Discussion Thread

  • 1.  PE Application Adventures

    Posted 06-01-2022 11:18 AM
    I was speaking with some colleagues recently, comparing and contrasting our experiences in applying to take the PE exam. Despite the fact that its been 4 years since I took the exam, there are still details about the application process that stick out in my memory. For example:

    Each state differs in its application rules. In NJ and PA for example, your EIT and your 4 years of experience need to be complete before applying for the exam. However, a few states will let you take the exam before you experience is complete, and simply award you your license after such time as you complete your experience. Some of these states may also offer the exam "remotely" in another state. I seem to recall a coworker took this route. I do not remember if he did or did not have an EIT certificate either. 

    Each state board (or individual on a given state board) will interpret rules differently. I had a coworker who had earned her EIT at least 4 years before she applied for the PE. However, because she never requested the physical certificate, the board she applied to would not let her apply. Even after she obtained the certificate, she was told that she would need to wait until 4 years after the date on the certificate (meaning 4 more years since the certificate itself was dated the day she requested it). This was a pointless barrier to overcome and she ended up successfully applying to take the PE in another state.

    Certain state boards will ask you to describe your "design work experience". Do not panic if you do not do traditional design work. 
    While we all do not do traditional design work, there are ways to describe the work that you do in the context of "design support." For example, I described working on various H&H models and performing capacity assessments in order to inform future design projects (that I would not be involved with). This was apparently enough to satisfy the state board that I applied to. 

    I was wondering if anyone else wanted to share the application experiences (good and bad) in the hopes that we might be able to help those who have yet to apply to get a sense of what to prepare for. If you haven't applied yet, questions are welcome as well!

    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer

  • 2.  RE: PE Application Adventures

    Posted 06-02-2022 03:38 PM
    Thanks for sharing this Christopher! I expect a lot of us share similar experiences!

    I recently took (and passed, YAY!) the computer-based PE exam and came across some of the same questions/uncertainties. I live in Wisconsin, but work in Illinois. From what I found, Illinois decoupled the experience requirement and exam whereas Wisconsin has not. Since I only have about a year and a half of experience, I decided to take the PE exam for Illinois. I registered to take the exam at a testing center in Illinois, although there was one closer in Wisconsin. I wasn't sure (and frankly, still am unsure) if I had to be physically in Illinois in order to take the Illinois PE exam or if I could take the Illinois exam at a testing center in Wisconsin. I didn't even think about the Illinois test being offered "remotely" in Wisconsin until a coworker mentioned it... might be a good question to ask NCEES!

    I'm interested to hear if anyone ran into a similar conundrum and what your experience/though process was!

    Madison Anderson

    Madison Anderson A.M.ASCE
    Kenosha WI

  • 3.  RE: PE Application Adventures

    Posted 06-09-2022 03:45 PM

    My experience revolves around the State of Michigan's licensing process.

    Michigan changed its rules where future applicants do not have to verify their work experience before being able to apply for the exam. A person may sign up and take the exam prior to accumulating all necessary work experience, but you must have your work experience requirements completed before applying for the PE license. For me this rule change happened 2-3 years after I finished school but had this happened sooner, I definitely would have taken the exam maybe a year after college. I feel like the 4+ years away from school was a factor in me not passing on my first try. I've seen many new graduates in my area willing to take the exam 1 year or less removed with college with mixed results. Maybe about half that I know of were successful on their first try.

    I had a total of 5.5-6 years of work experience going into my application, however there was a 1.5 year gap that of experience that I did not include. This was a period that I did work under a licensed engineer at a firm, but shortly after I left the company no longer existed. The company was bought by another firm, the name was changed, and at the time I had no knowledge of this. I mentioned on my application that I would not be including this as part of my work experience because it no longer existed, but obviously I still met the 4 years of total work experience. My application went through with no issues or questions and I received my license.

    Jay Garth P.E.
    Structural Engineer I

    EWB: An Engineering Culture Shift
    Grand Rapids, MI