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Calling yourself an engineer without a PE, is that ever OK even in fields that don't have PEs?Helpful Member!(3) 

CheckThePlug (Mechanical) (OP)
27 May 12 19:52
I'm sure this has come up before, but none of the search attempts I made dug up anything, so here goes:

I was having a discussion on another forum where someone claimed to be a "self-taught engineer". While I don't think you should call yourself an engineer without a bachelor's degree, many people were insisting that only PEs should be called engineers. I understand the reason for this in state-regulated fields like civil/HVAC/etc., but what about automotive, aerospace, product development, etc with bachelor's degrees? I design consumer products (nothing particularly dangerous) and PEs certainly do not exist in my field, so can I not say I'm an engineer regardless? I would never represent myself as an engineer in a civil/structural/HVAC situation as I don't have experience or licensing to do so, but am I not still an engineer in the sense that I ensure products are structurally sound, capable of being manufactured and assembled, and do durability testing to ensure it meets longevity requirements? If not, what else would I call myself? I would especially like to hear from people in fields like aerospace and automotive to see what they call themselves.
Helpful Member!(2)  metengr (Materials)
27 May 12 22:30
Most, if not all States within the US have rules by their respective Professional Engineering Boards that allow the use of engineer in a title provided you are employed in industry.

So, the bottom line is you can use the title "Engineer" when employed by an industrial company and the work does not result in selling of consulting or engineering services or involvement with projects where stamping is required.
CheckThePlug (Mechanical) (OP)
28 May 12 9:44
For clarification on the second part, if I started a product development firm that dealt with things like household consumer products (mops, fans, etc), could I advertise it as "product development engineering services" as long as I have fine print stating I don't deal with state regulated things like HVAC/civil? I know I could just say "product development services", but there are lots of those run by industrial designers that know basically squat about real physics and I would want to stress the engineering background as most would be led to believe an engineer would produce a better end product.
metengr (Materials)
28 May 12 12:27


"product development engineering services"
. The only correct advice and response I could give is you need to run this concept by a Professional Engineering Board in the state where your company is located.

I will tell you this if I was on the PE Board, I would not allow it. You need to be mindful of the use engineering services, and what this means to the general public. Again, check with your state regulatory board.
rmw (Mechanical)
28 May 12 19:32
I think this topic has been discussed ad nauseum in the soft fora on this site.

Bottom line, if you are working for a company you can do and be called whatever they like. I worked for a British company that attached the term 'engineer' to just about every white collar job there; sales engineers, tendering engineers, service engineers, parts engineers, sanitary engineers, (well, that one wasn't white collar) etc. Very few engineering degrees amongst that bunch.

If you have an engineering degree and do engineering work, have no hesitancy to call yourself an engineer - you are one. You are protected by virtue of the fact that you work for a company that is selling to the public and the liability for the product is theirs.

If on the other hand, you are selling your services directly to the public, you have to be registered as a PE in that jurisdiction or face the legal consequenses.

vpl (Nuclear)
28 May 12 20:35
This really should be asked over in forum765: Professional Ethics in engineering. This forum is really reserved for technical questions related to the ASME Code.

Patricia Lougheed


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