House Bill 142
151st General Assembly (2021 - 2022)
The General Assembly has ended, the current status is the final status.
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 24 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS.
This Act promotes the expansion of licensure opportunities in Delaware while maintaining standards of competence and professionalism required for the protection of the citizens of Delaware. The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing professional licensure for engineers. It develops, administers, and scores the examinations used for engineering licensure in the United States. Most recently, NCEES has recommended that states broaden access to licensure subject to rigorous competency requirements. For example, Delaware has historically recognized EAC of ABET-accredited (Engineering Accreditation Commission of the former Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) programs as the gold standard for engineering education. NCEES has recommended that graduates of engineering programs accredited by signatories of the Washington Accord be afforded the same recognition as EAC of ABET graduates. The Washington Accord is an international agreement between bodies responsible for accrediting engineering degree programs. Signatories of the Accord mutually “recognize the substantial equivalency of participating organizations’ accreditation processes and their graduates’ preparedness to begin professional practice at the entry level.” ABET and Engineers Canada are signatories of the Accord among a total of 20 representing agencies from every continent. This Act will give holders of degrees from engineering programs accredited by Washington Accord signatories the same recognition as EAC of ABET graduates. The required engineering experience for such applicants will be four years. This Act also proposes modifications that would expand licensure comity. While many professions in Delaware use the term “reciprocity” to define the process whereby an individual licensed in one jurisdiction may become licensed in Delaware, the term “comity” is used in the licensing law for professional engineers. To promote international engineering licensure mobility, this Act provides that the Council may license an applicant who is an International Professional Engineer (IntPE), meaning that the applicant has been fully and rigorously evaluated and approved by the International Engineering Alliance (IEA). NCEES is a member of the IEA and the International Professional Engineers Agreement (IPEA). There are currently 15 other members of the IPEA including Engineers Canada. “The International Professional Engineers Agreement recognizes the substantial equivalency of standards establishing the competency of professional engineers for independent practice.” Engineers who are licensed by agencies that are members of IPEA undergo a rigorous application process for registration as IntPEs. NCEES is an IPEA member and maintains a registry of U.S. licensed engineers who have attained IntPE status. Engineers registered as IntPEs would be provided with the same eligibility for comity within the U.S. as would U.S. state-licensed engineers. This applicant will also need to present proof of five years of experience obtained after initial licensure. This Act further proposes that an applicant who has been designated as a Model Law Engineer by NCEES may be issued a license administratively on the basis that the applicant has already been vetted by the profession’s governing body. Other provisions pertaining to comity have been amended to make the Practice Act consistent with other statutes governing professional licensure. Specifically, the comity provision pertaining to licensure by experience has been revised to require five years of licensed experience rather than the current ten years. The standards for licensure by comity have been amended to ensure that the applicant has a current license in good standing from the originating jurisdiction. This Act clarifies the grounds for denial of an application to explicitly include discipline in another jurisdiction. This Act eliminates the requirement that licensees must acquire an embossing seal and allows them to choose a seal format, such as embossing, stamp or electronic. Finally, this Act strikes references to permits on the basis that compliance with temporary permit requirements is difficult for the Council to monitor. Further, as an alternative to the temporary permit, an expedited path to licensure will be available for applicants with the Model Law Engineer designation.