Not too long ago I brought up the Engineers’ Creed to a young engineer, to which he replied, “I didn’t know engineers had one.” I said we did and that it has had an influence on many engineers, myself included, as to how we practice engineering. His comment reminded me that I, too, was unaware there was an Engineers’ Creed as a young engineer until someone pointed it out to me. It was adopted by the National Society of Professional Engineers in 1954.

The Creed appears below for all of you young engineers, and possibly some older engineers, who didn’t know there was one.

Engineers’ Creed

As a Professional Engineer, I dedicate my professional knowledge and skill to the advancement and betterment of human welfare.

I pledge:

  • To give the utmost of performance;
  • To participate in none but honest enterprise;
  • To live and work according to the laws of man and the highest standards of professional conduct;
  • To place service before profit, the honor and standing of the profession before personal advantage, and the public welfare above all other considerations.

In humility and with the need for Divine Guidance, I make this pledge.

This pledge is related to good ethics, which was discussed in the Chair’s Corner in last quarter’s Connection newsletter. The Creed talks directly about honesty, working according to the laws of man, and the highest standards of professional conduct (ethics). However, there are three additional points made in this Creed that I would like to spend a few moments focusing on.

First, we are to give the utmost of performance in our practice. Second, we are to place service above profit. Finally, we are to put the public’s welfare above all considerations. When professional engineers do all three of these points, along with practicing good ethics, we bring honor and standing to the profession.

This Creed reminds us to always do the very best job that we can in our work. We are paid for our expertise, and we should give our very best effort. Our clients and the public expect that. It also reminds us that if we place good service above profit, the public will respect the profession. There is nothing wrong with making a profit; in fact, we should make a profit, but it is not good for the image of the profession when the public thinks that we are in it only for the money.

Lastly, the Engineers’ Creed reminds us that when we put the public’s welfare above all considerations, including profit, the public will feel they can trust engineers to do the right thing. They will feel this way because they will sense we have their interests and welfare in mind as we make business and technical decisions during our practice of engineering. Many of these concepts are found in our laws and rules. When we follow them, the result is that we will have dedicated our engineering knowledge and skill to the betterment of human welfare. This can only increase the standing of the engineering profession in the eyes of the public.

About the Author

Kenneth Todd is a licensed Professional Engineer in Florida. He recently retired as water-resource manager for Palm Beach County and plans to begin consulting. Mr. Todd is serving his second term on the Florida Board of Professional Engineers and is Board Chair for 2017-18.