Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The earmark that distinguishes a professional engineer is the authority to "sign off" or "stamp" on a design or a structure, thus taking legal responsibility for it.
The term Professional Engineer is a legally protected title and the practice of engineering is protected in both Canada and United States and only registered Professional Engineers are allowed to use the title or carry out the work of Engineering. Common equivalents outside these countries include Chartered Engineer and European Engineer.
Post-nominal letters used vary from location:
- P.E. or PE are used in the U.S.
- P.Eng. is used in Canada except the province of Quebec.
- Eng. (French:Ing.) is used in Quebec.
- E.I.T. or EIT engineers in training (future professional engineers).
- CEng in the UK & Republic of Ireland.
- IEng in the UK
Registration and regulation
Each country or state/province has specific procedures and requirements for the license. The procedure in the US and Canada is significantly different.
In United States registration of engineering is generally done by a state board. The exact procedure can vary from state to state, but the general process is
- graduation with a degree from an accredited program in engineering
- completion of a standard (e.g. "fundamentals of engineering" (FE)) exam which tests on basic courses and some elements of an engineering speciality
- accumulation of some years of experience doing engineering work under the supervision of a PE
- completion of a second "principles and practice" exam which tests higher level skills, and knowledge of practice in the specific field that they operate on. This also includes a test on ethics.
Engineers are often only permitted to practice in the areas for which they have passed exams.
In Canada regulation including registration is generally done by a self governing body (Association of Professional Engineers) that is given the power to register and discipline engineers as well as regulate the field of engineering in their province. Many of these associations are also responsible for regulating other related professions (such as Geoscience). The process for registration is generally as follows:
- graduation with a degree from an accredited program in engineering or applied science,
- completion of an Engineer in Training program under the direction of a P. Eng. (This is generally a 4 year program)
- review of work experience by the Association,
- pass a professional practice exam (essentially an ethics exam).
Engineers are not registered in a specific discipline, but instead are prohibited by the Code of Ethics from practicing beyond their training and experience.
Legislatively the Code of Ethics is legally binding on Professional Engineers.
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