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June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
For over two decades, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) pursued its “Raise the Bar” initiative, for the purpose of better preparing civil engineers to attain the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge and enter into professional practice. The ultimate goal of this initiative was to change state licensure laws, such that a master’s degree or equivalent (augmented by appropriate work experience) would become the academic prerequisite for licensure as a professional engineer in the U.S. In support of this goal, ASCE promoted “Raise the Bar” legislation in several states. Despite these efforts, no U.S. licensing jurisdiction adopted such legislation. Acknowledging this lack of progress, the ASCE Board of Direction formally initiated a major change in the direction of the “Raise the Bar” initiative in March 2018. The Board’s new approach, subsequently rebranded as the “Engineer Tomorrow” initiative, was to explore the use of Society-administered credentialing, rather than licensure, as its principal mechanism for raising the bar. The Board assigned responsibility for the “Engineer Tomorrow” initiative to the Raise the Bar Committee—subsequently renamed the Committee on Preparing the Future Civil Engineer (CPFCE)—and its Task Committee on Credentialing to Raise the Bar—subsequently renamed the Task Committee on Credentialing (TCC). The TCC’s charge is to “Develop a plan identifying how ASCE can best utilize an internal credentialing program to validate fulfillment of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (CEBOK), including a timeline for implementation, an estimated budget, and a marketing plan to promote a credentialing program(s) to members and owners.” The task committee began its work in July 2018. In its interim report to the ASCE Board, presented in July 2019, the TCC proposed a framework for a comprehensive ASCE-administered credentialing system superimposed upon the existing U.S. licensure system as a mechanism for validating fulfillment of the CEBOK. The Board responded favorably to this proposal and directed the TCC to develop an implementation plan for the new credentialing system. Also starting in July 2018 but working independently of the TCC, the authors of this paper attempted to support and inform the TCC’s work by analyzing the credentialing system used in the U.S. medical profession and using this model as the basis for a proposed civil engineering credentialing system. Our published proposal was provided to both the TCC and the ASCE Board prior to the Board’s July 2019 meeting. In this paper, we expand upon our earlier analysis by examining more closely the implementation of specialty certification by the medical profession. Specifically, the purposes of this paper are (1) to explain why and how the medical profession’s system of board certification was developed and implemented and (2) to offer lessons learned for the civil engineering profession. After discussing a brief history of the evolution of the medical profession’s model for licensing and specialty certification, the paper will provide evidence of the success of the medical profession’s model, identify the reasons for the successful implementation of their system, and discuss the barriers and obstacles faced in the process. The paper will also review current issues related to the continued implementation of the medical profession’s system. Based on this analysis, the paper will offer lessons learned for the civil engineering profession as it considers implementing the certification of specialty areas within the civil engineering profession.
COORDINATING NOTE: This abstract is submitted at the specific invitation and request of the coordinators of the ASCE Liaison Committee’s session(s) for the Civil Engineering Division of ASEE in June 2020. It should be considered for inclusion in the session(s) on “Educational & Professional Issues of Strategic Importance to the Civil Engineering Profession – and ASCE” that Leslie Nolen and Tom Lenox are organizing.
Hains, D. B., & Ressler, S. J., & Lenox, T. A. (2020, June), Lessons Learned from the Implementation of Board Certification in the Medical Profession Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34911
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