The paper will also describe the advantages and disadvantages of adopting a licensing system for professional engineers similar to that for medical practitioners and teachers in the UK, and as applies to engineers in other countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia and some European states. Finally, the paper will explain the role of the codes and rules of conduct of engineering institutions in the UK and their effectiveness in ensuring professional standards of work. Distinctions of a professional engineer in the UK Professional engineers are distinct from any other sort of engineers in the UK. Engineering in the UK is a well respected profession internationally. In order to be recognized as a professional engineer or an engineering technician in the UK, an independent assessment of engineering competence is carried out on all levels of the engineering profession and is compared to the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC), which offers the means of achieving a successful assessment. Even for professionals whose status is secure, the process of registration provides a way of demonstrating recognition by their peers and support to others. Accreditation determines whether one becomes a pprofessional-grade member of an engineering institution, or being entered onto the Engineering Council’s register. Without meeting the minimum requirements as stipulated in the Engineering Council, one may not be able to obtain the engineering practice license and/ or status (Engineering
Council 2010, 2011). The Engineering Council Standard illustrates the value of becoming registered Engineering Technician (EngTech), Chartered Engineer (CEng), or Incorporated Engineer (IEng). It details the specifications that must be met for registration, and provides examples of how to do the same. This standard enables employers and individuals to determine whether they or their staff can meet the specified requirements, and discusses the necessary steps of achieving national registration. There are a lot of responsibilities carried out by registrants, including the need to observe their professional code of conduct stipulated by the council. This makes engineering profession in the UK distinct from any other sort of engineering profession. Advantages and disadvantages of adopting a licensing system for professional engineers Licensing system is advantageous to professional engineers in the UK. This is obtained through registration and accreditation by the Engineering Council. Registration is open to all engineers who work within professional codes of conduct, maintain their competence, and participate within the profession actively. Licensing system has, to the UK society and economy, many advantages. First, the system sets apart professional engineers from those technicians and engineers not registered. It ascertains their proven understanding, knowledge and competence. Most specifically, licensing system demonstrates a commitment to the standards of the profession and develops as well as enhances competence. This also gives an edge to those professionals applying for available engineering positions. Licensing system provides a link to technicians and engineers with the professional institution which offers opportunities for professional development and guidance.