From: "Peter O. Brackett"
Subject: Re: Registered professional engineer?
Date: Sat, 21 Sep 2002 19:05:20 -0400
Organization: MindSpring Enterprises
X-Server-Date: 21 Sep 2002 23:05:20 GMT
X-Newsreader: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.00.2919.6600
Like most other Professions [i.e. Medicine and Law], the practice of
Professional Engineering as it affects public safety and harm in general,
and safety of life in particular, is regulated by laws/Acts/Bills of local
legislatures, i.e.non-Federal jurisdictions [i.e. State, or Provincial
These professional practice laws are set up by the local jurisdictions to
protect the public from mis-representation by charlatans, etc. Usually
these State legislatures establish a State recognized body [A professional
engineering organization] to govern/regulate/discipline those who are
Registered. These State established bodies then establish the
"qualifications" and any necessary examinations which are required for
professional practice and which qualification, when satisfied then legally
allow the Registered Professional to advertise him/her-self to the public as
The intention of all of this registration is to provide a measure of
protection against safety and harm for the public who might use engineering
works. One might argue whether in fact it does accomplish this, I believe
that it certainly helps in that regard.
Unlike Medicine and Law, however, the majority, i.e. *most* Engineers [e.g.
employee engineers, etc...] do not perform or take responsibility for
Engineering Works that affect public safety and harm and/or safety of life.
The usual instances of those in Engineering who are required to be
registered as a PE or P.Eng. are those in Civil Engineering who design
public bridges, buildings, elevators, etc... In the Electrical Engineering
field there are some examples of jobs and works, such as works that require
UL approval, etc... that would require the practicioner to be Registered.
I have been a Registered Professional Engineer for my whole career
[electronic/communications/computers] and I have only made use of my PE
qualifications on three occasions where it was necessary for my employer to
vouch for some certifications [UL, CSA, CEPT, BT, etc...]. And so... for my
case it has not "paid" my expense for having the Registration. However,
once you have it... it is not too heavy to carry around.
And so... for *most* electronic/computer/communications engineers
Professional Engineer Registration is not mandated, nor necessary.
Aside... as some have noted, *software systems* have become so entrenched in
our technology and society today, that in a lot of cases, especially of
embedded software, a failure [bug] in a piece of mission critical software
[fly by wire on your Chevy?] could endanger lives, and so as a responsible
Profession we really need to help our software side to come to grips with
this fact and to become more attuned to the production of reliable and safe
software. Would you rather have a Registered Professional Software
Engineer, if there were such a *beast* taking responsibility for the
steering control of the aircraft on which you are flying or one of the
MicroShaft Certified Engineers... ooops... my Window just went to the "blue
screen of death".
The true mark of a "Professional" is that he/she will not knowlingly take
responsibility for any Engineering Work that may cause harm if he/she is not
qualified to do so.
Do you *need* to be a PE or P.Eng to work as a chip designer, an RF
Engineer, a software engineer, etc...?
Only if you advertise yourself to the "public" at large as taking
responsibility for safety and harm and/or safety of life. If you need it
then check with your local State or Provincial Government to find out the
qualifications and how to become Registered.
If not, then you don't need it.
Indialantic By-the-Sea, FL
"Chris Carlen" wrote in message
> Who needs to become this, as opposed to only having education and/or
> What is involved in becomming a RPI?
> Is it just a professional association that extracts dues from people in
> order to "bless" them?
> Christopher R. Carlen
> Suse 7.3 Linux 2.4.10