ASCE Joins New Alliance to Champion Licensure

BY 
August 7, 2019

ASCE is a founding member of the Alliance for Responsible Professional Licensing, a new coalition of national associations representing highly complex, technical professions and their national licensing boards.

ARPL has been created to give advanced professions a unified voice in the growing debate around the appropriate level of licensure for professions and occupations.

“Attacks on professional licensing have risen in frequency and scope over the last several years. Opponents have gone before state legislatures, openly questioning whether any professional licensing is necessary, portraying it as a barrier to access to certain professions and a violation of consumer rights,” said Brad Aldrich, P.E., F.ASCE, business owner and longtime champion of ASCE’s licensure efforts.

“The Alliance for Responsible Professional Licensing is working to address this issue and to promote the essential role of professional licensing to protect the public.”

ASCE is joined in ARPL by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, the National Society of Professional Engineers, the American Institute of Architects, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.

ARPL’s primary goal is to educate policy makers and the public on the importance of clear, responsible licensing standards.

It’s a mission that Aldrich has long valued as founding partner and senior associate at Aldrich + Elliott, a water resources engineering firm in Essex Junction, Vermont, that relies on responsible and reliable credentialing to make smart hires.

“It is hard to imagine engineering licensure going away, as our profession is one of those most directly linked to the protection of the public, but we need to remain diligent to ensure that this does not happen,” said Aldrich, former president of NSPE and member of the Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers in Vermont.

“To meet this objective, we need to work with the other licensed professions to establish meaningful boundaries to practice, to avoid ‘over-reach’ that creates opportunities for opponents to challenge our jurisdiction.”

For more information about ARCL, visit its newly launched website, ResponsibleLicensing.org.

7 Comments
  • Avatar David Nutakor, P.E., PhD

    Writing and passing both FE and PE exams gave me exposure to some design and engineering skills that l didn’t learn in school, so getting rid of professional licensing would neither benefit the individual engineers nor the general public that they serve. For that matter, I fully support ARPL’s goal to educate policy makers and the general public on the importance of professional licensing. Keep up the excellent work you are doing.

  • All for efforts to strengthen licensure that does in fact protect the public safety, health, & welfare. Restricting trade (or free speech) or creating barriers to work are other issues used against licensure. Lets keep the focus on protection. When protection of the public does not occur, by licensed and unlicensed engineers, more attention should be paid to the issues.

    In 2015 when the PE was recommended for elimination in Indiana from a draft report of a Jobs Creation Committee, ISPE (Indiana NSPE) & ACEC seemed to take more action than Indiana Section, ASCE. The recommendation to eliminate the PE did not remain in the final report version.

  • I am a licensed PE and SE in multiple states with over 30 years experience. I am also a licensed architect. My education is BArch (Architecture) and MS (Structural Engineering). You’d think that someone like me would have no issues with licensure. Not so. Apparently, I am fit to design large, complex (and safe) building structures in some states, but not others. This is silly. No one wants unqualified people to practice engineering. But can’t state boards use some discretion in applying these requirements? Most will, but it is inconsistent. I believe there is cause to reconsider how this system works (or doesn’t).

  • Avatar Gerhard du Toit PE (TX)

    This is a concerning trend that have been observed in many countries, and not unique to the US. It begs the question as to what the true motives are of these activists that are lobbying state legislatures to do away with licensure requirements. The argument that it is a “violation of consumer rights”, and I’m sure there is more to this than the brief mention of this in the article, seem to be frivolous. Given the that the primary duty of all professional engineers is to protect the public, I wonder if these opponents for licensure would feel the same when it comes to licensed medical practitioners? Would they feel comfortable having an unlicensed, unqualified medical doctor to perform surgery on them, or their loved ones? How comfortable would they feel sitting on the 50th floor of a high-rise building knowing that Joe Soap, who has designed and build a few garden sheds in his lifetime, now “ventured” into designing his first high-rise building?
    It is always much easier to question need for maintaining high standards, such as licensure for engineers, until it affects one personally. I agree with the views of Brad Aldrich, and ASCE, that we need to protect our profession and remain diligent.

  • Avatar Carl M. Brooks, PE, CFM

    You have my support. Keep up the the good fight! It amazes me that sate legislators would even consider not having professional licensing boards in their respective states.

    Carl Brooks, PE, CFM

  • I read with concern the article, “ASCE Joins New Alliance to Champion Licensure”, and followed the link to the ResponsibleLicensing.org website for additional information. Several times throughout both this article and on the Responsible Licensing website I read the statement to the effect that states are considering laws that would weaken professional licensure. I’m mainly curious on which states these are and what the situation is in those states that would lead to this potentially detrimental situation. I am very happy to see that ASCE, NSPE, and other professional societies are joining together to speak out against the weakening of licensure laws, but more information on specific states considering such legislation would be appreciated.

  • I am a third generation Professional Engineer (closer to the end of my career than the beginning) and I favor the elimination of state run licensing. We would be much better served if we had private organizational “certification” of engineers. The problem with a state license is that the architects and general public think that we are all “equal” in our ability because we all have a license. We do need to educate the public better, but we need to reduce the government’s power over our ability to work too!

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