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David Swanson, PE, SELEED AP, F. SEI
Principal/Director, Structural Engineering
Reid Middleton, Inc.
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Keep in mind the licensing exam covers minimum requirements. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a SE to have some knowledge of AASHTO and the ability to navigate the code. In addition, the test for the SE is already separated in the afternoon portion. So I think they have acknowledged the difference between the two and allow test takers to pursue either focus. Ultimately, passing the SE gives you a license but your ethical obligation is to practice within your area of expertise. Thus, whether bridge, buildings, both or neither, it's an individual's choice that should be made in accordance with the ethical obligations of the license.
My personal opinion is that testing on both ensures more well rounded candidates who will not be limited in the future if their path changes. I'm for keeping them together.