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National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveyors Meeting Discussion

National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveyors Meeting Discussion

Dennis J. Wessel, P.E., FASHRAE                                                                

Representative to NCEES - POLC


The annual meeting of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveyors (NCEES) was recently held in Boston. At that meeting a few issues that were not discussed represented a win for Professional Engineers. Over the past many years, a significant issue before NCEES was a request to require a Masters of Education to achieve a registration as a Professional Engineer. It appears that NCEES has moved away from this possibility but the Civil Engineering Society (ASCE) is still pursuing that requirement as a prerequisite for registration as a PE of Civil Engineering.


There are, however, some other issues of interest that have been discussed or are eventually going to affect both current Professional Engineers and those who are planning to sit for the PE examination in the future.


  • NCEES is attempting to widen opportunities in an attempt to get more people to obtain a PE license and will likely be looking to getting more involvement from professional societies. At the same time the Licensing Committee is attempting to make sure there are multiple paths to PE.
  • Some states have decoupled experience level from when a person can take the PE exam. This may be a continuing trend as it may permit taking of the examination for PE sooner that is permitted presently.
  • With the advent of Computer Based Testing (CBT), some states are moving toward more separate discipline based exams. NCEES calls these “freestanding” exams. 
    • Therefore, state boards may have separate PE licenses for each discipline (i.e Mechanical, HVAC, Piping, Electrical, etc.).
    • This may require HVAC engineers, who are often also responsible for plumbing and fire protection, to have multiple licenses, although the plumbing exam may become a module of mechanical engineering as opposed to it’s own exam. 
    • This possibility is likely a long way off universally but some states already have this requirement.
    • Oklahoma allowed separate discipline listing 5 years ago, but it is now a requirement.
    • The requirement for separate discipline registration has been written into law in some states but it has not been enforced. Some states, however, are beginning to enforce this requirement.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) was not addressed at the meeting but it will start to be important in our industry as some design can already be completed, with excellent accuracy, using AI.
  • There does not appear to be any consideration of a requirement for either different or additional education requirements for licensure.