Discussion: View Thread

  • 1.  Weigh in on the merits of a proposed post-P.E. certification program

    Posted 02-21-2020 09:58 AM

    Is post-P.E. professional certification of value to civil engineers? Share your opinion and you could win $500. https://bit.ly/39xT3ye

    Jennifer Hofmann Aff.M.ASCE
    Manager, Professional Advancement
    Reston VA

  • 2.  RE: Weigh in on the merits of a proposed post-P.E. certification program

    Posted 02-22-2020 09:26 AM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 02-22-2020 09:26 AM
    It depends on what you are calling " post-P.E. professional certification".  I was certified as a Floodplain Manager (CFM) by examination a few years after I was licensed and only recently relinquished it.  And yes, I did see some highly competent P.E.'s fail the CFM exam.
       I believe the error is in thinking that a P.E. license and seal makes one bullet-proof when in actuality it makes the sealing P.E. legally responsible and therefore liable.  A P.E. seal is not a shield, it's a target!

    James Justin Mercier, P.E.
    Life Member ASCE
    Sr. Life Member IEEE
    Austin Texas

  • 3.  RE: Weigh in on the merits of a proposed post-P.E. certification program

    Posted 02-23-2020 08:27 AM
    Thanks for the question Jennifer.

    And of course, the very best answer is "It Depends."

    The common reason for the P.E. early on in one's career is to provide substantive, minimal

    credibility to the public-at-large, one's employer, and as either required or allowed, to sign and

    seal appropriate engineering documents.

    Contrary to James Mercier, P.E., closing line above, the P.E. seal is public assurance that the one signing has, in fact, done so

    to comply with the seal's unique purpose:

    "To protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public."

    Now, in this 21st Century, we have learned that all one needs to know . . .and provide evidence and assurance to the public . . .will require

    more than knowledge of engineering, per se.

    The American Society for Quality . . .  asq.org  . . . provides education, training, and development for a P.E. to, subject to credentials verification, and passing various, scaled certification test(s), become expert in the various systems for the management of quality . . .conformance to requirements . . .within the constructed project.

    And the Project Management Institute . . .   pmi.org  . . . also provides what is noted above for ASQ, as to equip the P.E. to better understand and deploy systems for the effective and efficent management of programs and projects.

     So to answer your question "Is post-P.E. professional certification of value to civil engineers?" the answer is first, it is of value to the public we serve, as well as the professional maturation required to take P.E.s beyond "Minimums Required."

    But of course, I may be wrong!


    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

  • 4.  RE: Weigh in on the merits of a proposed post-P.E. certification program

    Posted 02-24-2020 01:10 PM
    I like Bill Hayden's phrase, 'It Depends'.

    Because it tells a lot about the certification itself, the engineer's career goals and aspirations, the employer's/market's requirement of certain competence, and its ability in sales pitch to market a particular certification.

    Looking from another perspective, perhaps some certifications are useful as an advancement of the community. But again certifications or documents of that sort are no assurance of the competent performance of an individual.

    Dr. Dilip Barua, Ph.D, P.Eng, M. ASCE
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Website: https://widecanvas.weebly.com

  • 5.  RE: Weigh in on the merits of a proposed post-P.E. certification program

    Posted 02-24-2020 12:31 PM
    My humble opinion for post PE certification is only a great value for the individual professional that acquires it. It's more like a marketing tool that will open up more opportunities for him/her (or the company they work for), it will give the professional more recognition and personal satisfaction (and maybe some extra income)

    The assurance that you could S&S (and all responsibility and liability that comes with it) is already acquired when the professional gets certified with his/her P.E license.

    Depending on the angle you are looking at the question (Is it of any "value"?)  I think the post P.E. certification is more of a personal growth tool for the individual rather than I way to get more responsibility and less liability or to serve and protect the public better. Any professional with expertise on the matter would provide the same value as one with a post-PE certification, provided that this person is knowledgable enough to conduct the type of service that he/her is assigned to S&S for.

    JR, P.E.
    Senior Drainage  Engineer.
    BCC Engineering,
    Altamonte Springs, FL

    Jairo Rodriguez P.E., M.ASCE
    Senior Drainage Engineer
    BCC Engineering, Inc.
    Altamonte Springs FL

  • 6.  RE: Weigh in on the merits of a proposed post-P.E. certification program

    Posted 02-25-2020 05:48 PM
    Post-PE Professional certification can be useful.  As technology and materials change, there is a need to keep up with what is available for use in a design.  Trouble is, many states now require PDH training certificates in order to maintain professional licensure.  Because of that requirement, I have seen a lot of ads for courses which, based on the descriptions, are essentially bare minimum value to a seasoned engineer.   So as Jim Mercer previously stated, "it depends".  If the program is a decent one and there is some real information presented, post certification would probably be worth it.  It will not prevent you from running into legal issues down the road, but hopefully, the post training/certification should minimize potential issues.

    Timothy Stinson P.E., M.ASCE
    Holbrook MA

  • 7.  RE: Weigh in on the merits of a proposed post-P.E. certification program

    Posted 02-26-2020 10:00 PM
    My cynical view is that the biggest winner for professional certifications will be the for-profit companies that produce training materials.

    Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE
    Houston, TX

  • 8.  RE: Weigh in on the merits of a proposed post-P.E. certification program

    Posted 02-27-2020 08:41 AM
    Edited by Irfan Alvi 02-27-2020 10:57 AM
    If a post-PE certification is properly designed to confirm expertise in a well-defined specialty, I believe it's of benefit to the engineers who have the certification, their clients, the engineering profession, the public, and continuing education providers.  Win-win for all parties, except those engineers who are unwilling or unable to obtain the certifications.  

    A common contributing factor to engineering failures has been engineers practicing outside their areas of expertise, without realizing the extent to which they were outside their expertise - they "didn't know what they didn't know."  The Oroville Dam spillway failures are a good example of this: https://damsafety.org/sites/default/files/files/Independent%20Forensic%20Team%20Report%20Final%2001-05-18.pdf

    Proper post-PE certification would help reduce the rate of these types of incidents and failures.

    Irfan A. Alvi, P.E., M.ASCE
    President & Chief Engineer
    Alvi Associates, Inc.
    Towson, Maryland

  • 9.  RE: Weigh in on the merits of a proposed post-P.E. certification program

    Posted 02-27-2020 10:08 AM
    Once again I agree with @Irfan Alvi,. I took the survey and felt the certification as currently proposed misses the mark (I realize it may be a work in progress).

    In my opinion, a "Board certification" would indicate a high degree of competency in a specialty area.  As someone whom often hires civil engineers as consultants to our projects, I would, without doubt, hire a board certified engineer over a non-certified one for specific projects. Certain projects need technical expertise and experience (that's what I'm looking for in a board certification program). For instance, Board certified...high-rise engineer....specialty timber.....Bridge engineer....Dam engineer...turbine engineer.... seismic engineer...geographical engineer..pre-fabrication and modular techniques.... these types of things promote a valued expertise.

    The board certification should convey "I am a distinguished practitioner in these areas". Not every project or engineer will need board certification just as not every medical doctor needs it. But when the gravity of situation demands expertise, our profession, at the moment, leaves the consumer to guess at credentials. The proposed certification seemed to contain 50% of "curriculum" in management...which from a consumer perspective has nothing to do with why one hires an engineer.


    Jesse Kamm PhD, PMP, A.M.ASCE
    Senior Vice President of Construction Management