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Working with a Professional Engineer

Why Employ a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.)?

Professional engineers are:

  • well educated, especially in applied sciences;
  • tested by their peers before they are licensed;
  • required to have at least five years of experience after graduation (a total of at least nine years of education and experience) before providing services directly to the public;
  • policed by their peers;
  • prepared to apply the best, up-to-date technology in an environmentally sustainable and cost-effective way to benefit society's evolving needs;
  • responsible for safeguarding life, health and public welfare; and
  • qualified to design and supervise the creation of many things today's society needs at work, rest and play.

Certain work must be completed or approved by a professional engineer, for example, engineering drawings, which require sign-off.

Ultimate responsibility for engineering work requires a professional engineer. While research, testing and drawing may be delegated to others, only the professional engineer can take responsibility for engineering work that affects public health and safety.

Professional engineers are qualified practitioners who can help you:

  • turn your ideas and concepts into successful working projects/products/services;
  • reduce your costs and save money;
  • protect the environment and public safety;
  • maximize productivity and opportunities; and
  • overcome or minimize limitations.

They can help you to incorporate your ideas into something of real value in the real world.

How to Engage a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.)

Engineers may be engaged as consultants or as employees.

PEO's Guideline for the Selection of Engineering Services offers selection processes that can be used when choosing a professional engineer. The term "Consultant," or "Consulting Engineer," applied in connection with providing professional engineering services, requires that the person using the term be authorized to do so by PEO. 

When hiring an employee engineer, the employer may find the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) Employer Salary Survey helpful. In addition to listing salaries by field of specialization, year of graduation and type of work, the surveys also provide details about other forms of compensation and about benefits.

The March/April 2001 issue of Engineering Dimensions was also devoted to this subject.