In his article, “Should Engineers Be Licensed,” posted on www.pddnet.com Monday, April 22, Karl Stephen presented an interesting question that generated a great many comments and some debate among readers. Perhaps a way to answer the question is to answer the question phrased differently. Would the business, industry, or process of engineering be better, would things improve, if engineers were encouraged to be licensed?
Licensed practice is commonplace or mandatory in other fields, particularly construction, medicine and law, so should those individuals handily responsible for most every article we use every day also be given greater accountability for the science they practice? Let’s explore what a process improvement perspective might say about it.
There is, as Karl Stephen described, a Professional Engineer (PE) license in existence and it has existed for several generations of engineers. Certain engineering professions do require or encourage practitioners to be PE licensed, usually those in architectural and civil disciplines where people’s safety is at stake if the engineering is improper. Those aren’t the only disciplines that address safety, however.