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I have to agree with Samantha I believe she raises some good points, especially about how your career may change and cross team coordination.
I would take the argument even further perhaps to a more philosophical level. PE's are supposed to be broad based professionals and at ASCE they speak of things like "raise the bar" in that regard. The PE should be able to contribute in many ways, related to some of the points Samantha raises, but also be a leader professionally and in general. We need to think about being broad based, knowledgeable professionals, and not narrow technicians. So I think we need to keep categories as broad as possible with the PE and pursue additional certifications to demonstrate specific competence. Again ASCE is pursuing these certifications through their CEC initiative.
A big purpose of licensure is to protect the public health, safety and welfare. Again I would argue broad based professionals are better able to do that than narrow technicians. So there is a need to be specific enough in the exam to ensure that but I do think that having to handle a few extra problems in studying will only reinforce that.
Finally I would note there are many recent challenges to licensure, some of them ongoing in many states. These often take the form of saying a PE restricts the free practice of trade. I would respectfully submit that only reinforces my point, we are not licensed to do one narrow job and keep others out but we are licensed to protect the public at a professional and high level.
Just my two cents.
I would like to suggest we step back a bit.
If you are a structural engineer, you know how to apply the principles of Structural Engineering to the problem at hand. One needs to be knowledgeable in the application of the structural principles whether the problem is static, dynamic, moving loads, etc.. If you do not possess the technicle knowledge, then you either research and study and also find someone experienced in the specific problem. If you have never designed a highrise building and you do not understand the nuances, your ethics would tell you not to do it. You would lack competency. In our business, I always reminded myself that if I don't get it right, people get hurt/killed. That would in itself always get me to make the correct path forward. In any engineering/building profession, our ethics should always guide us to do the right thing. We should always understand what our level of competency is. By the way, I have taken the following examinations to obtain my license. Architectural (5 days long, 11% pass rate). Structural Engineer (1 day, 13 % pass rate), Professional Engineer (1 day, 70% pass rate). I never thought that passing these exams made me feel more competent. My competency came with my continuing education and continuing work experince and by associating with knowledgable and experienced collegues.
Building on this response, I think the structural engineering profession runs the risk of strangling itself due to the complexity of the codes and the increased requirements for licensure and certification that are being foisted on the profession by well-intentioned groups and leaders. Licensure and certification are only leading indicators of success, not guarantees. The most important part of being a civil engineer is the ethical responsibility we assume to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public and work within our competency areas. The code complexity will not go away, but we need to find a way where less is more with respect to evaluative exams or talented individuals will vote with their feet. With our quest for more and more testing, we are not necessarily making things safer. <o:p></o:p>
In addition to this discussion, making PE testing more discipline-specific is potentially driving the profession in the opposite direction of its future role. In the future, engineers will be tasked with problem-solving at many levels. Finding solutions to new problems will require broad skills and thought processes. The role of the engineer will not be delegated to calculations/number crunching.
The development of AI will be improving to the point that these functions will be performed by sophisticated algorithms (the Tools). Therefore engineering should focus on the big picture and the application of the tools in generating problem solutions.