In every major industry, there is a licensure procedure and requirement put in place to protect the public by being certain that professionals are qualified in their fields.

The engineering field is no different.

State licensure has existed since 1907 and advanced along with technology, promoting an industry where professionals such as structural engineers, storage tank engineers, corrosion engineers, and others must be qualified and licensed to provide their services.

While it may seem obvious that responsible licensure for professional engineers (PEs) is critical for upholding standards of quality and public safety, there is a growing idea that licensure should be a thing of the past.

Is responsible engineering licensure a barrier to simplify industrial advancement or a blessing for society?

Is Engineering Licensure Slowing Progress?

After more than a century of licensure requirements in the engineering field, there is growing talk that we’ve reached a point where licensing PEs is no longer necessary.

Reasons noted in support of this idea include the belief that today’s advanced technology eliminates the guess-work and reduces mishaps, leading to a belief that licensure requirements stifle economic growth.

Some also state that licensure requirements reduce business competitiveness for engineers, resulting in some PEs getting more business while others suffer.

Why Is Engineering Licensure Still Important?

Unfortunately, even if the latter point noted above may hold some validity, there’s a critical reason for it because the public now trusts licensure and seeks it out.

Licensure is trusted because licensing procedures have continually improved along with technology to ensure those being licensed are truly skilled in their fields, have the public’s interest in mind, and produce the highest-quality work with a smaller margin of error.

Doing away with the responsible licensure of engineers is not likely to bring about any benefit and will more likely make engineering more dangerous due to complacency, lack of skills, and over-reliance on technology without taking the time to analyze and troubleshoot projects and situations.

The claims of reduced economic growth are equally arguable, since sharing the wealth among professionals that have become careless and less involved only brings about additional costs to the public in other ways.

Taking licensed engineers out of the project construction or inspection process has already proven deadly in multiple serious, yet preventable accidents over the past few decades, including the Deepwater Horizon incident, the Challenger disaster, and others.

In the simplest terms, it would allow certain engineers to lower their guard, make deadly assumptions, and put convenience or profit over public safety by relying too heavily on automation.

Keep Safety Margins High

With each engineering project and engineering problem, PEs learn more about identifying mistakes and how to avoid them moving forward, even those occurring despite the benefit of modern technology.

There is no room to sit back and rely solely on technology in engineering of any kind or take a more relaxed position on procedures, quality standards, or inspections and approvals when there human lives are at stake.

The best way to keep today’s engineers focused on public safety and maintain the highest standards of approval in any type of engineering is with continued responsible engineering licensure of the most qualified individuals.

The professionals from Dunham Engineering are proud to serve our clientele with a team of experienced and licensed PEs to help you with all your storage tank, cell tower, and light tower needs!

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