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Registered or Licensed?

Registered or Licensed?

Registered or Licensed?

When you're promoting yourself to engineering laymen, such as in an informational brochure, do you refer to yourself as a registered engineer or a licensed engineer?

RE: Registered or Licensed?

I refer to myself as a professional engineer, therefore the PE after my name is not an RE or LE

RE: Registered or Licensed?

true, cvg.  thanks.

RE: Registered or Licensed?

Probably depends on which state you're in.  In California, you would be a Professional Engineer, governed by the "PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS ACT."

In paragraph 6704 of the PE Act, titled "Defines who may use engineer titles," states, "...and only persons licensed under this chapter shall be entitled to take and use the titles "consulting engineer," "professional engineer," or "registered engineer," or any combination of those titles or abbreviations thereof, and according to licensure with the board the engineering branch titles specified in Section 6732, or the authority titles specified in Sections 6736 and 6736.1, or the title "engineer-in-training."

So, all except "licensed engineer" are specifically referenced in California law.


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RE: Registered or Licensed?

interesting, because I just renewed my California PE "License" this morning.

I am "licensed" by the Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists. At the top it says the renewal is for "Professional License". At the bottom it is called a "Certificate Renewal Application".

So, I could be considered  a "Certifiable, Licensed, Professional Engineer"...

RE: Registered or Licensed?

Licensed as a Professional Engineer

RE: Registered or Licensed?

My state originally had "Registered" as the term of art as in "Registered Professional Engineer".  Several years ago, it was changed to "Licensed Professional Engineer" as the term in state law.

Interesting how architects more often use their affiliation with AIA rather than using "R.A." for registered architect in their signatures. Oh well..they've always been elitists.

RE: Registered or Licensed?

Some states use registration numbers and others use license numbers.

RE: Registered or Licensed?

My wall certificate says I am "...duly licensed..." as a professional engineer.

My seal says Colorado Registered Professional Engineer.

RE: Registered or Licensed?

My question stems from this. To someone not familiar with the PE status, does calling myself a PE make it clear that I'm licensed? A ditch digger could call himself professional, but there's no license involved.

RE: Registered or Licensed?

if somebody is not familiar with it, than it makes no difference what you call yourself.  However, the common denominator in the US is the term Professional Engineer, shortened to PE. Regardless if you are certified, licensed or registered. By the way, these terms all appear to be synonymous


RE: Registered or Licensed?

slta...the term "P.E." or Professional Engineer is a protected term in all the states in which I am or have been licensed.  It is against the law to use the term unless you are licensed as such.

RE: Registered or Licensed?

Ron, I know that, but I wonder if the realtors I talk to would.

I've decided to capitalize Professional Engineer in my brochure. That should help.

Thanks for all the responses!

RE: Registered or Licensed?

Some realtors will know and some won't.  That's been my experience.  I've met graduates of engineering programs who didn't know anything about it.

RE: Registered or Licensed?

PE is the general notation applying to all licensed engineering disciplines and is recognized as such by all the states as far as I am aware.  However, some, such as Washington, Arizona, Oregon California, and Utah, to name a few, make a differentiation between Civil and Structural.  In that case, the PE alone would refer to just the Civil.  If there is an additional certification beyond that, it is recognized as a specialty, such as Structural.  

My Washington and old Oregon license said "Civil and Structural" right on the certificate, and my old Arizona noted "Registered Professional Engineer with a Proficiency in Structural Engineering".

It would be far less confusing to the public if there was a greater level of standardization in the engineering licensing area, but that's just my opinion..

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering
Motto:  KISS
Motivation:  Don't ask

RE: Registered or Licensed?

The use of term 'registered' or 'licensed' varies by the state. The state's approved seal and certificate indicates that. So depending upon the state, a Professional Engineer is either registered or licensed in that state. Only engineers thus registered or licensed can use P.E. with their names.

Rafiq Bulsara

RE: Registered or Licensed?

Brochure wise and why the question is being asked.  Can everyone go into more detail on why this matters.  What concerns are there when you don't cap your name right or put the dot in the right place?

B+W Engineering and Design
Los Angeles Civil and Structural Engineering

RE: Registered or Licensed?

The definition of registered:  officially or legally certified by a government officer or board.

The definition of licensed:  formal permission from a governmental or other constituted authority to do something, as to carry on some business or profession.

Without splitting hairs, it seems they mean the same thing.

RE: Registered or Licensed?

brandonbw...it has to do with protection of the profession and compliance with state law (which is also intended to protect the profession as well as the public).

To call oneself an "engineer" implies a level of education and competence that ordinary mortals do not have (only being slightly facetious!).  When that term is used to promote someone who does not have those qualifications, it is a fraud upon the public.  That's one of the things that typical engineering laws try to protect by placing restrictions on the use of such terms.

There are licensed (registered) engineers and there are those who are exempt from licensing but have appropriate engineering qualifications to use the term "engineer".  Most state laws distinguish between the two.  Yes, you can be an "engineer" but not a "licensed (registered) engineer", but you must have the appropriate engineering education to be so.

I got into a bit of a family dispute many years ago when I had a close relative who called himself an "engineer".  He was a very technically capable person who was very good at what he did, but he had no engineering education nor credentials and worked in a peripheral industry that routinely abuses the term "engineer"...they will give it to anyone they hire, just because their industry is technical.  I told him that he was not an engineer and should not use the term.  I further explained that he was an engineering technician and that to use the term "engineer" was incorrect and violated the laws of the state in which he worked.  He was incensed...but eventually came around to understand what I meant as his business progressed and "real" engineering was required in his work. A little tense at Thanksgiving Dinner, but what the hell....we go through engineering school and several licensing exams for a reason.

As for brochures and other advertisement, use the term that is prevalent in your primary state of licensure and that which comports with your "Certificate of Authorization" in whatever state the brochures are applicable.  In some states you'll use the term "Licensed Professional Engineer" and in some states you'll use "Registered Professional Engineer". In my thinking they are "co-redundant"!

If you do not follow the "rules of the board" in the state in which you are registered or licensed, you can be charged with a variety of violations and can be fined, censured, or otherwise penalized for your violation of those rules. Know the rules and follow them...it helps to keep our profession distinct and professional.   

RE: Registered or Licensed?

never heard of a professional doctor, professional lawyer or professional hair dresser, even though all are required to take an exam and be licensed through the state. Never heard of an amateur Engineer (I'm sure they do exist), although other professions use the term. Rather unfortunate that both the public and the engineering community treats the engineering profession with such little respect that we have to add another descriptor such as "professional" or "licensed" to indicate that we meet the minimum requirements to practice...

RE: Registered or Licensed?

There is a BIG difference, as you already know.  Doctors, lawyers, etc. cannot practice AT ALL, without a license, but most states have industrial exemptions for engineers, as it should be.

" public and the engineering community treats the engineering profession with such little respect "

Let's be realistic here; no one can claim that hairdressers have "respect" akin to that of doctors, and certainly, few profess any respect for lawyers.  

I don't think there is, or every will be, a public level of respect for engineers that can comparable with that of doctors.  Doctors get respect because their work has direct impact on everyday people evey day.  That will never happen with engineers because their work is only exposed to the public when it fails, and usually, only when it fails drastically.  Nonetheless, engineers who can look at ailing engineering artifacts and diagnose them like doctors get considerable level of respect from their peers.

I would further dispute that doctors receive that much respect anyway; the broad public generally sees doctors as pill pushers and orderers of excessive medical tests.


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