Professional Engineer license with stop, pause, and play buttonsBY ART NORDLINGER, PE

It is my hope that all Professional Engineers licensed in Florida will renew their licenses by Feb. 28, 2019. However some licensees, particularly those who are retired or are no longer using their licenses, may be considering putting their licenses in “inactive” or “retired” status. Before taking that step it is important that the licensee understand the similarities and differences between these license statuses, and the process for status change.

The rules for inactive status are primarily found in Rule 61G15-22.002, Florida Administrative Code, Licensure Change of Status. Information and forms may be found on the Other FBPE Applications & Forms page in the Licensure section of the FBPE website.

A licensee may place their license in inactive status by completing the Application to Change Status From Active to Inactive, and remitting the fee specified by Rule 61G15-24.001, F.A.C. The fee is $93.75 plus a $5 mandatory unlicensed activity fee. To maintain a license in inactive status, the licensee must continue to pay the renewal fee each biennium, but does not need to take the continuing education hours. Naturally, an engineer may not practice engineering while their license is inactive.

An inactive license may be reactivated by completing the Application for Change of Status From Inactive to Active, and submitting the appropriate fee, which is the same as renewal: $93.75 plus a $5 unlicensed activity fee. The licensee must demonstrate that they have completed the required 18 hours of continuing education.

Rules for retired status are found in Section 61G15-22.0017, F.A.C., Application for Retired Status. Information and the form may be found on the Board’s website at the same location noted above. There is no fee associated with this status change. As with inactive status, once in retired status the licensee may no longer practice engineering. They are allowed to use the designation “Professional Engineer, Retired” or “P.E., Retired.” It is important to understand that once a license is placed in retired status it may never be reactivated. If that licensee wanted to again practice engineering they would have to reapply for licensure.

An application for retired status must be approved by the Board and must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the Board meeting at which it is to be considered. FBPE will approve the retired status provided that the licensee has no pending complaints against their Florida license or any PE license held in another state.

There seems to be a misconception that simply not renewing a license will allow it to be placed in inactive or retired status. This is incorrect and may result in some unexpected consequences. If a license is not renewed it automatically becomes “delinquent.” A delinquent license becomes “null and void” at the next renewal if the situation is not rectified.

In summary, those considering not renewing their license should carefully review the rules regarding inactive and retired status so that they can make an informed decision about which route to take. They should also understand the consequences of not taking action at renewal time. If you have questions, please contact the Board office at (850) 521-0500.

About the Author

Now retired, Art Nordlinger, PE, was most recently the manager, transmission tariff and contracts for Tampa Electric Co. He was appointed a corporate director for the Florida Engineers Management Corporation in 2018, and is serving as chair.