The Role of Government in Engineering

Engineers are responsible for thinking up, designing, and creating ways to make the world more efficient. Due to the nature of an engineer’s work and the effect it has on the population, the government plays a large role in regulating the way the industry operates, not just in passing engineering legislation but in making it possible for engineers to acquire licenses and continue their education.

Government is involved in many facets of engineering, including: 

  • Safety – Engineers create hundreds of infrastructures, buildings, and consumer products that touch the lives of people every second. To ensure everything is built safely, there are laws and regulations in place. These laws touch on everything from types of energy and environmental protection to liability and risk management. Professional organizations, such as NJSPE and NSPE, monitor these pieces of legislation to make sure the best interests of engineers are represented.
  • Ethics – Since engineers have a direct impact on the population’s quality of life, they must abide by a code of ethics. The code encompasses the fundamental canons, rules of practice, and professional obligations. While the core principles remain the same, the government sometimes makes revisions or additions, altering the way that engineers operate. Learn more about the engineer’s code of ethics here.
  • Licensure and Certification – To maintain or earn engineering licenses or certifications, including the professional engineer license, you must meet the state requirements. For example, in New Jersey, PEs are required to take 24 hours of continuing education courses, two of which need to be on ethics. Each state’s government ultimately determines these requirements, and they may change from year to year. 
  • Continuing Education Opportunities – There are so many positives to continuing your engineering education. Not only does it provide you with new, up-to-date information about the best practices, it also reinforces the key points of information you previously learned and opens the door for earning new licenses and certifications. See upcoming continuing education opportunities here. NJSPE members can take advantage of special member rates for all courses!

By working with the government in all these areas, engineers can operate efficiently and effectively and keep improving the way the world operates. To stay up-to-date about current and upcoming legislation that affects engineers, visit

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