Engineering Ethics – Our Commitment
At PDH-Pro, we know the value of ethics to the engineering profession. Ethical conduct is the foundation upon which public trust is built. The principles of ethical conduct help to guide engineers to ensure they operate in an honest and professional manner. The NCEES and all 50 state engineering boards developed canons of ethics to protect public safety and maintain the integrity of the engineering profession.
As part of our commitment to engineering ethics, we offer a range of courses that are focused on the topic. We have a resource page with numerous articles and editorials discussing engineering ethics. We also offer a variety of continuing education courses that are focused on the topic of ethics for engineers.
An Overview of Engineering Ethics
Every profession has rules that govern and guide the behavior of its members. These rules offer a clear set of guidelines that convey the expectations of society and the required conduct of the professional. They are often set by professional societies and further defined by experts to clarify what is acceptable and what is not.
But what about the gray areas that aren’t covered by these rules? Some situations are simply innately ambiguous, and confusion about the “right” thing to do can create problems for everyone involved. To address this issue, many professions have adopted a code of ethics that delineates acceptable behavior and outlines standards of care.
This code of ethics is an important element of all professions, especially engineering where public safety is involved. The following section reviews important concepts related to engineering ethics and how the profession created public trust and confidence by adhering to a few key concepts.
Engineering Ethics: Definition
There are several definitions of engineering ethics. The simplest is that they include the rules and guidelines pertaining to the practice of engineering.
A more useful definition expands the concept of engineering ethics to include the moral principles and obligations that pertain to the practice of the profession.
This can further be broken down into the obligations engineers have to society at large, their individual clients, and to the profession as a whole. This definition may appear simple, but applying these broad concepts to “real world” situations can be incredibly nuanced and even confusing.
The evolution of engineering ethics can be directly traced to several structural incidents in which the practices of the engineers involved drew considerable scrutiny. These included bridge failures, railroad disasters and other similar incidents, and they sometimes resulted from conflicts between the engineers themselves and the industrial firms that employed them.
Fortunately, the profession came to rely on a code of conduct that focuses not just on the actions of the engineers, but the design standards and practices that are now widely used on every design project around the world.
The Engineering Canons
As the code of ethics continued to evolve and progress, it was eventually codified into a set of canons that engineers were expected to live up to during the performance of their duties.
These began with a commitment to public safety, health and welfare. A logical extension of this canon is the idea that engineers should only perform services that fall under their specified field of competence and expertise.
Trust is a foundational part of any profession. As a result, engineers are expected to issue public statements that are truthful, honest and objective. They must avoid all acts that might be considered deceptive.
Engineers are expected to be faithful agents and trustees with regard to their employers, and to conduct themselves honorably, responsibly, lawfully and ethically.
These concepts form the basis of ethical conduct and professional behavior for engineers. Every state engineering board developed a canon of ethics that every licensee is required to follow as a condition of registration.
The value that these ethical guidelines have provided to society and the profession over the years is immense. The overall safety record for engineering projects is at an all-time high. Engineering is one of the most respected professions in the US. All of these benefits are derived from the simple concept of Engineering Ethics.
Personal vs. Professional Ethics
Work is such an important part of our everyday lives, which is why it is difficult to think about personal and professional ethics as separate values. As working professionals, engineers do not leave their values and experiences at the door when they enter the office. There are, however, some important differences between our personal sense of right and wrong and the code of conduct for professional engineers. Personal ethics focus on morals and principles,while professional ethics demand adherence to corporate rules.
Professional ethics were developed with specific and practical outcomes in mind. Personal ethics, in contrast, comes from hearts and souls. Consider the following – It makes sense for a company to post a code of ethics and use it as a marketing tool. In contrast, it would seem pretentious and self serving for an individual to make a similar proclamation.
Ethical behavior as a professional is good business practice. Most engineering firms are built on long-term relationships supplemented by carefully built reputations. Maintaining honest and transparent business practices ensures your clients will continue doing business with you. They are also more likely to refer their friends and associates. As a business person, you can earn the respect and trust of your business associates by simply doing good work. Deliver the quality and quantity of services you promise. Honor the terms of your agreements, even those not written down. Treat your staff with dignity and respect, and pay them as fairly as you can.
Ethical conduct as an individual builds strong relationships and allows us to sleep soundly at night. Systems of personal ethics can be categorical – meaning they are focused on doing good for its own sake. These systems can also be utilitarian – meaning your behavior is meant to do good for the sake of improving the quality of life for as many people as possible. Treating family and friends with empathy and generosity is the basis of a personal ethical system. Other examples of personal ethical values include telling the truth and refraining from theft.
Which States Require Ethics for PE License Renewal
Engineering ethics and professional conduct are integral to the profession of engineering. This is why engineering ethics should be part of the courses you complete to meet your continuing education needs.
Currently, 12 states require engineering ethics for license renewal. All of the other state engineering boards allow engineers to complete ethics related courses as part of their continuing education credits. Here is a summary of the state board continuing education requirements for ethics.
The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services requires every professional engineer to earn a minimum of 2 hours of continuing education courses in the topic of ethics and professional conduct. The DSPS requires 2 PDH hours every biennial renewal period in ethics for engineers. They allow credit for courses that address ethical conduct, Wisconsin engineering laws and rules, disciplinary hearings, as well as accidents that are cause by negligence and errors.
Looking for ethics courses to comply with the WI PE license renewal? We have several to choose from. Click here for a list of Wisconsin ethics course.
2. Texas Professional Engineering Ethics Requirements
The Texas Board of Professional Engineers requires every engineer to complete one hour of ethics courses during each renewal period. The ethics requirement in Texas can be met by completing an approved activity in the area of professional ethics. The Board also allows courses that address the role and responsibilities of professional engineers, the Texas Engineering Practice Act, or the Texas Board rules. The Board also offers free ethics webinars every quarter.
For a summary of all Texas professional engineering license renewal and continuing education requirements, check here. Our Texas Board Of Engineering Laws & Rules course meets the Texas PE ethics CEU requirement.
3. New Jersey Professional Engineering Ethics Requirements
The New Jersey State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors requires professional engineers to earn 2 hours of continuing education credit in the area of ethics. Continuing Education is known as continuing professional competence (CPC) in New Jersey. The Board also pre-approves CPC providers. PDH Pro is a New Jersey approved CPC provider.
For a summary of all New Jersey professional engineering license renewal and continuing education requirements, check here. Our Ethics & Standards of Conduct for New Jersey Engineers course meets the NJ PE ethics CEU requirement.
4. Maryland Professional Engineering Ethics Requirements
The Maryland Department of Labor requires engineers to earn a minimum of 1 PDH in ethics or state laws. This includes the following:
- The awareness of ethical concerns and conflicts related to the practice of engineering
- An enhanced familiarity with the code of conduct for professional engineers
- An understanding of standards of practice or care related to the practice of engineering
- Laws and regulations applicable to the practice of engineering in Maryland.
Maryland requires that courses be taken from a pre-approved sponsor. PDH Pro is an approved Continuing Professional Competency course provider.
For a summary of all Maryland professional engineering license renewal and continuing education requirements, check here. Either our Engineering Ethics course or our Maryland Rules And Laws course meet the MD PE ethics/state law CEU requirement.
5. Indiana Engineering Ethics Requirements
The Indiana State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers requires at least one PDH of continuing education credit in ethics applicable to the practice of engineering. They also require at least one PDH in the subject of Indiana’s engineering laws and rules.
6. Minnesota Engineering Ethics Requirements
The Minnesota Board of Architecture, Engineering, Land Surveying, Landscape Architecture, Geoscience and Interior Design requires at least two PDH of continuing education credit in ethics during each renewal period.
For a summary of all Minnesota professional engineering license renewal and continuing education requirements, check here. Our Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct course meets the MN PE ethics CEU requirement.
7. New York Engineering Ethics Requirements
The New York State Board of Engineering and Land Surveying requires at least one PDH of continuing education credit on the topic of engineering ethics.
For a summary of all New York professional engineering license renewal and continuing education requirements, check here.
8. Mississippi Engineering Ethics Requirements
The Mississippi Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Surveyors requires 1 PDH credit in ethics every two years.
9. Louisiana Engineering Ethics Requirements
The Louisiana Professional Engineering and Land Surveying Board requires 1 PDH credit in ethics every renewal period. Engineers must also earn 8 PDH credits in Life Safety Code, Building Codes and/or ADA Guidelines.
10. Iowa Engineering Ethics Requirements
The Iowa Engineering and Land Surveying Examining Board regulates professional engineering in the State of Iowa. At least 2 hours must be earned in the area of professional ethics during each renewal period.
For a summary of all Iowa professional engineering license renewal and continuing education requirements, check here.
11. Delaware Engineering Ethics Requirements
The Delaware Association of Professional Engineers regulates professional engineering in the State of Iowa. 3 PDH must be related to professional ethics (no more than 6 PDH can be related to professional ethics). No more than 9 PDH can be related to business or project management.
For a summary of all Delaware professional engineering license renewal and continuing education requirements, check here. Our Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct course meets 2 of the 3 DE PE ethics PDH requirement.
12. Florida Engineering Ethics Requirements
Florida requires every engineer to complete a 1-hour Florida Laws and Rules course and a 1-hour Florida Ethics Course. These courses must be approved by the state board and must be presented by a board approved provider.
Ethics and Professional Conduct
Check out our YouTube Channel. We have an interesting video presentation about Ethics and Professional Conduct for professional engineers.
Engineering Ethics Courses
We understand the importance of continuing education for professional engineers. We also know that ethics is the cornerstone of the profession and the reason engineers are held in such high esteem.
Articles and Editorials about Engineering Ethics
We’ve developed a list of articles and editorials about ethics, professional behavior, engineering ethics, and professional conduct. Every article is written for and about professional engineers. Here is a list of our engineering ethics articles.
Engineering Ethics and Professional Conduct
As with all other professions, engineering has a particular set of ethics that its members must follow. This commitment to ethical behavior, along with a strict professional conduct, is what makes engineering such a revered and respected facet of our lives.
Professionalism and Engineering
Professionalism is an expression of ideals by which licensed engineers should strive to interact with one another as well as serve the society around them. This concept is the basis of the public trust which is a key part of the profession’s success.
Ethics and Professional Conduct for Professional Engineers
The field of engineering places a lot of emphasize on honesty and integrity because the profession has direct bearing on our quality of life. To this end, engineers are expected to act professionally at all times while observing the principles of ethical conduct.
Engineering ethics is more than just a backburner issue. It is, in fact, the only support that keeps us standing upright. In order to understand how vital this component of our job is, we must take a deeper look at how engineering ethics protects us and propels us forward.
Engineering Code of Ethics
Codes of ethics are guiding principles established to set a standard of conduct in society. They help them maintain honesty and integrity in the society by enforcing morality and humanity. All professionals in their capacity have their standard code of ethics that helps them maintain that standard of conduct.
What are the Most Common Ethics Violations for Professional Engineers
State engineering boards investigate every allegation of unethical behavior. All of these investigations are part of the public record. We conducted an exhaustive survey of the disciplinary decisions from numerous boards, and we found some interesting trends.
Ethics and Professional Behavior – Similar but Not the Same
Engineering ethics relates to the canon of ethics that all engineers agree to uphold. Professional behavior is the application of those ethical principles to our business and professional lives. The two terms are related, yet distinctly different.
TED Talks Explain Engineering Ethics
We highlight four TED talks focused on engineering ethics that address the importance of ethics education, explain the difference between personal and professional ethics, and discuss fundamental tenets of ethical theories.
Continuing Education | The Importance of Engineering Ethics
Engineering ethics courses are an important part of every engineer’s continuing education. This article outlines the key benefits of making ethics the focus of your ongoing commitment to learning.
The Importance of Engineering Ethics
As an engineer, the type of work that you do will be utilized by many other workers and civilians. No matter what type of engineer you are, or what you design, it is critical that engineering ethics are kept in mind during every step of the process.
Engineering Disasters – Ethical Implications for Professional Engineers
Every engineering failure, no mater how small, erodes the public’s trust in the profession. Without trust, engineers lose the ability to freely innovate and improve our quality of life. Studying engineering disasters is very useful because it allows us to learn from the mistakes of others, thereby reducing the likelihood of another tragedy.
The Takeaway on Engineering Ethics
Engineering ethics is critically important to the profession of engineering. It is the linchpin between the work done by engineers and public trust and confidence. It ensures honest and ethical behavior is part of the relationships engineers have with their clients and employers. Most importantly, these concepts help each of us maintain professional and ethical behavior in our professional lives which continues the long-term success of the engineering profession.