In the field of engineering, there seems to be a perennial issue between engineers having licenses and those having none. It has created some unnecessary barriers at work because of the pride that licensed engineers hold. But that shouldn’t be the case.
What’s the purpose of having an engineering license anyway?
An engineering license allows one engineer to work having the credit of an engineer. Regulations about licensing in engineering vary from different countries but a license has one humanitarian purpose: it is to encourage safety and well-being of the general public by being accountable as an engineer. It is the stronghold of the law for engineers to take legal responsibility for any engineering work or projects, through the registered engineers’ signatures, seals and stamps.
It’s more than just having an “engineer” tagged in a name. An engineering license is considered the highest standard of competence, which dignifies an engineering graduate who really is capable to practice his or her profession. It is the title that represents an authority and responsibility.
Moreover, registered engineers get immediate respect from peers and an innate sense of achievement. They are also the ones who are first noticed by employers upon hiring, even when licenses are not necessarily required to be in the workforce.
There is so much power that is paired with an engineering license; however, there’s a huge “but” to all these merits: if one is not a licensed engineer, it doesn’t mean that he or she doesn’t have the right to work as an engineer. He or she also has a valid engineering opinion that may even be better than those who have licenses. The title is not strictly exclusive to those who passed professional exams, but also to those who uphold the values and ideas of an engineer, which is to design and innovate.
It may be that the law doesn’t allow non-licensed engineers to be called engineers in everything they do, but it doesn’t mean they are not also allowed to act like engineers. They can still become engineers of their own right.
We need to stop thinking highly if we are one of those registered engineers. We need to stop thinking lowly if we are one of those non-registered engineers. Either way, this is a kind of thinking lying at the back of our heads which breeds the discrimination. We are all engineers if we do engineering. Period.
Engineers are better off not classified with their licenses at work, because what’s important is that an engineer delivers for the benefit of mankind. It also starts among ourselves as engineers to treat our co-engineers fairly, regardless of license.
What are your thoughts on this?