NIULPE of Michigan                    

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does NIULPE, INC. define the Power Engineer?

The Power Engineer is defined as one who is skilled in the management of efficient energy conversion and utilization. A power engineer operates and maintains equipment essential to power generation, heating, ventilation, humidity control, and air conditioning in industrial plants, institutions and other building complexes. The power engineer performs in a responsible manner as a technical expert in operating, maintaining and repairing engineering plants consisting of steam boilers, pressure vessels, internal combustion engines, steam engines, steam turbines, gas turbines, refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, generators, motors, pumps, compressors, paper making equipment, distillation units and supporting auxiliary equipment.
Because the health and safety of many people depend upon the proper operation and functioning of engineered equipment, a power engineer must operate and maintain equipment according to country, providence, state and local laws and codes. As a lower grade power engineer, they are under the general direction of a Chief Engineer or an engineer holding a higher-grade license whose license is equal to or greater than the requirements needed to operate the plant. The lower grade power engineer is to perform those duties prescribed by the higher-grade engineer. As the lower grade engineer advances in licensing through experience and study, he or she may become qualified to take charge of an entire engineering plant operation. Through mentoring, on the job training and completion of study courses, a power engineer should gain the skills and knowledge required.
Power engineers may advance to many jobs associated with the profession as they become adequately educated and trained. Under proper engineering direction, they may perform duties of an engineering technician. Those duties could include draftsman, estimator, designer, planner, and the erecting, inspecting and testing of engineered equipment. They may engage in activities connected with research and development, servicing and testing of materials, sales engineering and instructional activities.
When licensed, power engineers have clearly established a level of competency. As experience and education advance their skills, they have the opportunity to improve their level of certification through the six license classifications. Encouragement toward professional advancement is a vital element toward sound personnel policies. Advancement in licensing should move the power engineer closer to the management team. The power engineer will undoubtedly acquire a sense of achievement and pride when they display their license on the wall of their work area.

2. What is the basic difference between NIULPE and traditional licensing procedures?

NIULPE attempts to establish an international standard for use by all licensing agencies, educators and the corporate sectors. Existing licensing procedures establish requirements on a regional basis only, and, often, do not recognize other licensing agencies.

3. Why is there a need for a system such as NIULPE?

We are a mobile, migrant society when one considers the movement of personnel, the relocation of plants, and the branching out of industry, often in the form of subsidiaries. The need is based on a recognized attestation to an engineer's level of competency rather than on the local modus operandi.

4. Will NIULPE go beyond national boundaries?

The NIULPE program is an international certification system in which a number of state groups have aligned to establish and maintain the international standards. Reciprocity arrangements are established between NIULPE and Local, State and National regulatory agencies and bodies to expand the common vision of increasing safety in the workplace through standardized certification of knowledge.

5. If this is so, how do you reconcile the great variance in certain aspects of power engineering, such as different fuels; the different specialties of various areas, such as refrigeration in the south, coal in one area, gas in another, etc?

Anyone practicing the profession of power engineering will gain through research, study, conversation, and so on, a broad knowledge of the overall field. Obviously, their expertise will be greater within the areas of their immediate experience - fuels, heating, refrigeration, etc. However, the program is broad enough to cover these various areas and is based on an engineer's ability to manage energy conversion where ever they may practice. In recognition of specific sector needs, extracted certifications are also available.

6. The same holds true when comparing existing license classifications. For instance, there may be five grades of license in one area, only two or three in another. NIULPE calls for five. How do you expect to gain entry and acceptance of this national uniformity of grades where there is now a variance?

This is a classic problem of standardization that has persisted throughout the history of standards. Ideally, each plant should have a licensing program particular to its own operation and conditions. Obviously, this is impractical and does not lend itself to formulation of a standard. After researching the various licensing programs throughout this country and Canada, it is believed that operating personnel can best be classed in one of five grades of license, namely, those we project in NIULPE: chief engineer, first class engineer, second class engineer, third class engineer, fourth class engineer (formerly fireman and watertender).
Actually, there is no conflict between NIULPE grading and that in those areas now having fewer grades or different classifications.
NIULPE's system pinpoints an engineer's experience and education into a stated level of competency.

7. What do you anticipate will be the reception of NIULPE in areas where codes now exist? For instance, all states now ascribe to national ASME established codes for boiler and pressure vessels.

In these areas the NIULPE program may at first be viewed as a form of competition. Existing agencies may fear an attempt to usurp their prerogatives. In reality, nothing is further from the truth. NIULPE is, in fact, an assisting agency to licensing agencies. It does not issue licenses. The program is logical and practical. It can supplement and upgrade if and as needed. It is conceivable that some programs now operating in various areas may parallel ours. Here there will be little if any need for modification of the program to come within NIULPE's international standards. There will be changes, more in some areas less in others. Here is where NIULPE can be of great assistance.

8. What about those now holding licenses?

An existing licensing agency seeking to transfer its licenses to the five aforestated classes of license would determine, as it prerogative the class of license that each licensee would receive, being guided by the standards of NIULPE. The NIULPE, National Board of Directors has established procedures to facilitate this process.

9. What is the relationship between NIULPE and Professional Associations or Organizations?

Members of professional organizations representing Power Engineers act within NIULPE in a capacity not linked to their professional organization. NIULPE is not directly aligned with any professional organization but does use the skill of many working professionals in creating and maintaining its standards.

10. What do Professional Organizations expect to gain from this program?

Forward thinking Organizations recognize the benefits of standardized knowledge in the mobility of their members and ability to improve safety standards in the workplace.

11. How does NIULPE ensure security in the program?

NIULPE is on the local licensing agency in this manner:

12. Do you anticipate NIULPE in its present form, or with some variance, ever becoming state or local law?

We do not foresee NIULPE becoming law in any state. We do, however, foresee states creating legislation to form license laws recognizing the NIULPE program. It must be remembered that NIULPE is an engineering standard and, as such, leaves the legislative function to agencies created by that legislation.