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Pennsylvania Licensing Law

Pennsylvania Licensing Law

Pennsylvania Licensing Law

(OP)
The following is from a newsletter from the State Registration
Board for PE's, LS's and Geologists:

The Term "Engineer"
and the Law
by Edward P. Becker, P.E., P.L.S.


The term "engineer" is very specific
within the context of Pennsylvania's
registration law. (Note: the board does
not write the law - the legislature
passes the law, and the board's func-
tion is to administer it.) The Registra-
tion Act states that it is illegal for any-
one who is not registered and licensed
in Pennsylvania as a professional engi-
neer to practice engineering or to repre-
sent him/herself to the public by his/
her advertisement, letterhead, business
card or by verbal claim as an "engineer".
For example, one who is selling a prod-
uct cannot use the title "sales engineer"
on a business card, or sign letters with
the title unless he/she is duly licensed
as described above. Further, one cannot
testify in court in Pennsylvania as an
"engineer" unless he/she is duly li-
censed. The Act makes provisions for
what is not considered the "practice of
engineering" such as teaching, indus-
try exemption, construction, research
etc. Nevertheless, in any of these excep-
tions an individual cannot represent
him/herself to the public as an "engi-
neer" unless he/she is also duly
licensed.
One notable question that the board is
often asked is whether an unlicensed
staff engineer of a consulting engineer-
ing firm can sign letters with a title such
as "project engineer" or "staff engineer"
- the answer is NO. One cannot por-
tray him/herself to the public with a job
title containing the word "engineer",
except for the title "Engineer-in-Train-
ing" provided the individual has an EIT
certificate. Likewise, if an unlicensed
person represents the firm as a liaison
at a public meeting, he/she is obligated
to inform those present that he/she is
not a licensed engineer and cannot an-
swer any questions of design or engi-
neering that may come up during the
course of the meeting. Both situations
have an unlicensed engineer as a liai-
son between the client and the respon-
sible licensed professional engineer in
charge of the work- the one required
by law to sign the letters, seal the plans
and respond to questions whose an-
swers require engineering judgment.
The law is equally interpreted in regard
to the terminology as it relates to land
surveyors and geologists in represent-
ing oneself to the public.
At its July meeting, the board voted to em-
brace Act 48 of the legislature (see article
on page 6) which will allow the Bureau of
Enforcement and Investigation (BEI) of-
fice of the Department of State to imple-
ment routine screenings statewide for
violations of this provision in Act 367. By
this action the board is not relinquishing
its responsibility to administer the law,
but rather delegating to BEI the handling
of routine complaints of unlicensed prac-
tice, thus freeing up the prosecuting
attorney's office to deal more efficiently
with the complex cases that come before
the board. It should streamline the inves-
tigative/adjudicative process, provide a
better vehicle for policing unlicensed prac-
tice, expedite citations and provide greater
protection to the public.

RE: Pennsylvania Licensing Law

My only comment is that everyone should take the effort to pass the EIT and PE exams. Do it early in your engineering career! It does not matter if your current employer requires licensing and you may not get any recoginition from them but,it may well be required some time in the future. You may also change jobs and find out that licensing is required or desirable. Check out these web sites:

www.ncees.org
www.nspe.org
www.ppi2pass.com 

William H. Bernhart, P.E.


I work as a development engineer for AMP - Tyco Electronics located near Harrisburg, PA. I help design interconnections and electrical connectors for aerospace applications.

RE: Pennsylvania Licensing Law

I'm an EIT here in canada working for a small sutrcutrla engineering firm. We don't have many people working for us, myself, one other engineer (licensed) and two draftsmen. As such I am frequently completely in charge of entire projects (with the engineer checkig my work, of course). However, in order to deal effectively with clients, they like to know that their project is being handled by an actual engineer, so it's kind of important that I am represented as an engineer and not just as some fresh recruit right out of school. I know this probly isn't quite right, but what other choice do we have ?

RE: Pennsylvania Licensing Law

Does anyone know what the law is for Michigan?  As a matter of fact, what about the other US states?

RE: Pennsylvania Licensing Law

(OP)
See the FAQ under Mechanical Engineering.

Don

RE: Pennsylvania Licensing Law

Dabick,

I believe (but I'm not certain) that the law in Michigan is similar to Pennsylvania's, with the exception that a person employed in an engineering function in a non-engineering company can call him/herself an engineer.  I work for an office furniture manufacturer as a manufacturing/quality engineer, and my business cards state that.  (So do all the other engineers' cards.)

However, I cannot start my own "engineering" consulting company because I do not have a professional license.  Now, there are ways to get around that, because Michigan (again, only to my knowledge) would not have a problem if I started a "industrial services" consulting company, so long as I never state that I am an engineer or perform engineering tasks.  Of course, I haven't tested that theory personally.... :-)

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