Why You’re a Member of the California Society of Professional Engineers and Why All Other PEs You Know Should Be
As a member of this society, you frequently hear about what CSPE and NSPE are doing, but you rarely hear about why it’s being done. It’s useful to occasionally think about the “why” to see if the “what” makes any sense. It’s also useful if you want to convince another PE to join CSPE and NSPE (which, by the end of this article, I hope you’ll want to do). These are my thoughts on why all PEs ought to be members of the society.
A professional engineer’s license is something that has value. If it had no value, you wouldn’t have bothered to get it. The value of the license is a function of:
  • The laws and regulations that govern how a license is obtained and used and the enforcement of those laws and regulations;
  • The laws and regulations that prevent the practice of engineering by non-licensed people and the enforcement of those laws;
  • The perception by employers and the public of the license as a mark of excellence.
The mission of the society is to protect and enhance the value of the PE license. This is accomplished by:
  • Influencing legislation that affects the use of the license and the minimum standards for obtaining and keeping it;
  • Taking action against the illegal practice of engineering;
  • Providing educational opportunities to PEs that increase the PE’s value to his/her employer, clients and the public;
  • Doing community service activities that build good will toward PEs.
Membership in CSPE and NSPE is essentially insurance for the value of your license. As with any insurance program, the more people who buy the policy, the more the insurance company can do to deliver benefits. Imagine a health insurance company that had only 10 customers. They could easily be wiped out if just one person got seriously ill.
The same is true for CSPE and NSPE as insurers of the value of your license. The greater the membership and financial resources, the more effective CSPE and NSPE can protect and enhance the value of your license. You pay:
 •    $4,000 per year to insure your health;
 •    $1,000 per year to insure your home;
 •    $750 per year to insure your car;
 •    $500 per year to insure your life.
Membership in CSPE and NSPE is about $220 per year to insure the license that your livelihood is built upon. The same livelihood that pays for all that other insurance. That’s a pretty sound investment.

But you already knew that. Now make a few copies of this article and a membership application and pass it on to friends. When they join, they’ll do themselves and the rest of us a world of good as they make the organization that insures our licenses a little bit stronger.
By Robert de Bruin, PE, 
Past President of the New York State Society of Professional Engineers 
Reprinted with permission from NYSSPE


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