INDIANAPOLIS – A panel voted Thursday to reverse course and support continued state licensing for professional engineers in Indiana.
The move came after a preliminary recommendation in July to deregulate the profession, which would have been a first in the nation.
Gov. Mike Pence also came out against the proposal.
The Jobs Creation Committee was tasked by the Indiana legislature to evaluate whether dozens of professions licensed by the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency should remain so.
The group heard several lengthy presentations from engineers Thursday pointing out problems that would be created by delicensing their profession.
Only a licensed professional engineer can sign and seal engineering documents that are submitted to a public authority or for public and private clients, said Scott Haraburda, past president of the Indiana Society of Professional Engineers.
He and others said some federal programs require a licensed engineer on the project, which would mean using out-of-state engineers.
About two-thirds of those taking the engineering licensure exam pass, he said – meaning about a third don’t have the sufficient knowledge from schooling alone.
"I would feel unsafe crossing a bridge or entering a building not designed or inspected by a licensed engineer," Haraburda said.
Ross Snider, past president of the American Council of Engineering Companies, pointed out that just a few years ago, the state added 30 hours of continuing education requirements every two years.
"Registering businesses does not provide the safeguards that state licensing does," he said.
Snider added that delinking from a national licensure system would be costly for the health, safety and welfare of Hoosiers.
Engineers have been licensed in Indiana since 1935. The number of active licenses with the State Board of Registration of Professional Engineers is 35,253, which includes 11,789 professional engineers.