The term Licensure refers to a restricted practice that requires individuals to have an official license granted by a licensing board before performing a certain profession or activity. The practice of this activity without a valid license may incur civil and criminal penalties. However, it’s more than common for lawmakers to categorize highly educated PEs with other professionals in totally different areas of expertise as an attempt to simplify the bureaucracy over occupational licenses. This is what the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) defines as threats to your PE License, and today’s main topic: The deregulation of your occupation as a professional engineer.
Given that the majority of engineers are not aware of this legislation, and the consequences and implications that come with them, the NSPE created an interactive map in which individuals can check out both the states that currently have active threats being discussed, as well as those states that have no threats reported, in addition to providing several articles for anyone to get to know this legal aspect a bit more.
Even though civil engineers are way more interested in solving problems by making use of their technical and detailed thinking, the legislation aspect cannot be totally neglected. The value of the PE license is huge and protecting it is, as NSPE puts it, of utmost importance.
News on the PE exam for future test dates and registration – NCEES
National Society of Professional Engineers – NSPE
NSPE’s Interactive Map – Here
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CEA Show Notes
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Isaac Oakeson: Hey, what's going on, everybody? Isaac here with Civil Engineering Academy. I'm coming at you with another fun episode for our YouTube channel, as well as our podcast. And we want to talk about today what the heck are threats to licensure? Have you ever heard about this? Do you know about this? Does anybody know about this? I don't know. Maybe you do, maybe you don't. A lot of people don't because this is stuff that just happens in legislation a lot, but I want to talk about it with you today because it seems to be a growing topic among, you know, legislation and other areas that there is a serious threat to your PE license, after you've earned a PE license. So, it's an interesting topic, definitely one that we want to dive into today, and it's going to be a good one. I don't have any guests on today. It's just going to be me flying solo, but it's still going to be a lot of good information and maybe even cover some stuff that you maybe have not even thought about before. So, it's going to be a good one threats to your PE licensure.
Isaac Oakeson: All right, everybody. So, before we dive into that, I want to share with you some information. Just as an update to those that are about to take the PE exam this coming October. So, I'm recording this in 2020. COVID is going nuts. Exams were canceled in April and now there's information related to those that are going to take the exam, this coming October. So, before we dive into threats to the PE license, I just wanted to announce this and get it out there, in case you weren't aware of some of these changes. Maybe you are. Hopefully you received an email about it. But what they've notified everybody of is that they're saying that changes to state and local requirements that further reduce capacities for groups and events have had a significant impact on the NCEES exams, especially the sites that they've got set out for these examsspecifically for October 2020 exam test takers. So, the NCEES is going to continue to monitor these changes now all the way up until the exam day. Howeverwhat's noted during the exam registration process, any changes that require a further reduction in capacity at these places may result in the cancellation of your exam. So, they're looking at the capacity that they have at each of these testing centers. And, you know what, I don't know how they're going to determine how many or what the cutoff is, but if you're unlucky, you might not make it to the exam again, which is a real bummer. But, I don't think it should discourage you from studying if you're taking the exam. I just want to get that out there. So, what they've said is that in an effort to accommodate as many pencil and paper examiners as possible, and as safely as possible, they've added what's called a regional exam administration. So, as of January 26th of 2021, this is just for PE exam test takers only. So, if you're concerned about the cancellation risk that might happen for the October exam, you can cancel that exam before registration closes on August 20th. So -- Crap, I don't even know what day it is. What is today? Today's the 21st. So, if you missed it, you missed it. Yeah. You can receive a full refund for your exam if you do this. So, if you do that, get yourself a refund. But registration for the regional PE exam administration's going to open in November and it will close in December. So, it opens November 1st and closes December 13th and the exam will be administered in cities that are listedwhich I will tell you about. Additional cities may open. They're not sure about that. So, if you're located outside of these States, you probably want to check with your own state's division of professional licensing and find out what's going on there. So, this is just a big, big COVID update for you or any test takers that are out there. So, here are the cities that are doing this regional PM exam. If you want to say. Is that what you call it? Yeah. Regional PM exam. So Phoenix, Arizona; Pomona, California San Mateo, California; Hartford, Connecticut; Orlando, Florida; Topeka, Kansas; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Raleigh, North Carolina; Cleveland, Ohio; Houston, Texas; and Seattle, Washington. So those are the current States they're going to offer this regional administration exam. So, they also say examinees will be allowed to complete the registration process only when a seat is available for their selected site. However, capacity and social distancing requirements still remain intact and those things could affect you. So, anyway, the NCEES is trying to make every effort to accommodate all registrants for these exams in a healthy manner and a safe manner to help protect you. So, definitely, if you're going to go take the exam this October, you want to be in touch with the NCEES, find out what's going on. I just wanted to briefly share that with you, with everyone, because if you're taking the exam this October for the PE, I just want you to be aware of that, if you aren't already. Lots of COVID stuff going on. COVID.
Isaac Oakeson: All right. So, having said all that, getting all that out of the way for COVID stuff, you're probably watching this in the future and you can't cancel and that's a whole nother game. Hopefully you're in touch with the NCEES. I just want you to be aware of that November to December date, so you can get registered if you're going to take it in the future. So, having said all that, let's get to our main content, which we wanted to talk about, which is threats to the PE license. So, if you are unaware of this, there are ongoing threats to the civil PE license and it's something that's always consistently monitored specifically by the National Society of Professional Engineers, the NSPE. They do a good job of posting what the threats are among different States in the nation. And so, you're probably wondering, "Well, what the heck? Why is there even threats going on? What's that all about?" So, what's going on is that oftentimes there are regulations that come up or laws that are passed or things that go through legislation in different States that cause for the deregulation of certain licenses. Sometimes they want to loosen things up and sometimes civil engineering gets lumped into a lot of other professions that they consider maybe not needing a license for. And, you know, like a barber needs a state license as well as a civil engineer. If you go look up on their wall, you go get a haircut, and you see on the wall and you've got your PE license, the barber's got the same license as you do. You get the same state license, okay? So, a lot of times when legislation is passed and they're trying to deregulate stuffengineering gets thrown into that. And a lot of timesyou know, these regulators need to be educated on the value that engineers and the bar that engineers have to meet in order to keep, you know, the public safety and intact, that engineers know what they're doing and talking about, that they're designing you know, sufficient structures and that they're competent in the area that they're practicing. And, of course, keeping everybody healthy and safe. So, you know, that's the threat in general among the whole country. And so, things pop up all over the country in different States. Different legislations that are passed or not passed. And so the NSPE monitors and tracks all of this. You can go check it out, nspe.org. Go check out Threats To Licensure, and you can go read up on this. But, I'm just going to go through a few of them for you. I'm not going to go into what's going on in every single state. But, there are definitely States that have got real issuesdefinitely out there, and so they're worth checking on because you could play a role on helping to advocate and taking a part in making sure that the need for the license is still intact and in place, which is really important, right? Like, we don't want anybody just designing this stuff that doesn't know what they're doing.
Isaac Oakeson: So, I'm going to go through a few of them. This comes right out of the nspe.org, the National Society of Professional Engineers. I'm just going to read a few of the States' issues that are going on and you can check these out too. But, Alaska, so this is the most recent one. This was introduced February of 2020. So, the threat is called "Right to Engage in a Lawful Occupation Act." and it seeks to establish the least restrictive means of regulating an occupation. Often proposes the elimination of licensure requirements for certain professions. Professional engineers aren’t specifically targeted, but are included. And so, they give each of these threats an actual status. And so this is an active threat is what they're labeling this as. It's in legislation -- Let's see. It's got a house bill number. It was introduced very recently, and so they're looking at making this amendment, right? They're trying to make it very loose and least restrictive on people getting licenses, and they've lumped civil engineering into that. So, this is one, that's a threat. You know, if I go to Arkansasthis was something in February of 2019. Sothis is a potential threat. Bill number SB281, "This tracking software legislation mandates that all state contractors use software to verify the amount of time they are working on a state contract. The software tracks total keystrokes and mouse event frequenciesy, and records screenshots at least once every three minutes. It presents significant privacy and security concerns". So, you know, I don't know what the threat is there, but it's a potential threat that they've listed. They've got some other threats that are sunsetted. Let's see. All kinds of different things. Let's go to another state
Isaac Oakeson: Let's go to Arizona. This was something of a threat that was in January of 2020. So the threat is called "The right to engage in a lawful occupation act". So again, it's another one of these least restrictive means of regulating an occupation and they've lumpedcivil engineering into that category, right? So it seeks to amend any existing license regulations that are out there for the state, making it least restrictive to get them. Andanother one of these that they've lumped civil engineering in. So, these are the most common threats, and once one state gets these going, then all the States seem to take it on. So, California has the same issue: lawful occupation act. Colorado. So, you know, depending on the state, some are potential threats, some are active threats. All kinds of things. The real nice thing about the NSPE is that they have a real interactive map that you can check out. And we'll link that in the description, but definitely something you want to check out.
Isaac Oakeson: So guys, this is really cool. If you actually go to their website, nspe.org, and just do a quick search on licensure threats, they'll take you to their interactive map. And the map is really sweet. So, what they do is they go state by state and they have this interactive map that shows you what the threats are in each state. And so, what they're looking at is they're looking at a legislation, they're looking at regulations, they're looking at executive orders, and a lot of times they're trying to defend the importance of licensure in each of those States. So, it's a really cool interactive map. You should definitely go check it out and, you know, try to become more involved with the rules and the laws and the executive orders that are going on in your own neighborhood, because, as an engineer, it's important that wehold each other responsible and accountable. We want people to design things that are safe for the public and for its use, and that people are competent at what they're doing.
Isaac Oakeson: SoI'm going to read a few of these little things that they've put out here, but basically says that these threats come from all the things I listed. For an example, in August of 2015, after extensive advocacy efforts by the Indiana Society of Professional Engineers, the Indiana job creation commission rescinded its previously troubling recommendation to eliminate licensure of the professional engineer. So, nearly identical versions of this model, we're quickly introduced in a lot of other States, including Arkansas, Iowa, and Minnesota. So, it's a constant battle. Other States that have all also issued things that are threat to the licenseIn Mississippi and Idaho governors have taken action that increases scrutiny of licensing, potentially opening the door to challenges of the PE license and threats have appeared in other States as well. So, it's a kind of a fun thing to look at. So if you want to participate in that and go check it out. Go to nspe.org/threatstope and you'll be taken to the interactive map itself.
Isaac Oakeson: I'm going to go look, just for example, let's go look at what's going on in my own state, which is Utah. Let's see. Here is one action on the issue "Threats to professional licensure". There's a house bill 280 that's listed here and the status was that it failed. So, HB280 any required state agencies, including the department of commerce, to complete a onetime study and analysis of each occupation or professional license or certification that their agency administers to, to ensure that state regulation of the occupation or profession is narrowly tailored to protect the health and safety and does not consist of excessive and unnecessary or outdated government interference. So, that was something that popped up, I guess, in Utah, I'm going to go look at one that's an active threat. There's a state, let's go look at Florida that has an active threat. Let's go check that out. So, if you go look at Florida. Threat type: it's listed as sunset review. Requires review and analysis of licensing boards associated with the regulatory requirements of that respective board be dissolved most result in recommendations to approve any unnecessary and overly burdensome licensing requirements, burdensome and recommendations for continual education. Okay. Professional engineers aren't specifically targeted, but they are included in this. This was withdrawn from consideration in March. So, this is the type of stuff that you're seeing.
Isaac Oakeson: Guys, I even encourage you to go check out the interactive map, find out if your state has active threats against licensure. I personally don't think that, you know, that legislation -- It almost feels like, you know, why would they do that? Why would you not set the bar high for an engineer, right? Why would you deregulate something for an engineer that requires so much background and study and math and science and all of those engineering courses so that you can design things safely and,you know, keep the public healthy and everything good and running well? So to me, it seems like these threats hey definitely are threats. But I think people just need more education when they come up. But it's definitely a topic of concern and definitely an issue that's out there today.
Isaac Oakeson: So if you're interested, like I said, there's tons of articles on there. Go check it out. I'm checking out National Society of Professional Engineers. That's nspe.org, and you can definitely find some good stuff there. So guys, hopefully this was something that was a little more informative for you. Maybe you didn't even know that there were threats out there for the licensure exam or to get your license for your PE. But there really are, and it's something to watch out for. Hopefully this was something that helped you gain a little bit more education as it did for me, and helped you on your, on your journey, you know, as you become a professional engineer. So guys stay safe. Hopefully you're doing well and we'll see in the next one. Bye.
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