouri Department of Transportation. He obtained his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering at Virginia Tech and then worked at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center on concrete bridge research. He is currently an associate professor of Civil Engineering at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI). He teaches engineering mechanics and structural engineering courses at VMI and enjoys working with the students on bridge related research projects and with the ASCE student chapter.

visit author page


Craig N. Musselman A & E Consulting

visit author page

Craig N. Musselman, P.E. is a practicing civil and environmental engineer and is the Founder and President of CMA Engineers, a consulting engineering firm with offices in New Hampshire and Maine. He holds B.S.C.E. and M.S.C.E. degrees from the University of Massachusetts and has more than 35 years experience in the planning, design and construction administration of public works facilities. Musselman is a former member of the New Hampshire Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and was actively involved in the National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors (NCEES) through committee and task force involvements over the past 10 years. For NSPE, he is the Chair of the Licensure and Qualifications for Practice Committee. He is a member of the ABET Board of Directors. Musselman is a Fellow of NSPE and ACEC and a Distinguished Member of ASCE, and he received the ASCE President’s Medal in 2006 and the NSPE President’s Medal in 2011, for service to the engineering profession. He is a frequent speaker on engineering licensure and education topics throughout the U.S. He also serves as the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen for the Town of Rye, N.H.

visit author page


Monte L. Phillips P.E. University of North Dakota

visit author page

Monte L. Phillips is an Emeritus Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of North Dakota. He received a PhD from the University of Illinois and BS and MS degrees from the University of North Dakota. During a forty year career as an educator, he served on the faculties of the University of North Dakota, the University of Illinois, and Ohio Northern University, as well as devoting time to private practice as a design consultant and forensic engineer. He is a registered professional engineer in North Dakota.

Dr. Phillips is a Distinguished Member of ASCE, past two-term North Dakota Section president, and has chaired the ASCE Experience Committee and the ASCE BOK Experiential Fulfillment Committee both constituent committees of the ASCE Committee on the Academic Prerequisites for Professional Practice (CAP^3). He has served on the ASCE Committee on Licensure and the Experiential Fulfillment Strategic Planning Subcommittee of the Committee on Licensure and Ethics. He currently serves on the ASCE BOK3 Task Committee which is preparing the 3rd Edition of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge for the 21st Century, and represents ASCE on the NCEES POLC Committee. He is the recipient of the ASCE 2012 William H. Wisely American Civil Engineer Award,

Dr. Phillips has been an active member of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) at the local, state, and national levels serving as national president in 1994-95. He is past president of the North Dakota Society of Professional Engineers and was awarded the North Dakota Society's Elwyn F. Chandler Award and the prestigious North Dakota National Leadership Award of Excellence in recognition of outstanding national leadership of the engineering profession. He continues to serve NSPE as chair of the Council of Fellows Executive Committee. He served a five-year term, including chair, of the North Dakota Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. He is the recipient of the 2013 NSPE Award, the society's highest honor.

Dr. Phillips has served on numerous task forces and committees of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) involved with enhancing the educational requirements for entry into the professional practice of engineering including chair of the Fundamentals of Engineering Effectiveness Task Force, the Licensure Qualifications Oversight Group, and the Faculty Licensure Task Force. NCEES recognized his service with the NCEES Central Zone's Distinguished Service Award (2001), the NCEES Distinguished Service Award (2005), and the NCEES Distinguished Service Award with Special Commendations (2013).

Dr. Phillips represented NCEES on the ABET Board of Directors for seven years and served as the 2013 - 2014 ABET President. He has been involved with the development of ABET's Strategic Plan for the future as a member of both the Strategic Planning Task Force, the Global Council, as well as their predecessors, the Strategic Planning Committee and the International Activities Council. He has served on the ABET Finance Committee, the Ad-Hoc Outreach Task Group, the Strategic Management Ad-Hoc Task Group on Governance, the Nominating Committee, and he chaired the Admissions Committee.

Dr. Phillips is a Fellow and past president of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers; a past six-term member of the Board of Directors of the National Institute of Building Science; has served 21 years on the National Board of Governors of the Order of the Engineer including two years as chair; and has authored papers and reports on engineering licensure.

visit author page

author page

L. Robert Smith P.E. American Society of Civil Engineers

Download Paper |


The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has supported an increase in educational requirements for the professional practice of engineering for the past twenty years. These efforts were named the Raise the Bar initiative and were initially meant to apply to the qualifications of all engineering disciplines. In July 2017, the ASCE Board of Direction modified ASCE Policy 465– Academic Prerequisites for Licensure and Professional Practice to focus only on civil engineers. This renewed effort and re-focus of the Raise the Bar initiative will have profound impacts on ASCE’s Raise the Bar activities.

The United States has a longstanding tradition that engineering licenses are granted by each jurisdiction (states and territories). If additional education requirements are implemented through licensure, each of these jurisdictions will need to determine how to address these new education standards that would apply only to civil engineers.

The authors, under the auspices of the ASCE Committee on Licensure, have researched this topic and determined there are two possible routes for different education requirements for licensure among engineering disciplines: discipline specific licensure and a civil centric approach. Discipline specific licensure would require that licensing boards consider applicants for each area or specialty of engineering both separately and differently. The requirements whether education, experience, or testing could vary, the license could be linked to a unique niche of engineering work, and the license would have a specific designation for each area of engineering. The civil centric approach would maintain a general professional engineering license for all engineers, but would allow the licensing jurisdiction to vary the requirements for applicants based on their education background. For example an applicant with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering would also need a master’s degree to pursue licensure.

Both of these approaches are unique and would require substantial changes to most licensing jurisdiction’s rules. The authors analyzed both the discipline specific and civil centric approaches for their respective strengths and weaknesses. Current licensing jurisdictions that use variations of these methods were investigated to see the past successes and impacts on licensing boards. In addition, conflicting policies from other professional groups and similarities to licensure processes of other professions were considered. The results are presented from both a policy and a practicality standpoint. The conclusion is that changes to licensing jurisdiction rules and policies may be beneficial to the ASCE Raise the Bar efforts, but implementation would be difficult. The consequences need to be carefully weighed by the civil engineering community before moving forward with this strategy.

Swenty, M. K., & Musselman, C. N., & Phillips, M. L., & Smith, L. R. (2018, June), Implementing Civil Engineering-specific Requirements for Professional Licensure Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30619

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: © 2018 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