November 12, 2013

The Texas Engineering License 
Photo: Ellie Goldberg, 2005

Purpose and History (

The Engineering Registration Act (Article 3271a, V.A.T.S.) was enacted as the result of a tragic school explosion at New London, Texas, in 1937. In response to concerns that the public could not identify who was qualified to practice engineering, the 45th Texas Legislature passed the Act as emergency legislation and it became law when signed by the Governor on May 28, 1937. The 59th Texas Legislature rewrote the original Registration Act. This Act became law on August 30, 1965, and was called the "Texas Engineering Practice Act."

The authors of the Texas Engineering Practice Act included the following statement in Section 1001.004 of the Act:

"The legislature recognizes the vital impact that the rapid advance of knowledge of the mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences as applied in the practice of engineering has on the lives, property, economy, and security of state residents and the national defense. The purpose of this chapter is to: protect the public health, safety, and welfare; enable the state and the public to identify persons authorized to practice engineering in this state; and fix responsibility for work done or services or acts performed in the practice of engineering. The legislature intends that: the privilege of practicing engineering be entrusted only to a person licensed and practicing under this chapter; only a person licensed under this chapter may: engage in the practice of engineering; be represented in any way as any kind of “engineer”; or make any professional use of the term “engineer”; and this chapter will be strictly complied with and enforced. This chapter shall be liberally construed to carry out the intent of the legislature."

It therefore becomes apparent that this legislation was not enacted to restrict the number of practitioners, but rather to "safeguard life, health, and property and protect the public welfare." 

The Texas Board of Professional Engineers is authorized and required to license those individuals who are qualified by law to practice engineering, and to regulate the practice of engineering in Texas. To accomplish this mission, the Legislature further empowered the Board to make and enforce the rules dealing with licensing, compliance and enforcement, and standards of conduct and ethics.