IE Board/Licensure Examinations - Lazy Investing Way

Hot

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

IE Board/Licensure Examinations

“The Industrial Engineering Department started a program in 1968 for future leaders in business and industry.” – Taken from the Cebu Institute of Technology website, part of the Historical background of CIT; I have established an time estimate of around 1965 – 1968 as to the creation / establishment of the CIT – Industrial Engineering Department. So for around 39 - 42 years now, the Department of Industrial Engineering of the Cebu Institute of Technology has been producing quality graduates. (IE) not only refers to Quality but also Integrity / Innovation and Excellence. Also, not only in the sense that CIT IE graduates do well in their fields of specialization, but also as accomplished businessmen / women.



However, both past and present IE students have received their fair share of negative comments from students of other Engineering courses due to the lack of a professional licensing or regulatory body governing the field and / or simply just misunderstanding or not knowing what the field is all about. For example, Instant Engineer, a lesser Engineering course because we have no Licensure or board exams. This may change soon as a recent bill, HB 05800 or the “Industrial Engineering Act of 2006” was filed by Congressman Prospero Nograles of Davao.



The said bill seeks to define the scope of the practice of industrial engineering and upgrade the course or training to ensure that our industrial engineers are at par with the best in the world. Although I have browsed through the IE Bill, “in my opinion” it still lacks something. I feel as though the scope defined / written in the bill somewhat restricts / hinders the development or the other applications of IE. As to “official Feasibility Studies maker-thing” I kind of doubt that since other courses such as Management or Business related courses also have Feasibility Studies. Well that’s just my opinion, please see: http://piievismin.tripod.com/id11.html, the IE Bill is there and can be downloaded as a PDF file.


As an IE student, I ask the following questions: what difference does this make? What are its advantages, Disadvantages? First, this development would help all IE’s in the Philippines to be regulated; Second, to be able to use the title as “Engineer” (Although there is no law that prevents us from using it currently); Third, a standardization of all University / College Curricula which offers Industrial Engineering.


On the positive side of things, regulating the IE profession would with the standardization of curricula, or a least a minimum required list of topics / subjects across all institutions of higher learning offering a degree program in Industrial Engineering. Another thing on the plus side is the fact that one could potentially “erase” the effect of a prolonged stay in the university / college if one is able to do well in the board exam. Think about it, delayed Top-notcher/s might seem farfetched but it could be done, and in this case, marketability drastically goes up. The last point would apply to all IE graduates who do well in the board exam, regardless of the number of years spent in finishing the course.


Finally, there is the reciprocity negotiated by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) through the APEC Engineer license. The PRC is the body mandated by the government to regulate and supervise the practice of the professionals who constitute the highly skilled manpower of the country. Given that the Industrial Engineering profession would be regulated, the PRC would be the body in charge of the regulatory requirements, such as licensing. The APEC Engineer license allows the PRC-licensed engineer to join overseas projects and practice the professions in APEC Economies without having to undertake further examination or interview. It may also extend to IE practitioners once the field is regulated.



Now for the negative aspects, the main criticism about a licensure exam for Industrial Engineering is that the field has a very wide range or scope of topics. Additionally, some topics in the field, such as systems, procedures and Ergonomics, that do not necessarily follow the scientific approach of problem solving. Thus, a scientific way of measurement such as a licensure examination, cannot reasonably gauge the aptitude of aspiring practitioners in these areas.



As an addition, IE’s subject/s is in itself a separate specialty. For Example, Ergonomics, Methods Engineering, Industrial Psychology, Accounting (Financial Management, Management Accounting, Cost Accounting), Statistics (Probability, Advanced Statistics, Statistical Quality Control), Economics (Taxation, Engineering Economics), Operations Research, Management (Project Management, Marketing Management, Strategic Management), Computer Aided Engineering (CAD/CAM, Simulation), Computer/Software Applications (T/M Studies software, [DSS – Decision Support Systems] – Linear Programming, Waiting Lines, MS Applications), Management Information Systems / Information Management (Current Trends, RFID, POS, Biometrics, WI-fi and the like), Production Planning and Control, Inventory Management / Supply-Chain Management, Current Industry Trends (ISO, Six Sigma, Lean Systems), Systems Engineering, Feasibility Studies and many more.



With that, if one or a group of people would make a test paper / questionnaire to be used in the board exams, would you want to go take it? Or are you willing to study for 4 – 6 months with a wide range of scope and topics? My answer, I honestly don’t know. To compare it to another course let’s say Electrical / Civil /Mechanical Engineering, I would think that there core basic subject would be for civil engineers is Engineering Mechanics. For IE’s, I think we have multiple core subjects since we have a wider scope and we simply do not specialize on one thing like other engineering courses do.



Also, there is doubt on the need for such regulation for the field. Regulation and licensure are usually required for fields wherein a professional would need to affix his/her signature on a design or a model to show that the design or model is created/recommended/reviewed/certified by a licensed professional. In affixing his/her signature, the professional attests that the model is sound and/or correct and that he/she may be legally liable in the case that the design or model does not live up to expectations and standards. In addition to that, IE is all about continuous Improvements which means change is constant and if one would affix his/her signature on a design/model which is for IE’s “Systems”, which is subject to change due to change in demand or for whatever reason is simply not applicable.



As what I have read in some articles and I also recall my teacher explained to us why IE doesn’t have a board exam, when I was taking up the subject Principles of Economics w/ Taxation and Land Reform, Engr. Lyndon Jayme explained to us the following: what are Industrial Engineers supposed to be liable for, time studies and organizational charts, Schedules, and Feasibility Studies? (As what he stated and as what was stated in the scope of IE’s job in the IE Bills), Licensure Exams are only for courses wherein a failure of design might lead to grave danger, even death or may pose a danger to the Public. As far as IE is concerned, failure in design might lead to termination of other employees, delays and bottlenecks, probably some loss of money but not health hazards.



Additionally, I can still remember his examples: Electrical Engineer, mistakenly designs the wiring of a house: may cause fire or electrocution; Civil / Structural Engineer, miscalculates the number beams / trusses required, the building may collapse or perhaps a bridge; these samples are basic, you get the point right? Taken from the Engineers and Architects Regulation Act from the State of Nebraska, USA (Only Parts in order to relate it here in the Philippines):



In order to safeguard life, health, and property and to promote the public welfare, the professions of architecture and engineering are declared to be subject to regulation in the public interest. It is unlawful for any person to (1) practice or offer to practice architecture or engineering in this state, (2) use in connection with his or her name, or otherwise assume the title architect or professional engineer, or (3) advertise any title or description tending to convey the impression that he or she is a licensed architect or engineer unless the person is duly licensed or exempt from licensure under the Engineers and Architects Regulation Act. The practice of architecture and engineering and use of the titles architect or professional engineer is a privilege granted by the state through the board based on the qualifications of the individual as evidenced by a certificate of licensure which is not transferable.”



With that, there needs to be a law that needs to be passed to congress to regulate IE in order for us to use the title “Engineer”, but there is no such law right now that does not allow us from using the title “Engineer.” I am most of the time saddened because of this issue for people do not know or appreciate the work of IE’s. My instructor in Stregth of Materials, a Civil Engineer, said that IE’s cannot be called “Engineers”; well I was offended but one cannot blame him for a Civil Engineer cannot fully grasp the work we IE’s do. Same goes for the government, the IE’s in the West have lots of support from there government since they know and value what Industrial Engineers do. And the Title of Instant Engineers isn't for nothing, due to a wide subject scope, insane projects and multiple thesis, do we still need to be tested in some exam? (hehehe)


Lastly, another factor that makes licensure undesirable is the additional burden it places on fresh graduates. With a licensure exam in place, IE graduates would have to spend another 6 months or so (or even longer given the scope of IE) after graduation to review for and take the licensure examinations. Then again, passing the said exam may not guarantee immediate employment as companies that require the services of Industrial Engineers would be faced with the dilemma between hiring a licensed but unseasoned fresh graduate, or a practitioner that has been doing IE work for quite some time. With that, compared to other engineering courses, IE has a hell lot of Thesis/Research papers to submit, almost majority of the Major subjects (Well that’s the case in CIT-IE Dept.). Also, for an IE that is already a delay in Employment or employment searching/opportunities!



To sum it all up, Industrial Engineering is one of the professions whose practice may or may not change drastically over the next few years, depending on whether or not it is regulated. There may even be future additional areas of application or development of the IE field in the near future since IE is still young compared to other engineering specialties around 100+ years old, there are still lots of room for improvements. The opposing views on regulating the profession both have their Advantages and Disadvantages on the landscape of the local and as well as in the international industries. All I know is, when the day that licensure becomes compulsory indeed does come, there is nothing left to do but prove that Industrial Engineers have what it takes to be properly called an Engineer.


2 comments:

  1. There are actually board exams for Interior Designers and Social Workers...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Seriously. This article was well-written ! Kudos to the blogger :) Proud IE here.

    ReplyDelete