I am a Washington State Licensed Professional Engineer, and own a small firm in Bellingham, Wash. I read with interest your article in the August 2010 CE News, “Lifelong Learning to Meet Engineering Challenges.” On the topic of “raising the bar” for engineering licensure, a fight is currently underway by Washington engineers to preserve high standards for PE licensure in Washington. Despite massive opposition from PEs in our state, our Board of Registration has proposed a new law allowing Canadian and other foreign engineers to become licensed in Washington without passing the FE or PE exams.
In response, a group of concerned engineers in our state have started a grassroots campaign/petition to stop this law. To become licensed in Canada, Canadian engineers must pass no technical examination like the FE or PE. This law would extend that “free pass” to those foreign engineers and grant them licensure by comity in Washington. The law includes no reciprocal agreement to increase mobility for Washington/U.S. engineers; the only thing it does is relax technical standards in Washington. Our position is simple: Foreigners should have to pass the same exams as Washington/U.S. engineers.
So far, seven Washington State legislators and the Seattle Board of the ASCE have written letters to help us. In one month, we have [more than] 700 petitions from Washington PEs. Dozens are Canadian engineers holding dual registration who quote the lack of testing in Canada as their reason for supporting our efforts.
The engineers in our state are trying to make themselves heard. We want to maintain a high standard for the Washington PE. More attention needs to be drawn to this issue: We feel strongly that if the bar is lowered for engineering licensure in our state, other states will follow.
Douglas N. Campbell, P.E., principal
Associated Project Consultants, Inc., P.S.