To help provide a competent and ethical chemical engineering workforce, and to make them more employable, AIChE strongly encourages its members to become professionally licensed. AIChE supports the industrial exemption for companies that are properly insured and have in place the necessary policies, procedures and safeguards sufficient to assure compliance with laws, standards and best practices. Such companies are vested in the quality and safety of their operations and products to a degree that should adequately protect the safety and welfare of their employees and the general public. It is on this basis that jurisdictions having the industrial exemption now permit competent and skilled engineers to work in positions of responsible charge where they are not licensed. Jurisdictions without the industrial exemption require an engineer in responsible charge to be licensed in the jurisdiction. Because of the lack of uniformity in licensing laws and regulations between jurisdictions, the need for multiple licensures creates an unnecessary burden on the engineer and company while providing no additional benefit to the general health and welfare of the public. A major part of the problem of reciprocity is the significantly different continuing professional competency (CPC) requirements among different licensing jurisdictions.
Some other licensed professions offer forms of reciprocity which are more easily accessible to competent licensed practitioners. If the overwhelming majority of engineering licensure boards can adopt a streamlined form of reciprocity, with similar and generally accepted CPC requirements, AIChE would reconsider its support of the industrial exemption. This should also require that any jurisdiction that currently has the industrial exemption and wants to eliminate it do so via a phase-out process that protects the employability of engineers in responsible charge already in the profession who would be affected by the change.
About AIChE: AIChE is a professional society of more than 45,000 chemical engineers in 100 countries. Its members work in corporations, universities and government using their knowledge of chemical processes to develop safe and useful products for the benefit of society. Through its varied programs, AIChE continues to be a focal point for information exchange on the frontiers of chemical engineering research in such areas as energy, sustainability, biological and environmental engineering, nanotechnology and chemical plant safety and security. More information about AIChE is available at www.aiche.org.