By the Division of Professional Licensure

Chapter 112, Section 81D of the Massachusetts General Laws states that "a person shall be construed to practice or to offer to practice engineering (1) who practices any branch of the profession of engineering; or who, by verbal claim, sign, advertisement, letterhead, card, or in any other way represents himself to be a professional engineer (2), or through the use of some other title implies that he is a professional engineer; or who holds himself out as able to perform, or who does perform any engineering service or work or any other professional service designated by the practitioner or recognized by educational authorities as engineering." (emphasis added)

The Board interprets branch to mean any one of the fundamental branches of engineering enumerated under M.G.L. c. 112, § 81E together with those additional fundamental branches currently licensed by the Board and any of their sub-branches.

The fundamental branches include: aeronautical, chemical, civil, electrical, heating-ventilating- air conditioning, industrial, mechanical, metallurgical, mining, safety, fire protection, sanitary and structural as well as agricultural, control systems, environmental, manufacturing, marine, nuclear and petroleum engineering.

Therefore, the use of the title "Engineer" in a manner that the Board determines is inconsistent with the aforementioned provisions shall be subject to disciplinary action per M.G.L. c. 112, §65A.

The provisions of this opinion, however, shall not apply to:

  • Persons licensed as engineers under M.G.L. c. 146, who are not qualified to engage in the practice of engineering as defined in M.G.L. c. 112, § 81D.
  • The work ordinarily performed by persons who operate, maintain or install machinery and/or equipment per M.G.L. c. 112, § 81D.
  • Persons who are exempt from the provisions of the registration law by virtue of M.G.L. c.112, § 81R.
  • Persons who are not registered/licensed in Massachusetts but who hold a current license to practice in another state or jurisdiction and who declare or otherwise qualify their title in a manner that does not imply they are qualified to practice in Massachusetts (e.g. Professional Engineer, Kansas).

This Advisory Ruling is issued pursuant to a determination made by a majority of members present a the duly call meeting of the Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors on December 11, 2008.

(1) M.G.L. c. 112, s. 81D defines the practice of engineering as "any professional service or creative work requiring engineering education, training and experience and the application of special knowledge of the mathematical, physical and engineering sciences to such professional services or creative work as consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning, design and supervision of construction for the purpose of assuring compliance with specifications and design, in connection with any public or private utilities, structures, buildings, machines, equipment, processes, works or projects …"

(2) M.G.L. c. 112, s. 81D defines a Professional Engineer as "a person who, by reason of his special knowledge of the mathematical and physical sciences and the principles and methods of engineering analysis and design acquired by professional education and practical experience, is qualified to practice engineering, as attested by his registration as a professional engineer …"