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Beyond the P.E. License?

  • 1.  Beyond the P.E. License?

    Posted 08-18-2022 10:32 AM

    A Professional Engineer (PE) license represents a major milestone in our Civil Engineering careers. It requires technical competence, ethical behavior, and a commitment to continuing education. Clients and employers see the PE credential as a mark of engineering maturity and gives them confidence to trust that engineer's judgement.

    What comes next? The best engineers can apply for board certification in their specialties. Civil Engineering Certification (CEC) Academies provide that distinction for PE's with eight years of progressive experience after the PE, post-graduate education, and demonstration of expert knowledge in a designated specialty. Click here for details. Currently, Board Certifications are available in:

    • Coastal Engineering
    • Geotechnical Engineering
    • Navigation Engineering
    • Ocean Engineering
    • Ports Engineering
    • Water Resources Engineering

    What's your perspective on Civil Engineering Board Certification?

    If you're Board Certified, how has it contributed to your career?

    If you're not, do you see Board Certification as a worthy goal?

    Bill



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    William McAnally Ph.D., P.E., D.CE, D.NE, F.ASCE
    ENGINEER
    Columbus MS
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  • 2.  RE: Beyond the P.E. License?

    Posted 08-22-2022 10:21 AM
    I would like to see a national license that would be able to practice as a Professional Engineer in all 50 states and territories. It seems crazy that each states have a separate board and none are coordinated or connected. Thanks for the question.

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    John Casey P.E., M.ASCE
    Prescott Valley AZ
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  • 3.  RE: Beyond the P.E. License?

    Posted 08-22-2022 12:48 PM
    Agreed, but you would have to add seismic, hurricane, snow loads, and other state specialties to the test for everyone.  It might be simpler to break the certification for states up into parts that must be completed for an individual states licensure. General (the PE exam for most states), plus, for example, Hurricane design and construction for coastal states.  General plus seismic for west coast states etc.  It would take a national effort by state license boards to accomplish this.  Doubtful it will ever happen just due to the inertia in most government agencies.

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    Blair Alegant P.E.
    Philadelphia PA
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    Blair Alegant P.E., M.ASCE
    Assistant Chief of Construction
    Philadelphia Water Dept.
    Philadelphia PA
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  • 4.  RE: Beyond the P.E. License?

    Posted 08-22-2022 04:41 PM
    I agree…or you could have a national P.E. with separate surveying/seismic/etc. that some states currently have. The national P.E. would not hold in those states until the individual took those individual segments…all states have these as separate exams…just a thought…thank you for your input.

    John




  • 5.  RE: Beyond the P.E. License?

    Posted 09-27-2022 10:29 AM
    I think a national PE license would be great. I would only need seismic for CA. Keep in mind that some states require a survey exam as well.

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    George Miles P.E., M.ASCE
    President
    Alligator Engineering Inc
    Edgewater FL
    [Phone]
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  • 6.  RE: Beyond the P.E. License?

    Posted 24 days ago
    Well, I don't agree. I still think this is something that should remain the prerogative of states. I am not in favor of the trend to make everything homogenized at a national level.  When I took my PE exam, the exam itself was prepared in that state. The entire P.E. exam consisted of solving problems and showing all your work in an exam booklet. No multiple choice questions! For each 4-hour session (morning and afternoon), one was presented with 8 problems; solve 4 of one's choice. One had to start each solution on a new page, because the solutions were separated and sent back to the author of the question for grading.

    I think today's multiple-choice format, with a large number of short questions, was developed simply to make grading easier, not to improve the engineer's competence. The format today is more akin to the the FE exam I took. But I am a dinosaur, I know. I needed 144 credits for my B.S., not the typical 120 today.

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    Martin Pinckney M.ASCE
    President
    American Engr. Consultants Marco Is.
    Marco Island FL
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  • 7.  RE: Beyond the P.E. License?

    Posted 17 days ago
    I am in full agreement the states should be the licensing authority with each state administering their own PE test tailored to meet their state's unique needs.  I strongly support a handwritten exam with (8) questions.  The test itself could be developed using a national template much like state codes adopting the IBC with state modifications.

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    Kevin Casey P.E., F.SEI, F.ASCE
    Principal
    BBM Structural Engineers
    Maitland FL
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  • 8.  RE: Beyond the P.E. License?

    Posted 08-22-2022 10:22 AM
    Going through the same certification board (CESB) (https://www.cesb.org/accredited-programs), I earned my certification in Forensic Engineering.  Similar to the PE license, it's the path to earn the certification that provides the initial value.   Once I put "Board Certified Forensic Engineer" on my CV, it correlated to an increase in interviews and subsequent acceptance as an expert witness in areas of my expertise.   I am still primarily a design engineer, but going to court and seeing the "bad ideas" has tightened up my engineering and business practices.

    This certification is earned through the National Academy of Forensic Engineers, an NSPE affiliate organization.  Part of the requirements to earn that Board Certification is to hold and maintain a P.E., which makes the Board Certification "the next level" in many ways.

    Bart Kemper, P.E., DFE

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    Clarence Kemper CPEng, P.E., M.ASCE
    Principal Engineer
    Kemper Engineering Services
    Baton Rouge LA
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  • 9.  RE: Beyond the P.E. License?

    Posted 09-22-2022 07:57 AM
    Thanks for the candid feedback Bart!

    Re: " I am still primarily a design engineer, but going to court and seeing the "bad ideas" has tightened up my engineering and business practices."

    Imagine if we now, based on the excellent results from FEs, developed a "Forensic Management" track?

    i.e., backtrack from the FE's work asking "Why?" at least 5 times.

    Q.
    Where do you suspect such diligent work might lead?
    Cheers,
    Bill

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    William M. Hayden Jr., Ph.D., P.E., CMQ/OE, F.ASCE
    Buffalo, N.Y.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot 1819 - 1880
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  • 10.  RE: Beyond the P.E. License?

    Posted 10-06-2022 10:49 AM
    I think credentials can be good as they can demonstrate competency and provide a leading indicator of achievement. On the flip side, there will also be individuals who collect these things for the sake of having initials behind their name and other than being able to pass an exam have little to offer. Another possible negative is the organizations and bureaucracy behind administration of the credentialing programs. Very quickly these organizations become businesses with mouths to feed, creating the risk of entrenchment of practice vs flexibility to evolve with the times.

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    Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE
    Houston, TX
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  • 11.  RE: Beyond the P.E. License?

    Posted 25 days ago
    I think the PE exam, at least, was designed was evolution with the times. I have taken and passed the FE exam last year, right around the time I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering. From there, I will need at least four years worth of experience in the field to take the PE exam, along with obtaining a proper number of PDH's every two years after the fact.

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    Alexander Granato A.M.ASCE
    Student
    Bexley OH
    granato.3@...
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  • 12.  RE: Beyond the P.E. License?

    Posted 17 days ago
    William,  you missed a very important Certification -- Board Certified Environmental Engineer, by the Americn Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists. It was founded in 1955; I have been certified since 1976.

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    Joseph Reichenberger P.E., F.ASCE
    Professor of Civil Engineering
    Monterey Park CA
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  • 13.  RE: Beyond the P.E. License?

    Posted 17 days ago
    While a national license would be convenient, there are lots of local conditions that affect civil designs, things like soil conditions, topography, rivers versus estuaries, climate, travel patterns, vocabulary, local construction practices, not to mention local ordinances and codes.  In over 50 years of practice, I have seen a number of errors or poor designs that resulted simply from lack of knowledge of local conditions.  If a national PE were enacted, the profession should try to make it mandatory to research local conditions or hire a local consultant.

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    William Forbes MASCE, PE, ME, BCEE
    Senior Principal Engineer/Vice President of Engineering
    Forensic Analysis & Engineering Corporation
    Virginia Beach, Virginia
    [Phone]
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  • 14.  RE: Beyond the P.E. License?

    Posted 16 days ago
    You make an excellent point about local conditions; however, keeping state registration may not accomplish the goal of location-specific knowledge. Many engineers have multiple state licenses. I don't know if comity licenses require local knowledge or expertise. Do they?

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    William McAnally Ph.D., P.E., D.CE, D.NE, F.ASCE
    ENGINEER
    Columbus MS
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  • 15.  RE: Beyond the P.E. License?

    Posted 10 days ago
    I am licensed in 10 states, all but one by comity.  In addition to the NCEES record, Florida required an exam covering Florida laws and rules, and requires separate qualification for special inspections.  I do not recall a specific state requirement in the others, but i do know that North Carolina requires (or did require) a separate state exam for surveyors.  I understand California in particular requires an examination in life-safety factors related to earthquakes.  There are also differing requirements for continuing education in each state.
    On consideration, most of the larger states have a fairly wide variety of local conditions within the state - most of the eastern states have mountain, piedmont, and coastal plain topography, rural and urban areas, rivers, lakes, and estuaries, and other variations.  So, perhaps a general professional requirement to actually do some research and familiarization when beginning work in a new area would be more useful, and should be second nature to anyone who "works around."

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    William Forbes MASCE, PE, ME, BCEE
    Senior Principal Engineer/Vice President of Engineering
    Forensic Analysis & Engineering Corporation
    Virginia Beach, Virginia
    [Phone]
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  • 16.  RE: Beyond the P.E. License?

    Posted 16 days ago
    It would interesting to see a comparison of the tests for 50 States specific to assessment of knowledge of local conditions just to see how large this issue is in reality. 

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    Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE
    Houston, TX
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  • 17.  RE: Beyond the P.E. License?

    Posted 15 days ago
    But we already have a national PE in the form of the NCEES except for some states which have special additional testing e.g., Alaska and California. It's up to the individual, operating under the standard of care to understand local conditions.  If you need to local conditions, then each states need to add a supplemental test(s) like CA.

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    Joseph Reichenberger P.E., F.ASCE
    Professor of Civil Engineering
    Monterey Park CA
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  • 18.  RE: Beyond the P.E. License?

    Posted 9 days ago
    Good Afternoon,

    ASCE is a member of the Alliance for Responsible Professional Licensing, which is a group dedicated to educating policymakers in statehouses all across the country about the importance of professional licensure. The coalition will be hosting a call this afternoon to share expectations for licensure policy during state sessions next year.

    More information is below:

    Don't Forget! ARPL Webinar… This Tuesday!

     

    Don't miss this Tuesday's webinar, ARPL 2023: Projects and Priorities for Stronger Advocacy.

     

    When: Tomorrow, Tuesday, November. 29, 2022, from 3-4 p.m. ET.

     

    Registration Still Open: Click Here to Register Now!

     

    Today, ARPL's Marta Zaniewski and James Cox will discuss ARPL's recent efforts to bring the responsible licensing perspective to lawmaker forums and preview 2023 projects and priorities:

     

    • New research to strengthen the business case for licensing
    • Enhanced digital resources and advocacy tools
    • Legislation to watch as we prepare to enter the new year


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    Caroline Sevier Aff.M.ASCE
    Director, Government Relations
    American Society of Civil Engineers
    Washington DC
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  • 19.  RE: Beyond the P.E. License?

    Posted 3 days ago
    California has a Seismic Exam that you must take to be considered licensed in Civil or Structural.  I think the reason is obvious.

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    George Harris Aff.M.ASCE
    Senior Track Engineer
    Olive Branch MS
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