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drawoh (Mechanical) (OP)
23 Jan 09 17:18
   "Illinois case worries engineering organizations."

   Here is the article in Design News.  Is this safe to post, or has the subject been flogged to death? smile


Helpful Member!(2)  HgTX (Civil/Environmental)
23 Jan 09 17:54
The question of only PEs (and those under the industrial exemption) being allowed to call themselves engineers has been flogged to death.


If Siegal is not recognized as an engineer, states could force thousands of manufacturing firms to remove the term "engineering" from their company names and might even tell hundreds of thousands of engineering graduates to remove "engineer" from their business cards.

No sh!t, Sherlock.  That's already the law in many if not most states.  This is NOTHING new.

What may not have been beaten to death is the question of whether independent consultants doing exactly what they used to do under the industrial exemption need to get licensed just because now they're a third party instead of directly employed by the people they're providing that service to.  I've seen some discussion here but not as much as the other question.

Whether or not that *should* be the way things are, though, I don't see it as such a hardship.  Part of what someone working under the industrial exemption needs to do in order to prepare for becoming an independent consultant, along with buying their own library and software, is get the license.  Parallel case:  a real estate agent wanting to go out on their own needs to get a broker's license.


Eng-Tips policies:  FAQ731-376: Forum Policies

Helpful Member!  zdas04 (Mechanical)
23 Jan 09 19:13
That is a good point about doing the same job you were doing under an industrial exemption.  I don't need a PE to evaluate a gathering system or to size a compressor--these tasks are done by non-engineers all the time so doing them is not "holding myself out to the public to be an engineer".  

To call my business "MuleShoe Engineering" I have to have a PE in this state even if I never do anything that requires a stamp.  Doesn't make much sense, but that is the law.  I could call my business "MuleShoe Energy" and do almost all the things that I do today (with a couple of notable exceptions) without a PE.  

The PE lets me put "Engineer" on my business card and "Engineering" on my company name.  Determining the value of that is a difficult exercise that anyone starting a consultancy should think really hard about.

IRstuff (Aerospace)
23 Jan 09 19:52
Consultancy can be a nebulous area.  In California, the industrial exemption extends to consultants of exempt companies.  Consultants who offer their services to the general public, on the other hand...


FAQ731-376: Forum Policies

vc66 (Mechanical)
23 Jan 09 19:59
It's b*llshit. If I do mechanical design work for a company as a consultant that's in an exempt area, I don't need to be a PE. If I'm the CEO of my company, and I do mechanical design in an exempt industry--it's OK, but if I am the Chief Engineer of my company, and I do mechanical engineering in an exempt industry--it's not OK.

If it require's a stamp, then you should need to be a PE. If it doesn't then you shouldn't need to be a PE. Maybe that means broadening the range of things that require a stamp, I don't know. But this is such a namby pamby thing to be arguing about.

There are people dying all over this world for naught, and people in this country are still arguing over the use of words. That's a damn shame.


Helpful Member!(4)  Ron (Structural)
23 Jan 09 21:44
Let's look at this from a different angle.
Not all "engineering" curricula are the same.  The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) prescribes a minimum curriculum for engineering graduates and most states require that, before licensing, the candidate must have graduated from an ABET accredited program.  That sets a baseline for the academic side.

The term "engineer", like it or not, believe it or not, connotes someone who is perceived to be a bit smarter than the average bear.  This is what the "public" believes.

The title "Engineer" is intended to convey that this person is someone who has received a rather difficult education and has proved himself/herself to be competent to offer the benefit of the education and experience to the public for the public good.  The proof of this competence, in the licensed engineer realm, is the Professional Engineering lioense; the P.E.

Without licensing there is no common proof that the engineers are "apples and apples" by comparison.  Further, in the event of a failure, the non-licensed engineer may be sued for damages in civil court and if he loses he loses money.  If a licensed engineer designs a failure, he can be sued civilly and he can lose his ability to practice engineering by a loss of his license.  Which one has more to loose and which do you think would be more prudent in his design?  Please note that prudent doesn't necessarily equate to conservative....there's still plenty of risk and innovation in the ranks of licensed engineers.

This question has been debated for years and will continue to be.  I am a firm believer in the licensing process and believe that those who complain about licensing should strive to meet the qualifications and become so.  What could it hurt?  Why not keep the level of public confidence in engineering at a high level and promote that through the licensing process?
IRstuff (Aerospace)
23 Jan 09 21:46
Why is that BS?  There are lots of stuff that you can do in the privacy of your own home that would be illegal in public.


FAQ731-376: Forum Policies

Ron (Structural)
23 Jan 09 21:53
IRstuff...well sure...most states don't limit your "engineering" of your own stuff either, but they limit it if you offer it to the public.
vc66 (Mechanical)
23 Jan 09 22:12
I just realized I starred the bull, but not the bad part... whoops.

I'm talking in terms of mechanical engineering of consumer devices. If I want to call my company ABC Vacuum Engineering Company, and make vacuums... what's the problem?

I would never hold out myself to be a PE, unless I was, but I can't understand what the problem is, pertaining to the article in question.


Helpful Member!(4)  TheTick (Mechanical)
23 Jan 09 22:35
A man with 55 years experience ought to be able to breeze through the PE exam.  He also ought to be familiar with the law.

If I walk into a building with a sign that says "clinic", I expect to find persons calling themselves "doctor" to be licensed.
IRstuff (Aerospace)
23 Jan 09 23:48
The difference is that the subject was indeed offering engineering services and promoting himself as an engineer, just not a PE.  However, in California, there's no distinction; your only haven would be to be employed in an exempt capacity, which this guy wasn't.

BTW, is the horse dead yet, or is it simply a zombie?


FAQ731-376: Forum Policies

SomptingGuy (Automotive)
24 Jan 09 3:48
I hear of the PE exam all the time here.  What's a typical question?  Is it higher or lower than those I sat through at  university?  Or does it contain more "experience" questions?

- Steve

Ron (Structural)
24 Jan 09 8:34
TheTick...well said....better and more succinct than the rest of us
Helpful Member!  JAE (Structural)
25 Jan 09 1:57
Yes its been flogged to death.

But just keep in mind the complaint by the state is the guy's use of the term ENGINEER...not his activities over 55 years inventing stuff.  

Requiring the guy to not use the term Engineer won't affect his livelihood....UNLESS....he's indeed hanging out a shingle advertising himself as an engineer and he feels it would limit his "credibility".  

With all his accomplishments, I guess I don't see how he needs to use the term.

Ron (Structural)
25 Jan 09 8:31
You and The Tick laid it out very clearly...and yes, it has been flogged to death and until our state boards start enforcing the laws that have been in place for years, it will continue to be an issue of others usurping the title.
Helpful Member!  JLSeagull (Electrical)
26 Jan 09 13:53
If you're gonna play in Texas you gotta have a Fiddler in the Band.  If you'r gonna call yourself an engineer in Texas you better be a licensed registered professional engineer in Texas.  Texas went nuts about registration in 1992.  I passed the exam in 1994 and now contribute a few hundred bucks to the Texas general fund each year.  Enforecement?  See

The HgTX quotation mentioned Siegal not Seagull. winky smile

oldfieldguy (Electrical)
26 Jan 09 14:05

Texas went nuts about licensing just about everything in the last decade or so but we in Louisiana have one up on them.  In this fine state you have to be licensed to be a florist.  You know?  Flowers and ....?

old field guy

IRstuff (Aerospace)
26 Jan 09 14:28
Baby's Breath...

Sure, wouldn't want some unlicensed hack selling you poison ivy instead of Baby's Breath, now would we?


FAQ731-376: Forum Policies

ewh (Aerospace)
26 Jan 09 14:39

"The ambassador and the general were briefing me on the - the vast majority of Iraqis want to live in a peaceful, free world. And we will find these people and we will bring them to justice." - George Bush, Washington DC, 27 October, 2003

Helpful Member!  FeX32 (Mechanical)
26 Jan 09 18:25
Similar rules in Canada. You may not call yourself an Engineer unless you have passed the professional practice exam with at least 4 years experience (take a year off if you have a masters or PhD). Not to mention that you have to have a B.Eng. from an accredited university.
You can be fined 50 grand if you don't obey.



IRstuff (Aerospace)
26 Jan 09 18:52
Even in the case of Texas, there are industrial exemptions:

Under § 1001.057. Employee of Private Corporation or Business Entity, it can be interpreted to mean that consultants working for such exempt companies are likewise exempt.


FAQ731-376: Forum Policies

JLSeagull (Electrical)
27 Jan 09 7:49
In Texas, the use the engineer title or classification is mostly a problem in connection with an offer to the public to perform engineering services.

Texas § 1001.057 does not permit the person modifying the product or facilities to use the title engineer on a business card, email signature, etc.  Several other exemptions apply to specific design activities.  A better example is § 1001.061 applied to Telephone Companies.  The exemption includes the job title if the person does not use the title in connection with an offer to the public to perform engineering services.  If the telephone company employee advises his civic club that he can modify the park patio cover because she is an engineer then she is in trouble with the board of professional engineers.

An amusing side note is the fighting between the Texas architectural board and engineering board regarding building design.  Texas too has many other licenses.  A landscape architect or interior designer wants to protect her turf too.
Ussuri (Civil/Environmental)
27 Jan 09 11:50
Move to the UK.  Anyone can call themselves an Engineer with no fear of prosecution.
Helpful Member!  Apakrat (Civil/Environmental)
27 Jan 09 13:39

A friend of mine,  retired as Engineering Director from a large corporation with head office in Houston, Texas,  about 10 years ago.  He started full time, at age 18 in 1964, without completing HS, during the initial construction phase of the business.  Three others, (which I also call friends and tutors), with engineering degrees, (one a PE and all eventually), began at the same time, all doing identical jobs, but at different locations of the developing business.

When an opening occurred in Houston for someone to fill the head the design engineering department, due to a vacancy caused by an airplane accident.  My non HS graduate friend was selected over the graduate engineers, though at that time he had acquired a GED only and was taking correspondence courses.  At that time of the business growing pains, where required, consultant RPE's were hired.

This non GED friend was not a whiz at any of the recognized engineering disciplines.  We all recognized his stubbornness to continue to ask questions of experts until he had an answer which he could understand and then relate to others in simple terms.  Also, he never failed to credit those he acquired knowledge from, but not until after it was proven his selected choices were correct.  

He was one of the best Professional People Engineers I've ever met.


At 74th year working on IR-One2 PhD from UHK  - - -

Helpful Member!(3)  EEJaime (Electrical)
19 Feb 09 13:29
One thing that always seems to get lost is that there are insufficient PE examinations available for a large quantity of engineering fields.

My degree is in Aerospace Engineering, there is no Aerospace Engineering PE.  California offers Structural, Civil, Chemical, Electrical, Mechanical, Agricultural, Control, Fire Protection, Geotech, Industrial, Metallurgical, Nuclear, Petrolum, and Traffic.  Thousands of Aerospace Engineers work in the field and DESIGNED the vehicles that took Mr. Siegals inventions into space-but they should not be able to call themselves Engineers-except through an "industrial excemption"?  Absurd.

I could have taken the Mechanical PE, we studied some of that material along with Thermodynamics, Materials, Structural Analysis, Engineering Econ, Physics, Math up the wazoo, Orbital mechanics, Vector Statics and Dynamics,Chem, etc....  But does passing the Mechanical PE qualify me to practice Mechanical Engineering?  Machine Design? HVAC/R engineering?  Equally absurd.

I later went back into Electrical, but that's another story.  I think this dead horse, as over-flogged as it is, is a discipline specific issue representing the hubris of a portion of the engineering field at the expense of a huge portion of the Engineering world wherein the PE is irrelevant.  
JLSeagull (Electrical)
19 Feb 09 14:36
I already see a star.  The subject has been flogged.  However, several discipline national exams include options primary emphasis selection.  Perhaps mechanical has an aerospace corp.  I have not checked.

As suggested in the original post and the replies from the beginning, the law in many states prohibits a person representing herself as an engineer without being a registered or licensed professional engineer.  That does not only mean passing the exam.  It also means $ending a check to the $tate general refunue fund$.
Helpful Member!  BrunoPuntzJones (Materials)
24 Feb 09 15:33
EEJaime's point is exactly why I did not pursue licensure.  When I graduated I looked at the tests offered and none of them had much at all to do with what I had studied (or with the field I was going into).  What would be the point of me taking the exam?  
JLSeagull (Electrical)
24 Feb 09 15:52
Just like an engineering degree, PE registration opens potential job opportunities that otherwise may be closed.
Mr168 (Materials)
24 Feb 09 16:37
Despite me falling under one of those Texas exemptions, we received a company-wide e-mail the other day asking all engineering staff who did not have a P.E. to refer only to their engineering department, and not their title, in their e-mail signatures.

What may be good enough for Texas, is not good enough for some companies apparently.
Helpful Member!(3)  rbulsara (Electrical)
25 Feb 09 6:53
I posted this in another thread:

Do not confuse a "License" with a "Degree".

PE is a 'License" - a statutory requirement. Not much different than a driving license. You need that to legally practice your profession meaning charging general public (clients) for your services. It meets min. qualification. It is does not make you better or worse than others, but does give you legal permission and some protection.

Just like getting a driving license does not make you a better driver but testifies that you do qualify. So ranting about how good A driver one is without a license does not get him too far with a police officer pulling him over.

After all you won't take an experienced medical assistant as a qualified doctor, would you? Although there can be a terrible doctor with medical degrees and registrations.

Engineers working in exempt industries are protected by their companies who do need to meet minimum standards for whatever they are making. There are inherent checks and balances there. While a lone PE can decide to design a electrical system for a building, and he alone may be responsible to check his own work and then own up to it. It is for those that a statutory registration and licensing is necessary, like for any other professional practices.

Having said that ones with PEs do get paid more than non-PEs, all other things being equal. If you are in such a field, it pays to get licensed/registered.
vc66 (Mechanical)
25 Feb 09 9:21

One hole in your argument.

The non-licensed drive didn't spend four years attending, and graduating from an accredited (driving) university.

The engineer did.


vc66 (Mechanical)
25 Feb 09 9:22
Non-licensed drive(r)


ewh (Aerospace)
25 Feb 09 9:50
I don't think that is really a hole in rbulsara's analogy; regardless of how long you have to study, both require passing a test.  It is just an analogy, after all.


"Good to know you got shoes to wear when you find the floor." - Robert Hunter

drawoh (Mechanical) (OP)
25 Feb 09 14:03

   Maybe the non-licensed driver has spent four years in driver training.

   A license means that you meet or exceed a minimum standard.  It says nothing about how far the licensee exceeds the standard, and it says nothing about the people who have not applied for the license.

   I do not think there is a hole in rbulsara's reasoning.


vc66 (Mechanical)
25 Feb 09 14:26
What I'm basically trying to say, in regards to his analogy is that it'd be like saying someone spent X number of years in school learning how to drive, passed all their individual driving courses, then graduated with a degree in driving, but they're not able to call themselves a driver.

This makes no sense to me. It makes sense to me that they cannot call themselves a Professional Driver (as a title), because they have not passed the Professional Drivers test, but to say that they're not a driver at all is absurd, in my opinion.

I do agree with ewh that it's beating a dead horse, and I will admit it's a little bit of a sore spot with me, so I may just be daft to rbulsara's argument.


rbulsara (Electrical)
25 Feb 09 15:15
I still stand by my analogy and the assessment. It does not matter what you did to acquire the skill. You still need a "License" to legally "practice" your trade. Working under supervision of someone else does not equate to "practice".

PE Licensing is a Statutory requirement not a technical. If you have a degree and experience you can say you are an engineer (as far as I am concerned), you just can't "practice" as an Engineer to provide public service!

Even if the "driver" had spent 20 years learning or driving for president of Timbuktu, he still needs a license to drive around (at least in the USA, for which he needs to pass requisite tests.

rbulsara (Electrical)
25 Feb 09 15:19
Oh, forgot to thank ewh and drawoh. Good to have someone agreeing once in a while!!
vc66 (Mechanical)
25 Feb 09 15:31
Oddly enough, we agree to a certain extent, rbulsara.

As I said, it's a bit of a sore spot, so I apologize if I misconstrued your argument the first time I read it.


rbulsara (Electrical)
25 Feb 09 16:03
No need for apology! Discussion is what this forum is about. Plus my views apply to USA residents only.

drawoh (Mechanical) (OP)
25 Feb 09 17:00

   There an the old medical joke.

   What do you call the dumbest person to graduate from medical school?


ewh (Aerospace)
25 Feb 09 17:11
I agree with the analogy, but still understand and agree with vc66's frustration, and like the introduction of a "professional" driver aspect to it.

"Good to know you got shoes to wear when you find the floor." - Robert Hunter

rbulsara (Electrical)
25 Feb 09 18:33
I think we all agree on the "professional" part. And as I said I personally believe there is nothing wrong with qualified degreed engineer to call themselves engineers. Just not Professional and they cannot go around offering their services to public.

Apakrat (Civil/Environmental)
25 Feb 09 21:40

After dedicating the time, doing special studies and training, then passing all the tests, does not mean a Licensed Professional Driver has the ability or courage to safely drive an 80 ton big rig in the 60+ mph erratic traffic flows on downtown Dallas freeways.

At 74th year working on IR-One2 PhD from UHK  - - -

IRstuff (Aerospace)
26 Feb 09 0:30
That's true of engineers as well, I would think.  

However, a truck driver requires an additional bit of licensing, so I, with my standard license, would be breaking the law driving a big rig, regardless of my skill or training.


FAQ731-376: Forum Policies

JLSeagull (Electrical)
26 Feb 09 7:52
"...I said I personally believe there is nothing wrong with qualified degreed engineer to call themselves engineers".

(In my best Bill Clinton impersonation) I feel rbulsara's pain.

I have worked with several licensed engineers who seemed to be incompetent; and several non degreed engineers who were well qualified.  If I were a degreed engineer I would expect to use "engineer" as a title.

The purpose of the license is to assure a minimum standard of competency with an emphasis on safety.  Disfortunamete, some states have administrative statutes that do not permit a degreed engineer to hold herself out to be an engineer unless licensed.  Start the process.
rbulsara (Electrical)
26 Feb 09 10:05
I am in no pain. I have very clear understanding of the purpose and process of PE licensing in the USA. I also believe that that process in Unites States is very fair and logical.

Even when I landed from a foreign country here 21 years ago, and first time I learned about the process, I had no confusion or qualms.

Only complaint I have is PE Lic. renewal fees in my own state, CT which probably is the highest in the country.

JAE (Structural)
26 Feb 09 14:05
How much are they?

Texas is up to $270 per year.
rbulsara (Electrical)
26 Feb 09 14:23
ah TX just beats it then, $225. Compare that to like $20 ?? in OH.
garpe (Structural)
4 Mar 09 3:40
NO. I have real problem with someone calling themselves an "Engineer" when they have not a passed a test based on minimum proficiency requirements. Lets get professional guys, no one is going to give us more respect than we have for ourselves. My brother couldn't call himself "M.D." without passing a bunch of tests and going school forever. I feel that no one should be able to call himself an Engineer unless he has passed the EIT and the FE exams.

Greg Robinson

GregLocock (Automotive)
4 Mar 09 5:34
Oh dear.

Sadly we were calling ourselves engineers, and designing useful things, long before (US) state based trades unions appropriated the term.

You are, of course, welcome to invent a new term for yourselves. I could give you a suggestion or two.



Greg Locock

SIG:Please see FAQ731-376: Forum Policies for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

JLSeagull (Electrical)
4 Mar 09 7:23
The "commissioning engineers" that I met overseas - offshore had been construction craft technicians promoted to "engineer" without any degree.
Helpful Member!  MacGyverS2000 (Electrical)
4 Mar 09 8:02

I did pass a bunch of tests... at University!  I passed them week in and week out, which is why Purdue felt fit to offer me a degree in Electrical Engineering.  As far as I'm concerned, I'm an engineer, it's some politician-slanted engineer-wanna-be somewhere that decided I needed to pass even more tests to "properly" use the term "Professional Engineer".  I'm an EE, and I have sense enough not to try and design a bridge, but I shouldn't be looked upon as highly as someone who holds a PE?  Why?  So he passed another test, but he didn't necessarily take any more schooling or learn anything new for it.  I can understand a PhD being looked upon with more respect than some like me with only an MS... the PhD took more classes than me, he has done more research than me, he has learned more than me!  But I simply cannot accept an MS who took one more exam (the PE) to be more respectable than any other MS... it's silly.

Dan - Owner

TheTick (Mechanical)
4 Mar 09 9:55
Here's another quiz for you...

What are the requirements to sit for the PE in your state?

Can you sit for the PE with zero experience?

Can you sit for the PE with zero recommendations from other PEs?

When you and your peers took tests in college, did you have appropriate experience to put your new knowledge into appropriate context to practice engineering in a meaningful way?
vc66 (Mechanical)
4 Mar 09 10:00

You're right... we better tear down all those bridges built in the US before 1900 because they weren't built by PE's; therefore they must be faulty.

Is it cold and lonely up there on your pedestal?


Helpful Member!  steve1 (Structural)
4 Mar 09 10:21
Some random comments:

The difference between a PE and a non PE is legal liability. The PE has someting to lose (his/her PE license)if there is a problem.

State licensing boards routinely discipline engineers. Who does that to non PE's?

The PE has to abide by an ethical code. What ethical code do non PE's subscribe to?

The building codes list responsibilties for the "design professional". It does not list responsibilities for unlicensed designers.

The mere act of affixing one's seal to a document causes most PE's to reflect on the responsibilty associated with that act.

Most PE's have never said, "I'm not the engineer. I didn't stamp the drawings. Don't blame me".
FeX32 (Mechanical)
4 Mar 09 10:46
Interesting comments.
Here is something to add.
When I graduated I went through what we call "The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer" aka. "Iron ring ceremony".
Whereby, we swore an oath based on ethics to serve the public to the best of our abilities ethically (to put it simply).
I believe we all try to use our abilities to best serve society in a good way. But, does this really mean that we are able to without proper experience? I guess this is another story.



JLSeagull (Electrical)
4 Mar 09 11:21
Have you ever seen a resume' reflecting something like BSEE from a diploma mill?  I have.

Texas enacted the Texas Engineering Practice Act after the New London school explosion in 1937.  The explosion was not the fault of a degreed engineer.  Texas was not the first state to license engineers.  However, many states enact such laws to protect the citizens from incompetent engineers.
JAE (Structural)
4 Mar 09 11:26


But I simply cannot accept an MS who took one more exam (the PE) to be more respectable than any other MS... it's silly.

Now who's really being silly here.  I agree with TheTick on this one.

Just because you came out of university with a degree does not make you an engineer.  Most all on this site would agree that most of us coming out of college possesed a great box of tools but had little idea how to apply them to real world problems.  

The making of an engineer is not the degree, but the experience under an experienced engineer.  The degree just provides the basic foundation.

I agree that there are many....many...good folks who perhaps don't have a degree, haven't passed a PE exam, etc. that are damn good designers, techs,...or I'll go on to say "engineers".

I've seen a lot of folks practicing engineering with and without the PE exam that are downright ignorant of basic engineering concepts and are dangerous to the public.  So I see no problem with a government making an attempt to filter out some (never all of them of course) less-than-competent individuals.  It's not a perfect filter, but its better than nothing.

MacGyverS2000 (Electrical)
4 Mar 09 11:38

Quote (TheTick):

What are the requirements to sit for the PE in your state?

Can you sit for the PE with zero experience?

Can you sit for the PE with zero recommendations from other PEs?

When you and your peers took tests in college, did you have appropriate experience to put your new knowledge into appropriate context to practice engineering in a meaningful way?
Here's one for you:

Two engineers graduate from the same school, same class, and work in the same department at the same company for 10 years.  They learn roughly the same things and work on the same types of projects.  One decides to sit for the PE exam, one doesn't.  They both apply for the same position at a new company.  Shall we take a guess as to who will be hired?

They are both obviously very qualified individuals who have plenty of experience (practically the same, mind you), but the PE will win out almost every time.  Why?  Because he took a test, not because he's any better.

I'm also not a fan of the apparent boys club that's created when a current PE has to vouch for another wishing to become one.  What if the new guy is just a complete arsehole with no people skills?  He's probably not going to get too many current PEs backing him up, but he may be a damn fine engineer, one now stuck with no one to back him.

While I will concede the PE test shows a minimum level of capability, couldn't one easily argue that's what a university degree does?  But PEs have to pay yearly dues and license fees to get/keep their license, again with no guaranteed capabilities beyond those of a university student with experience.  That smacks of organized extortion by the state.  "Don't pay us protection fees and you're out of business, buddy."

Dan - Owner

MacGyverS2000 (Electrical)
4 Mar 09 11:39

I didn't mean to suggest a green grad with no work experience... sorry about that...

Dan - Owner

JAE (Structural)
4 Mar 09 11:46

You make good points - but I think one difference in education vs. PE exam is that the PE exam is testing for different things.  At least all the 4 exams I've taken (PE, SE-1, SE-2) have tested for application of engineering principles while all the university exams were testing for understanding of principles.

As for references (good-ole-boy club), exams (imperfect filters), and government review boards (occasional unequal treatment between applicants), I think I'd agree that there is a level of "silliness" to use your term in it all.

But I think despite all that, as an engineer, I'd prefer to try to filter out some of the weeds to maximize the wheat.

Winston Churchill once said that democracy was the worst form of government....except for all the other forms.  I think PE exams are similar - they are perhaps the worst way to determine if someone is an engineer...except for all the other ways to verify qualifications.

TheTick (Mechanical)
4 Mar 09 11:52
My main point is that anyone who spews that the PE is just another exam is ignoring the fact that one must first qualify to take the exam.  Qualifications in most states consist of education, relevant experience, and references.

My only qualifications to get into engineering school were a high school diploma, a good SAT score and a check.
jsummerfield (Electrical)
4 Mar 09 11:58
I cannot open an internet site for Purdue, Texas Tech or MIT and verify that you are an engineering graduate in good standing.  However, many states post a roster of all engineers licensed in that state.


rbulsara (Electrical)
4 Mar 09 13:26
Anyone who is in doubt as to what a PE licensing entails, go to or website of a stated licensing board and print out its application form and see what relevant data and references are required.

As many said before it is much more than just an exam and educational credentials.

To name a few, it requires:
Transcript directly from the educational institution.
Evaluation of credit if not from an accredited institution.
References from past employers, all of them unless you have a good reason not to have it.
References of at least five (5) PEs who knows you and your character.
Details of type of work you have done.
Some states requires samples of your work.
Continuing education and professional development to be able to renew the licenses

Plus passing the exams and even oral interview in some states.

Therefore, besides the statutory requirement to register to "practice", a PE license is a much more powerful credential to employer or prospective employers that they need not verify from other means.

EddyC (Mechanical)
4 Mar 09 15:54
Within the confines of your employer's office, if you are doing engineering, you are an engineer (with or without a PE). The title, as regulated by the various states, applies when you are out in public, or offering your services directly to the public. Remember that most of us are employees who are working for established companies, either PE exempt or with Certificates of Authorization, if not exempt. Under such working conditions, you are not required to be licensed. That covers about 95% of us. (Speaking as a USA resident)
garpe (Structural)
4 Mar 09 16:32
I'm not on my pedestal, maybe a soap box. It's true that we have become over-regulated because the states and the various boards seem to have nothing better to do. If I seal something in FL I have to make sure that specific, state approved text is near my seal stating that my drawings comply with the FL building codes. How stupid can you get???
But we live in a different world than 100 years ago. Engineers were among the most educated citizens. There was a self-screening affect. I don't doubt that the the engineers of the past, like Roebling, could have blown away the current exams. Today engineering is treated as a commodity and we have let it happen.
I am not a commodity, I am a qualified professional with specialized knowledge. I doubt if the attorneys or doctors have similar arguments. If you practice law or medicine in any setting, corporate or individual, you have to pass exams based on minimum qualifications. I gotta get back to work.
Helpful Member!(4)  BRGENG (Structural)
7 Mar 09 22:59
I think we can all agree that we know people with engineering degrees that may be better engineers than people how have passed the PE exam.  But only one of them is a Licensed PE and in most if not all states can call themselves an Engineer.  

Even though they above is true I am so tired of people calling themselves Engineer's that did not pass the test.  If you think your good enough to be called an Engineer then sign up and take the test.  If not you can just use EIT after your name assuming you passed that exam.
FeX32 (Mechanical)
7 Mar 09 23:40

cannon      wiggle


MacGyverS2000 (Electrical)
8 Mar 09 8:29

Quote (BRGENG):

Even though they above is true I am so tired of people calling themselves Engineer's that did not pass the test.  If you think your good enough to be called an Engineer then sign up and take the test.
Isn't that like saying "Why do you care if the government reads your mail or tracks your every movement... if you aren't guilty, you have nothing to hide, right?"  If an employee of mine came to work with that arrogant of an attitude that he was better than me because he took a test, I'd boot him on his ear as early as convenient.  God knows how he's treating my customers who don't have a PE but still need our advice.

Dan - Owner

steve1 (Structural)
8 Mar 09 11:08
In the end it really doesn't matter what you or I think. It's what the law requires that counts.

Currently structural engineers and other "design professionals" have specific, code mandated responsibilities that can only be accomplished by "Professional Engineers". During my career I have see this PE requirement expanded and I suspect that it will continue to do so. I would advise any engineer to obtain their PE as sooner or later they will need it to advance to the level where they are reconized by the authority having juristriction.

Numerours engineers work in fields where the building code and its PE requirements are not normally applicable. Are those people engineers-yes. Are they professional engineers as regulated by the various states-no.

Problems arise when those who work in industries that are not normally required to "stamp their work" provide products or services to those projects that are under control of the building code.

I don't have a solution so I guess I'l just end this.

rbulsara (Electrical)
8 Mar 09 18:23

1. How did  you reach a conclusion as to anyone saying PEs are better than you? or for that matter how did you decide your are better than anyone else?. PE licensing is not for proving anyone better than others. It is a matter of obtaining a "permit" required by law to allow you to "practice". You can have Masters and PhDs, you still require the permit or the license.

2. What is the relationship between a PE licensing and  the privacy rights? as you are tying to relate in your last post?
MacGyverS2000 (Electrical)
8 Mar 09 19:41

Quote (rbulsara):

How did  you reach a conclusion as to anyone saying PEs are better than you?
Read BRGENG's quote... that pretty much states I'm not as good as someone who has taken the PE exam.  I'm not good enough unless I take the exam?  Poppycock...

Quote (rbulsara):

What is the relationship between a PE licensing and  the privacy rights? as you are tying to relate in your last post?
Arguably not the best of analogies, but I doubt you honestly thought I was trying to make that comparison.  The point was people believing they're better than others simply because the others haven't taken a test to prove it is illogical and smacks of elitism.

Dan - Owner

rbulsara (Electrical)
9 Mar 09 7:19

The bottom line, the respect is not something you can demand, it needs to be earned. Just having degrees does not earn you respect. Look around the most admired people in the world and compare their credentials.

Whether or not you like it, it is 'YOUR' perception that PE's are give more credence, perhaps you should trust your own conclusion. None of us PEs here demanded or conspired to get that respect. Over the years, mostly due to the good work of many before us, PEs may have gotten the recognition and it may be well deserving. If it is not, overtime it will fade away.

No one is forcing you to get the PE license, if you do not need one it is perfectly all right. Why are you trying to belittle someone having a license that you do not want or need?

MacGyverS2000 (Electrical)
9 Mar 09 7:31

Quote (rbulsara):

No one is forcing you to get the PE license, if you do not need one it is perfectly all right. Why are you trying to belittle someone having a license that you do not want or need?
I'm not trying to belittle someone who gets one, I'm taking offense to those who feel I shouldn't use the term "Engineer" simply because I haven't taken a test.  I worked hard in school and I work hard in my career... to tell me I can't label myself an Engineer because of that seems arrogant.

Dan - Owner

rbulsara (Electrical)
9 Mar 09 7:47
You can call yourself engineer (in most states in the USA) and even work as an engineer in a company or under someone else' technical supervision, you just can't practice as a professional on your own and it is a law. I  hope you understand the difference.

If you do not have a PE but your colleagues do, you should not complain about 10% pay difference either.  
IRstuff (Aerospace)
9 Mar 09 15:14
The only reason there is a pay differential is because the majority of the 1.5 million engineers in the US are NOT licensed.


FAQ731-376: Forum Policies

Helpful Member!  swearingen (Civil/Environmental)
9 Mar 09 16:37
I disagree with you, mcgyvers2000.  

How many hard working nurses with tons of experience, extra schooling, and practical knowledge can run circles around a newly minted doctor?  I'll bet more than you can comprehend.

Can they call themselves doctors?  

How many "legal professionals" that have been working in the business for years, preparing for cases, learning the law and taking extra classes can whip a wet-behind-the-ears lawyer?  Again, I'll bet more than you know.

Can they call themselves lawyers?

I know those two examples are stretches, but what about this one:  Can a person who has taken all of the classes, passed them, done the dissertation, but failed to show up for the defence call himself/herself a PhD?

Naturally, the answer is no to all three.  Unfortunately, it is NOT a question of your actual abilities relative to others that have the title.  It is a quesion of whether you have earned the title.  Part of earning that title, legally, is completing the list of items rbulsara outlined earlier, one of which is a test.  You can call it elitism, or anything you want - but in most states, I can legally hang a shingle outside my house and offer engineering services and you can't.  This doesn't mean you are not adept at engineering or are less endowed between the legs.  It just means you're not able to legally represent yourself to be an engineer, just as my examples above can't call themselves doctors, lawyers or PhDs.

If you "heard" it on the internet, it's guilty until proven innocent. - DCS

IRstuff (Aerospace)
9 Mar 09 17:35
6747. Exemption for industries
(a) This chapter, except for those provisions that apply to civil engineers and civil engineering, shall not apply to the performance of engineering work by a manufacturing, mining, public utility, research and development, or other industrial corporation, or by employees of that corporation, provided that work is in connection with, or incidental to, the products, systems, or services of that corporation or its affiliates.
(b) For purposes of this section, "employees" also includes consultants, temporary employees, contract employees, and those persons hired pursuant to third-party contracts.

Employees of industrial companies that are otherwise qualified ARE ENGINEERS per this exemption in the California Professional Engineers Act.


FAQ731-376: Forum Policies

swearingen (Civil/Environmental)
10 Mar 09 6:56
Actually, the applicable portion of the Professional Engineers Act of California is "6701. Professional engineer defined":

"'Professional engineer,' within the meaning and intent of this act, refers to a person engaged in the professional practice of rendering service or creative work requiring education, training and experience in engineering sciences and the application of special knowledge of the mathematical, physical and engineering sciences in such professional or creative work as consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning or design of public or private utilities, structures, machines, processes, circuits, buildings, equipment or projects, and supervision of construction for the purpose of securing compliance with specifications and design for any such work."

WOOHOO!  I just learned that I am a Professional engineer in the state of California!  Of course, apparently so is every other hack with a degree and a couple of years under his or her belt.  It seems Cali's law is a little loose...

Louisiana state law, Chapter 8, 37:682. Definitions, (4):

"'Engineer' or 'professional engineer' shall mean an individual who, by reason of his special knowledge and ability to apply the mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences and the principles and methods of engineering analysis and design, acquired by an engineering education and engineering experience, is qualified to practice engineering, AS EVIDENCED BY HIS LICENSURE AS SUCH BY THE BOARD." <emphasis mine>

It is my understanding that most states (as I stated in my previous post) follow this definition.  I'm going to personally look into it, though...

If you "heard" it on the internet, it's guilty until proven innocent. - DCS

swearingen (Civil/Environmental)
10 Mar 09 14:44
Checking back after looking into it a little...

I did a half lap of the peripheral states just to do a comparison and here's what I came up with:

Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Arizona, and Oregon, like Louisiana, define an engineer as one that must be registered in that state.

New Mexico, Washington, and Idaho define an engineer the way California does, but then they also define a Professional engineer as one that must be registered in that state.

It clearly depends on where you are, but we're at a 2 to 1 ratio so far...

If you "heard" it on the internet, it's guilty until proven innocent. - DCS

IRstuff (Aerospace)
10 Mar 09 14:57
And, if you read down to 6747 in the California code, engineers in industrial corporations are exempt from the licensure requirements, except for civil engineers, which means that everything I have on my business card is legal.


FAQ731-376: Forum Policies

BRGENG (Structural)
10 Mar 09 23:46
Maybe I should clarify my post since some are having a hard time with it.  Can you call yourself an Engineer if you have not passed the P.E. exam? Yes, I think we all call ourselves Engineer's after we graduate.  

Can you call yourself a Professional Engineer (or Registered Engineer) if you have not passed the P.E. exam?  No, at least not in any State I do business.  

Does pass the P.E. make you a better Engineer?  No.  I've seen idiots pass and great engineer's fail.

I never thought once about not taking the P.E. exam and becoming a licensed Engineer.  Why do so many not do it in the industrial field?  What is the down side?  All I can see is a positive.  

Why do many Engineers not want to protect the term "Engineer".  Does not seeing "sanitary engineer" or "sales engineer" or "network engineer" not piss you off.  Do you not care about our profession or want it to be a licensed profession?  

I see all these posts about "How can we increase are fees?".  The first step is to regulate our profession so not just anyone can call themselves and engineer and dilute the meaning of our Profession.  By no means are Engineer's viewed the same today as we once were in the past.  I don't think this is because of degreed Engineer's not taking an exam but by all of us not standing up to non-engineer's using Engineer in their title's or business names.  I applaud States that require a P.E. to be on staff to use Architect or Engineer in their name or to offer those services.

Hopefully I have stated that clearly enough that having passed a PE doesn't make you a better Engineer.  

Mac2000, the difference between me having a P.E. and you not having a P.E. is legally I can do everything you do.  Legally, you can not do everything I do.  Before you say that I can't do Electrical design because I am a Structural guy just remember that I also have a EE degree and passed the EE exam, CE exam, SE1 and 2 exam.  Being proud that you are a licensed Engineer does not make you arrogant.  No more than you are a better Engineer because you passed the P.E. exam.  
swearingen (Civil/Environmental)
11 Mar 09 6:37
IRstuff -

Unless you offered your services to the public...

I think BRGENG summed it up the best - star for you.

If you "heard" it on the internet, it's guilty until proven innocent. - DCS

vc66 (Mechanical)
11 Mar 09 8:51

Good Synopsis.

I agree with everything you said.

Star for you.


IRstuff (Aerospace)
11 Mar 09 9:27


Why do many Engineers not want to protect the term "Engineer".  Does not seeing "sanitary engineer" or "sales engineer" or "network engineer" not piss you off.  Do you not care about our profession or want it to be a licensed profession?  

The current US laws do not restrict such usage, so it machts nichts.  I don't see that licensing every engineer makes much sense, since there are probably 3 million engineers that have never had to stamp a drawing in their careers.


I see all these posts about "How can we increase are fees?".  The first step is to regulate our profession so not just anyone can call themselves and engineer and dilute the meaning of our Profession.  By no means are Engineer's viewed the same today as we once were in the past.  I don't think this is because of degreed Engineer's not taking an exam but by all of us not standing up to non-engineer's using Engineer in their title's or business names.  I applaud States that require a P.E. to be on staff to use Architect or Engineer in their name or to offer those services.

I don't see the argument here.  A "sanitation engineer" isn't competing for your fees, so that has no bearing on the subject.  Again, if every engineer were licensed, your fees would go DOWN, not UP, because every engineer who currently has industrial exemption would be able to compete against you.  The reason doctors make money is not because of licensing; it's because of scarcity.  There are not enough doctors to go around.  There's a 2x salary differential for doctors in Kansas vs. Los Angeles precisely because of scarcity.  Licensing more engineers reduces scarcity and will drive DOWN fees.


FAQ731-376: Forum Policies

BRGENG (Structural)
11 Mar 09 22:38
The reasons Doctors make more money is because they don't have an Architect shopping their fees.  They are not a sub consultant to the owner.  They don't negotiate their fees.

The majority of engineer's make a good living, the majority of industrial engineer's work for a company where some MBA sets their salary.  Many MEP and Structural Engineer's contract through Architects who look for the lowest bid because it increases their profits.  Are bridge projects are very profitable because we don't have an Architect trying to keep 80% of the fee.  Our Civil projects are very profitable.  Our specialty structural projects are extremely profitable because not very many people can do it.  Our typical building projects are not profitable because we compete with one man shops working out of their basement and care less about our industry by charging rates well below what we should be paid.

Have you ever gone to a Doctor and ask him what he charges per hour?  Have you ever sent 3 doctors proposals for your surgery and selected the low bid?  I would guess no to all of these questions.  You probably find the best Doctor for your case and let him do his thing.   I've never heard of someone telling a doctor, hey I would really like you to do my heart surgery but this other guy can do it for 20% less.  Can you match his fee?

Doctor's still have respect that many Engineering Professions have lost.  Because they have protected their profession, because they require everyone to be licensed and because they as a group have marketed better than engineers.  

My office only employees PE with Master Degrees or Higher.  Clients never have to worry about an Intern designing their building.  We have high standards and we have high fees.  But our clients pay these because they know they have an expert, they will never have a call end with "Let me check with the Engineer of record and call you back", at a jobsite our guys have final say and don't have to check in, and more importantly our clients don't have headaches when they hire us.  

Would you use a Doctor that has a degree but was never licensed or a lawyer that could not pass the bar exam?  Why use an engineer that is not licensed?
IRstuff (Aerospace)
11 Mar 09 23:48
As for titles, there are Rug Doctors, Pool Doctors, and Car Doctors.  Are these guys licensed?



FAQ731-376: Forum Policies

steve1 (Structural)
12 Mar 09 7:20
I've gone back and reread this thread from the beginning. This is what I learned.

PE's think everyone should get their license.

Non PE's think that licenses are not necessary.

As a PE I have come to the conclusion that it's time to end the industrial exemption, or as a minimum tighten up the rules concerning this exemption as to many people are using this rule to avoid taking the PE exam.
TheTick (Mechanical)
12 Mar 09 8:31

Quote (steve1):

PE's think everyone should get their license.

Non PE's think that licenses are not necessary.

As with most sweeping generalizations, this one is wrong.
ewh (Aerospace)
12 Mar 09 8:46
The doctor comparison is a red herring.  Doctors require doctorate degrees, not bachelor degrees.
Then the same fallacious arguments appear; would you let a doctor of philosophy remove your appendix?  Does a doctor of chemistry deserve to be called "doctor"?   

"Good to know you got shoes to wear when you find the floor." - Robert Hunter

steve1 (Structural)
12 Mar 09 10:03
I based my comments on what was posted on this subject. I did not find a single post that was contrary to my "sweeping generalizations". I stand by my conclusions. I guess that this is the classic "failure to communicate" situation.

TheTick (Mechanical)
12 Mar 09 10:26
I am not a PE.  I have never said licenses are not necessary.
EddyC (Mechanical)
12 Mar 09 10:41
The case of the person identified in the OP is not clear cut. He is working as an expert consultant rather than a temporary worker. By the letter of many state laws, he would have to be licensed. However, the industries that he serves are mostly manufacturing. Manufacturing is international in nature and not state specific, like a building or piece of infrastructure. As such, it is not really feasible for someone in such an industry to pursue state licensure. California, for example, has recognized this situation and grants license exemption to those who consult in regard to manufactured products. Most likely other states have lagged behind on this issue and their laws are "behind the times". But in any event, licensure is legally only required for a small percentage of engineers. Others (like myself) get it as a credential.

BRGENG, Your view of medicine is from a generation ago. Insurance companies (and business type doctors/administrators) have made the lives of regular doctors a nightmare. After the war stories I have heard from doctor friends, I have concluded that engineers (PE or not) are far more professional than folks in the medical field.
Timelord (Mechanical)
12 Mar 09 10:51

How about me.  I passed the P.E. exam and carried a license for years.  I let it lapse after a couple of decades because I never used it once and the renewal fees just kept growing.  Am I an engineer?  I call myself one and every time I apply for a job, I hold myself out to be an engineer to the community.  My business card says engineer and when asked, I tell people "I am an engineer."  I guess I don't fit your generalization because I don't see the necessity for a license if you never are required to stamp anything.

JLSeagull (Electrical)
12 Mar 09 11:19
What state Timelord?  The legal issues are state law dependent.
zdas04 (Mechanical)
12 Mar 09 11:34
While waiting for a document (that coincidentally requires a PE stamp) to print, I just read this thread from top to bottom and I have some generalizations:
  • Everyone actively participating in the discussion holds essentially the same opinions at the end of the thread as they held at the beginning.
  • The closest I've found to dialog is someone rips a phrase out of context into a quote-box and attacks it
  • The horse really was dead 85 posts ago

  • I just wish that people this passionate about licensure would get actively involved with NCEES and try to get some of their dearly-held beliefs incorporated into the process instead of bitching to the choir.

    BrunoPuntzJones (Materials)
    12 Mar 09 12:14
    In an attempt to say something productive, I will asnwer a question asked  by BRGENG a few posts back:

    "I never thought once about not taking the P.E. exam and becoming a licensed Engineer.  Why do so many not do it in the industrial field?  What is the down side?  All I can see is a positive."

    The downsides I see:

    -It costs money.
    -I have never worked with an engineer in my field who had a PE.
    -Given the last point, how am I supposed to complete the "apprenticeship" portion of the licensure requirement?
    -Would I be exposing myself to any additional liability if I were registered(this one I don't know, but it seems to me it [should][/i] be true)?

    And (for my situation only) I don't see a single positive.

    Just for the record, I think the PE is completely necessary and seems to function well for some engineering fields (particularly anything related to buildings).  And I absolutely agree that (since I am not licensed) I am not a Professional Engineer.  But I am an engineer.

    Give me a licensing process that is applicable to my field and accepted by my peers and I will gladly participate.   
    steve1 (Structural)
    12 Mar 09 12:42
    Can someone forward this discussion to NCEES and NSPE?
    drawoh (Mechanical) (OP)
    12 Mar 09 12:55

       The term "Professional Engineer", and the acronyms "PE", and "PEng" are legally protected.  Is it really necessary to protect the term "Engineer" as well?


    IRstuff (Aerospace)
    12 Mar 09 12:59
    > I don't object to the current licensing requirements in California.

    > I do object to the insulting tone of certain posters who seem to think that a license is an end-all and be-all, and that non-licensed engineers are useless and incompetent.  

    > If fellow engineers continue to be disparaged for being non-licensed, then this argument will continue ad naseum, as it does, once a year or so, and there will never be a resolution.


    FAQ731-376: Forum Policies

    TheTick (Mechanical)
    12 Mar 09 14:33


    I do object to the insulting tone of certain posters who seem to think that a license is an end-all and be-all, and that non-licensed engineers are useless and incompetent.


    If fellow engineers continue to be disparaged for being non-licensed, then this argument will continue ad naseum, as it does, once a year or so, and there will never be a resolution.
    Again, where?

    The majority of licensed PEs here seem to reflect the view that it is just a license, not a pedigree.  I can not recall a single PE saying I am less of an engineer because I do not have (or need) a PE.

    On the flip side, I perceive a great deal of unwarranted defensiveness and oversensitivity on the part of non-PEs who believe they are being looked down upon.  I just don't see it actually happening.
    EddyC (Mechanical)
    12 Mar 09 14:40
    One could argue that the modern legal system coupled with the development of sophisticated design codes has somewhat negated the reasons for the creation of engineering licensure.

    Many regular folks out in public also wonder why engineering licensure is necessary when non-PEs get us to the moon and beyond. After all, which is the greater technical accomplishment:

    The rocket designed by non-PEs or the launch pad designed by PEs?

    (I'm playing devil's advocate here.)
    steve1 (Structural)
    12 Mar 09 15:28
    The following quote is from NASA administrator Griffin

    "I appreciate the opportunity to speak to the ranks of my fellow engineers. As a Registered Professional Engineer myself, I have some idea of your commitment to this profession and to the discipline you have brought to it"
    vc66 (Mechanical)
    12 Mar 09 15:39
    Wow, an exception to the rule. How rare?


    MacGyverS2000 (Electrical)
    12 Mar 09 20:15
    quote TheTick]I can not recall a single PE saying I am less of an engineer because I do not have (or need) a PE.[/quote]

    Quote (BRGENG):

    Even though they above is true I am so tired of people calling themselves Engineer's that did not pass the test.  If you think your good enough to be called an Engineer then sign up and take the test.
    I don't know about you, but that bolded statement sure seems like someone telling me I'm not enough engineer until I can prove it with a test.

    Dan - Owner

    TheTick (Mechanical)
    12 Mar 09 20:48
    Yeah, that's one, maybe.  Machts nichts bei mir.  One blowhard isn't going to ruin my outlook.  It does not seem to reflect the opinion of the bulk of PEs.  It doesn't really even sum up his own opinion.

    Quote (BRGENG):

    Hopefully I have stated that clearly enough that having passed a PE doesn't make you a better Engineer.
    Read the whole text of his post from 10 Mar 09 23:46

    I think this thread makes a better case for the paranoia of non-PEs than for the arrogance of PEs.  It strikes me as a bit bizarre that an otherwise well-educated lot like engineers has so much trouble grasping the license vs. exempt thing.
    Ron (Structural)
    12 Mar 09 21:38


       The term "Professional Engineer", and the acronyms "PE", and "PEng" are legally protected.  Is it really necessary to protect the term "Engineer" as well?

    Yes.  The general public does not know the difference between "Engineer" and "Professional Engineer", so when someone who is not licensed uses the term "Engineer" they are banking on the fact that the public thinks that "Engineers" are smarter than non-engineers, so they exploit the term for financial gain.  I see it routinely, and many state boards fail to protect the engineering profession by letting it happen.
    BRGENG (Structural)
    12 Mar 09 22:33
    BrunoPuntzJones may have said it best.  "Give me a licensing process that is applicable to my field and accepted by my peers and I will gladly participate. "  

    Would it help the "exempt" engineers to have a PE exam that is more accurate to their profession?  A few years ago AE majors had a hard time getting licensed.  The Civil exam was difficult since they really only covered the Structural Engineering in school and the SE exam was difficult because they had no bridge experience.  So NCEES developed the PE Architectural exam that is geared towards an AE.  

    Should a similar test be offered for other fields?  Would "exempt" engineers take a test like this if offered?  Do "exempt" engineers even care if they are licensed?  

    Since I am licensed I have never looked into this so maybe the "exempt" engineers can answer this for me.  In most States to offer Engineering services you have to have a Certificate of Authorization (COA) to offer Engineering Services.  In every State that I am licensed in, you have to have a Licensed Engineer to obtain a COA.  I understand that many "exempt" engineers do designs for their own company and not outside consultants.  Let's use a Mechanical Engineer that designs a cam shaft.  If you work for Ford and design the part for Ford I guess you are considered "exempt".  But if you work for ACME Cam Shafts and design "Engineered" parts for Ford, Dodge and Chevy are you not offering Engineering Services and therefore require a COA?  

    I have many friends in the industrial field that are Engineers that never took the PE because they never had a boss that was a PS so they could not get the experience working under a PE required to sit for the exam.  Is this a big road block in not taking the PE exam?

    I do want to clarify to all Engineers, that when I was on the State Board we never fined a non licensed Engineer for practicing.  We did fine Architects and Licensed Engineers for offering or practicing Engineering work outside of there expertise and Contractors and Business for offering services when not licensed.  
    IRstuff (Aerospace)
    13 Mar 09 0:06
    The roadblock is simply that there is no benefit for those who work under the industrial exemption.  We have about 150 engineers, only one of which who had a license, since lapsed, simply because there is zero need for it in our business.

    re: COAs, not required in California, particularly since there is no PE exam for designing weapon systems.



    FAQ731-376: Forum Policies

    JLSeagull (Electrical)
    13 Mar 09 6:55
    Weapons engineers may write software, calculate forces, calculate electrical loads, etc.  Such engineering falls within the discipline examinations.  Suggest the Fundamentals of Engineering exam for recent grads and coop students nearing graduation even if you don't require registration.
    MacGyverS2000 (Electrical)
    13 Mar 09 7:39

    I've been known to play devil's advocate and stir the pot a little, see what rises to the top. ;)

    All of my above comments aside, I do understand the necessity of licensing, particularly when it comes to public safety.  If there were no rules, there would be no guideline to follow.

    Now, with that said, I'd appreciate some clarification of an example situation (I ask this one in particular as it seems to be a real and common scenario, but I cannot verify all of my "facts", which could very well be incorrect).  Let's say I'm writing the anti-lock brakes code for a new Jaguar (or autopilot for a new jumbo jet).  To pass muster, my code must follow the rules laid down by MISRA (or in the case of the jumbo jet, DO-178B Level A).  As far as I am aware, as long as my code passes the tests laid out by those specifications, my code is never signed off by a PE (or at least it's not required, as far as I can tell).  It's safety critical, so why isn't it illegal with no PE stamp?

    I'll look at answers to this one before I add any more to the discussion...

    Dan - Owner

    zdas04 (Mechanical)
    13 Mar 09 8:02
    I've often wondered about similar scenarios and I think the answer is inertia.  In the 1800's a bunch of civic structures were build with large doses of wishful thinking substituted for engineering.  People were hurt, some were killed.  Legislators saw this as a bad thing and started casting about for a way to find someone to punish.  They fell upon the idea that certain structures should be designed by people that the government had certified met certain minimum competence levels.  That led to the laws requiring PE stamps on certain things and defining the method of acquiring a PE stamp.

    In the early days of registration it was just for people designing bridges, dams, and buildings.  Just Civil/Structural types.  Later on some bright boy in the government had the idea that having other sorts of engineers demonstrate their minimum competence to the government would be a good thing, but they didn't have a clear idea of why that would be a good thing.  So you get ME's that never have to stamp anything because there is no legal requirement for the stamp on most things.

    Six years ago I started my business and never used my PE stamp on anything for the first 3 years.  Then the EPA changed the Spill Prevention Countermeasure Control (SPCC) regulations to require a PE stamp on the SPCC Plans.  Then New Mexico changed the surface waste management regulation to require a PE stamp on the overall design of an evaporation pond (much more than just the dikes and leak detection system).  I've read about a half dozen other reg changes that are adding PE requirements.  Today about 10% of my work in Oil & Gas requires a PE stamp.

    My guess is that over the next decade or so, the autopilot system will require a stamp.  Based on what I'm seeing on the Environmental side, I would expect it to be on the whole system that includes both the hardware, the connections to the airplane, and the software.  The HSSE juggernaut is going to overtake us all for good or ill.

    The regulators came up with a shiny hammer, now they're working to develop a set of nails to use it on.

    vc66 (Mechanical)
    13 Mar 09 8:51

    I would absolutely take a PE exam that was dedicated toward a field in which I work. Right now I work at a company that makes Ultra-high Vacuum chambers, and I used to work for a few medical device manufacturers; both exempt industries.

    My main annoyance is that in order to call myself a Professional Engineer (which literally means an engineer who makes money doing engineering work, which I contend I do on a daily basis anyway), I have to learn a bunch of codes and standards for work that I would (probably) never do. This bothers me because if I'm good at what I do (in that exempt industry), why shouldn't I be able to start my own (consulting) business, and advise other people/companies about the engineering that I do well? Why should I have to take a test which has nothing to do with my area of expertise?

    I fully understand the legal intent of licensing for the engineering profession, and I wouldn't complain if regulators forced all engineers to be licensed (and gave the proper training for it). I would hope then, that there would be a multitude of test areas in which one can find themselves a best fit.


    BrunoPuntzJones (Materials)
    13 Mar 09 11:50

    I am also work in the ultra-high vacuum field.  Maybe they need a vacuum engineering PE.
    vc66 (Mechanical)
    13 Mar 09 13:22

    I would most definitely take that.


    ShaggyPE (Mechanical)
    19 Mar 09 10:18
    For the mechanical PE with the depth in machine design, there really wasn't much (if at all) code related stuff.  I could see that being the case for thermo/fluids or hvac, but not machine design.  In machine design, there was a lot of strength of materials, a little dynamics.  It wasn't that bad.  I took a prep course and put in a lot of time studying.  I shelled out about $1500 for the exam, the class, and the books.  In the end, I would say it was worth it, I didn't need it for my job, I too work in medical.  I just did it 'cause I wanted it.  I don't know if I would do it in this current economy however... but I would recommend it to everyone.

    Professional Engineer
    Certified SolidWorks Professional
    Certified COSMOSWorks Designer Specialist
    Certified SolidWorks Advanced Sheet Metal Specialist

    vc66 (Mechanical)
    20 Mar 09 10:55
    Thanks, ShaggyPE. I definitely didn't realize that. I do plan on taking the PE test for a discipline as close as possible to my current situation, so I guess I'll consider the Machine Design depth.


    rbulsara (Electrical)
    23 Mar 09 13:47
    It is amazing and disappointing to see that many so called "smart" engineers cannot differentiate between a "licensing" for "professional practice" and the engineering skills/degrees. They are related but totally different things.

    One is required to assign "liabilities" while the other is a technical necessity. When you work for NASA, for example, NASA is liable for your goof ups. When you are on your own, you are the only one and that is where "licensing" is necessary so the state and people will know who to go after if needed.

    It is a altogether different matter that PE is seen as added qualifications whether or not legally required for your current situation. For that part, there is nothing you could do but complain. If you want to get compensated same as your PE colleagues, it is up to you to decide. If you are already making more, there is no need to complain!
    IRstuff (Aerospace)
    23 Mar 09 15:52
    You won't find me complaining, at least, not about my salary... winky smile

    I will complain about the perception that licensing will "fix" all the problems.  That, to me, is rather naive, and counter to historical evidence.

    Look at how racially delineated groups change their labels to avoid getting the stigma of the old label.  Yet, within 10 to 15 yrs, they're off looking for a new label, not realizing that the label is irrelevant, it's what the label is applied to that matters, and that can't even change, just like skin color or ethnicity.

    Even though Mr. Peabody has been on TV for nearly 20 yrs, but engineers and scientists are still Mr. Peabody's to the general populace, and that will never change, at least, not without a fundamental shift in educational and cultural priorities.


    FAQ731-376: Forum Policies

    HgTX (Civil/Environmental)
    23 Mar 09 16:55
    I see any kind of licensure, certification, etc. as a way of weeding out the very worst, but no guarantee of anything better than mediocrity.  If someone really can't pass the PE exam, there's a problem.  (Maybe a previously undiagnosed learning disability unrelated to their job performance, but some kind of problem at any rate.)  If someone did pass the PE exam, they're not necessarily a stellar engineer.

    I feel the same way about contractor certifications for various tasks.  We have a lot more trouble in areas where there is no certification available, but that doesn't mean we're trouble-free where certifications can be required.


    Eng-Tips policies:  FAQ731-376: Forum Policies

    Ron (Structural)
    23 Mar 09 19:52
    Hg...well said.  I agree completely.

    BRGENG (Structural)
    23 Mar 09 23:31
    It sounds as if many of the "exempt" engineers design part of a system but not the whole thing.  Like a piece for NASA or Ford or maybe a gear for a Maytag dryer.  I have a relative that does the same thing.  No degree, no schooling beyond High School, yet he regularly designs parts and methods to manufacture them for the same clients "exempt" engineers work for.  I would guess that he does the same type of work and probably for a smaller fee.  If a P.E. was required or at least an Engineering degree he would not be able to do this.  But since "exempt" engineers see no need for licensing the can share their workload with him.  Work that they spent $1000's in College tuition learning to do yet they don't seem to care and protect their profession to keep a high school graduate from doing their job.  

    Now I figure there are many more people like my relative in the "exempt" engineering industry.   I have yet to see a non-engineer sign and seal a set of plans.  

    I guess I shouldn't really care about the "exempt" portion of Engineering since they could never compete with me without getting their license first.  I can compete against them if I decided to do so.  Why not protect your profession and livelihood.  Is taking another test really that big of a deal.  Is it because when you started in your industry no one above you had a PE and therefore never pushed for you to get one.  I am really just curious why you wouldn't do it, besides the often heard " We don't need it, we are exempt".
    IRstuff (Aerospace)
    24 Mar 09 1:37
    So, why am I so interested in a job that a high-school grad can actually do that I force engineers to do these jobs?  From an economic perspective, why wouldn't I hire such a person to do that job under a PE's supervision and bill at the higher rate and pocket the difference?

    What sort of "protection" is that?  Frankly, if a high-school grad can actually do my job, then I'm really not doing much engineering, am I?  Or maybe that the true reason for proposing all this "protection" is to prevent the public from realizing that high-school grads could to these jobs, and there's really no good reason to pay our high salaries?

    It's rather ironic that many of the people who would spit on union shops seem to think that PE shops are a good thing.


    FAQ731-376: Forum Policies

    spongebob007 (Military)
    31 Mar 09 11:43
    "I can compete against them if I decided to do so."

    ...and you are kidding yourself if you actually believe your P.E. will some how give you an advantage or higher salary in an exempt industry.  

    Companies are not in the habit of simply throwing money at people just because they have some qualification that is not needed for the job.  In fact I could see instance where you would be passed over because the manager would see P.E. on your resume, and simply assume you would be looking for higher pay than a non P.E.  

    Sure it makes me angry that there are non-degreed folks out there using the title "Engineer" in exempt industries, but there really isn't much I can do about it.   What I did instead of getting the P.E., I went to graduate school.  This sets me apart from the unwashed masses, and, unlike the P.E., my Masters is something that has led to better job opportunities and higher pay.   A high school graduate couldn't do my job.

    It is my opinion that if we tried to force the P.E. requirement on exempt industries across the board that corporate America would not go down without a fight.  If we all had to be licensed, our companies would finally be forced to pay us what we are worth.  That would not sit well with too many greedy CEOs.
    IRstuff (Aerospace)
    31 Mar 09 14:03
    "If we all had to be licensed, our companies would finally be forced to pay us what we are worth"

    Yes, and you would be worth exactly the same, because all potential applicants for your job would have the identical qualification, thereby setting you no higher on the worth scale.

    As I have pointed out, the reason PE salaries are higher are specifically because there's a scarcity of PE's.  If everyone became a PE, the scarcity would disappear, and the salary differential, likewise.


    FAQ731-376: Forum Policies

    EddyC (Mechanical)
    31 Mar 09 14:12
    The reason that manufacturing companies have an exemption is because their products are sold worldwide. The PE would have to become international in nature to be applicable to a manufacturing company.
    spongebob007 (Military)
    31 Mar 09 14:59

    In my experience, PE salaries are only higher for jobs where it is required. Your mileage my vary.

    I was thinking the same thing.   Unless there was a reciprocal agreement, does that mean if there were no exemptions, I would need to be licensed everwhere the products I design are sold?
    IRstuff (Aerospace)
    31 Mar 09 15:09
    There's nothing in the PE code that mentions global vs. local industries.

    Reciprocity certainly does not exist for doctors.  I met a 60-yr Croatian doctor interviewing for residency in the US, because his medical license from Croatia is not recognized here.

    "PE salaries are only higher for jobs where it is required"  True, but if every, otherwise qualified, engineer were licensed, then there would be no discriminators, and any engineer could moonlight from his previously exempt day job to take on PE work.  That could potential double or triple the number of PEs vying for previously PE-only jobs, which would drive the rates down.


    FAQ731-376: Forum Policies

    JAE (Structural)
    31 Mar 09 22:17

    I don't know what a "PE Code" is.  

    In the US each state has engineering practice laws that govern the practice  These only apply to the practice within the states and I'm sure various countries have similar statutes.

    The reason that there is an industry exemption is, I think, due to the fact that engineers working within a company that produces objects for sale, such as vehicles, equipment, tools, machinery, etc., all sell those objects to buyers and such objects usually carry some form of warranty, UL testing or other such qualifiers that protect the public.  But you are right - how could you manage engineer X when he/she designs a motor and it gets sold in a country other than the source country?  Tough to do unless we get ourselves a ONE WORLD GOV'T.  gasp.

    I'm a licensed PE and SE and feel that engineers have lost a LOT of ground over the years in terms of our worth, public respect, value to society, etc.  This may be due to external causes or our own fault, I don't know.

    But I don't believe getting every dang "engineer" licensed, even in industrial cases where they design widgits, would help our engineering profession.  I don't know what will help it actually, but licensing everyone doesn't seem to me to do much other than cause a lot of problems.

    msquared48 (Structural)
    1 Apr 09 0:55
    Are you a PE if you don't make a pass at an Engineer?

    Mike McCann
    MMC Engineering

    hokie66 (Structural)
    1 Apr 09 1:48
    Go to bed, Mike.
    msquared48 (Structural)
    1 Apr 09 17:19
    Man I slept well!

    Mike McCann
    MMC Engineering

    FeX32 (Mechanical)
    2 Apr 09 8:07
    5 hours of sleep is surely not enough.   sleeping2  


    Ron (Structural)
    2 Apr 09 11:50 slight disagreement.  If all exempt engineers were licensed, they would not all be on the same level and therefore not discriminators.

    On the licensed side, we are certainly not all the same.  The licensing provides a minimum baseline.  It doesn't guarantee competence, nor does it guarantee solutions to problems.  It does signify that you have decided that your professional stature and bearing is important and that what you do has some bearing on the public good (or bad!), and that you are willing to take on that extra burden and liability.  In that respect, licensure to protect the public is a good thing and a necessity (in my opinion).  There are many people who can design things.  There are many people who understand technical stuff.  There are many people who have a narrow perspective of the influence or impact of what they decide or design.  That's where an engineering education, and to some degree licensing, helps.

    I was a consultant to an industry that produced products with no engineering design.  Mostly the designs were done by good ol' boys in their garages.  Many of the designs were good and withstood engineering scrutiny.  Many of them were dangerous, simply because they only saw the one perspective of use, not the 10 perspectives of misuse.  That's what an engineering education teaches think.  Licensing teaches you to think twice.

    JLSeagull (Electrical)
    2 Apr 09 12:07
    Are the Myth Busters registered engineers in California?
    EddyC (Mechanical)
    2 Apr 09 13:27
    My experience has been that whether engineering is done right or not is more a function of the company culture, rather than the holding of any particular credential (High School, BS, MS, PHD, PE, etc) by the employees. Do credentials help? Sure they do, but the culture of the workplace has the greater effect, in my experience.
    garpe (Structural)
    17 May 09 5:41
    I'll take a chance on beating the moribund equine.
    The essence of professionalism is personal responsibility. As a licensed PE I can get in trouble if there is a problem on a project I have done. If i was negligent in some way, or if the judge wants to "spread the pain" I pay. Even if I am not negligent I still have to retain an attorney (basically worthless) and pay exorbitant fees just to fight the claim.
    What happens to people who design airplanes that fall apart and kill people? For example the early C-5 wings, the F-111, the De Havilland Comet? Remember? Square windows created stress concentrations that eventually resulted in cracks due to the fatigue loads from repeated pressurization. The cracks propagated and the fuselage ruptured at altitude. I don't recall that an individual was called on the carpet. I guess you can call yourself and engineer but not a "Professional Engineer."
    desertfox (Mechanical)
    17 May 09 6:13

    From my standpoint I would say qualifications are important as they show a level of understanding and intelligence in whatever field you work in,experience also plays a big part in everybodies working enviroment and thats not something you can get in school or college but only with time on the job.
    Whether you call yourself an Engineer, Profesional Engineer or whatever you prefer having a title and the highest qualifications one can obtain doesn't guarentee you can do the job any better than someone with lesser qualifications or status, nor does it guarentee the individual will be anymore professional.

    garpe (Structural)
    17 May 09 7:36
    YO zdas04:
    Be careful. I think you have to seal and sign everything you produce. Check your states regs. The fact is we live in an era where the registration boards are instituting what I consider to be foolish "gothca" type regulations. They must not have much to do. I am registered in a bunch of states including Florida. When I seal and sign documents for work in that state I have to add a notation on each sheet that "These drawings conform to the Florida building Code" or some such foolishness as that. This is another instance where our "professional societies" do not have the gonads to stop this silly stuff. It also gives the attorneys another avenue to go after us since if a problem comes up we can now be accused of making fraudulent statements. Where is ASCE and NSPE on this? Oh, they are kissing off Obama for "stimluation", I forgot.

    Greg Robinson

    JLSeagull (Electrical)
    18 May 09 8:11
    I rarely seal documents.  The sealing requirements are based upon the state board, client or contractor standards.  Civil/structural engineers stamp many drawings.  Several years pass between my need to stamp a document.  Safety is the key criteria that determines whether a document requires a stamp.
    IRstuff (Aerospace)
    18 May 09 12:04
    Ron, that was my point exactly.  The pay, prestige, eliteness, etc. are contingent on most engineers NOT being PEs.  

    I do have one slight disagreement, "That's what an engineering education teaches think."  An engineering education MIGHT teach you to solve problems, but to "think" is a wholly different thing.  

    And not every engineering student learns to solve problems the same way; a certain Leslie learned to solve math and engineering problems by having her boyfriend do them. winky smile

    Moreover, even MS and PhD engineers aren't immune from tunnel vision.  I've seen an invention disclosure that claimed to eliminate a certain type of noise by selectively eliminating the "bad" ones.  How to deal with the fact that the overall signal to noise was decreased by a factor of 4 was ignored.  

    I think that disclaimers about conformance to "Florida building code" and the like make sense, given the ease of transporting documents to other localities and states.  If such a document weren't marked, and it got used in, say, California, while you would eventually prevail in a lawsuit, having that stamped stipulation would probably get your part of the case tossed before you incurred a lot of legal fees.


    FAQ731-376: Forum Policies

    KENAT (Mechanical)
    18 May 09 12:49
    garpe, the Comet case is an oft quoted but sometimes misunderstood case.  As I recall in the initial design the Designing Engineers (most of whome had almost certainly come up from starting as Draftsmen or the like not gone to university and got a bachelors) designed and tested the airframe for cyclic stresses caused by pressurization.

    However, to achieve this they'd used some kind of bonding process for the windows.  This process was difficult/time consuming in production.  So, the manufacturing/production guys asked for a change to conventional riveted structure.

    I'm not sure who OK'd the decision withouth re-testing etc but it is they that arguably deserve the blame.

    As to a consequence, well I'd say the massive contraction of the British Aerospace industry was at least in part related to this issue.  Essentially the company faces the consequences/liability, if they pass that on to the relevant engineer insome way (dismissal, limited promotion etc.) is up to them.

    Plus on at least some of the A/C it wasn't actually the windows that caused the problem, it was cut-outs for the ADF.

    The lesson I learnt for this is don't forgo critical function in lieu of ease of manufacture.  While expensive but functional equipment will face problems, non functional items no matter how cheap, seldom prevail.


    Have you reminded yourself of FAQ731-376: Forum Policies recently, or taken a look at posting policies:
    What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

    buzzp (Electrical)
    8 Jun 09 15:19
    Nothing has changed here, has it?

    You are an Engineer whether you passed a PE exam or not. If you went to an accredited college (or even not) and are active in a real engineer role, you are an engineer.

    The question should be, should all engineers be required to be licensed?

    Most PE guys doing consulting work or otherwise working for the public don't typically understand product design and the engineers role in this. We don't work for the public, we design products for our company. We have safety agencies overlooking our products just like they do theirs. It is not required in the US, but most businesses will not buy your product without safety agency approvals like UL and CSA (Make this a requirement if anything). When was the last time you heard of a UL listed product starting a fire? When was the last time you heard of a catastrophic building or electrical fire due to poor engineering by a licensed PE? My point is made. In many other industrialized nations it is a requirement and it is called the CE mark.

    It is not a question of if us product designers are engineers, it is a question if we should be required to be licensed? My vote is NO! This will simply move even more engineering jobs over seas that do NOT have this requirement. Have some common sense in this area! Licensure will drive up salaries and cause companies to export more engineering jobs to other countries. Of course, some are set on the demise of the US even further.

    Why fix what is not broke?
    Ron (Structural)
    8 Jun 09 22:44 many examples of UL listed items causing fires would you like; or how many building collapses due to inadequate engineering would you like.  There are more than enough of both.

    You say that licensure will drive up salaries...of course it does.  It is supposed to do that.  In every category of licensed professional engineers that's what we strive for as the FIRST mark in our career....licensure.

    This topic gets debated over and over in the forums, with similar arguments for and against, each time.  Those who are in "exempt" engineering disciplines don't want licensure, while those who are in non-exempt engineering disciplines welcome licensure. Just as you would want your medical doctor to be licensed by the state, you would want an engineer practicing in the public to be licensed.

    Does licensure guarantee performance?  Of course not.  It signifies a baseline of qualifications and competence in a set of technical areas.  It is rigorous enough that it weeds out some who should not practice in those disciplines.  Does it guarantee that the engineer will always make the correct professional judgment?  No.  But it does establish penalties for an engineer who makes poor judgment.  That alone is a deterent to negligent practice.

    To answer the original question, yet again....If you are in a discipline of engineering that requires licensing and you do not pass the P.E. exam, in most states you cannot call yourself an engineer.  Simple, statutory fact. It is against the law.
    IRstuff (Aerospace)
    9 Jun 09 0:55
    again, only if you're not exempt...

    I think the NSPE needs to read up on the concept of supply and demand.  Increase supply of PEs, and the price goes down, not up.


    FAQ731-376: Forum Policies

    buzzp (Electrical)
    9 Jun 09 19:25
    Your wanting a PE for a job that don't need a PE. It adds cost by way of insurances to the overal cost of a design project. Products already have the major cost over head of safety agency testing and to add on top of this, a requirement to mandate licenses for the designers. Perhaps some need to become more familiar with the design world, costs associated with product testing and keep there snide comments to themselves. This is always what happens with a thread like this.

    You said you could provide examples, I would like as many examples of the number of DEATHS caused by each category, engineers designing for the public (eletrical wiring, bridges, buildings, road designs,etc) versus deaths caused by a UL listed product, properly applied. I am guessing you will be surprised.

    Everyone keeps referring to most states laws on using engineer in your title without a PE license. Well, I don't put much credit in this given all the sanitation engineers job advertisements at any STATE job service. Wheres the board or the enforcers here? This seems like the logical place to start to me. It is not product design engineers giving engineering a bad name, it is people like this, which cause the general publics perception of what an engineer is or does to be tarnished. I have seen so called co-workers at a company designing industrial equipment being referred to customers as an engineer. The guy worked there for a 3-4 years, did not even know ohms law, and he started thinking he was an engineer. It was a down right dangerous place to work.

    The hard liners on this issue are pushing there own agenda, through lack of ignorance on what all of engineering encompasses and is about. Good luck. You can flame me all you want and I am sure you will but I expect nothing less.
    Ron (Structural)
    9 Jun 09 20:46 apologies if I gave you the impression that I was flaming you.  That was not my intent.  We have a difference of opinion, but that does not constitute flaming.

    Based on statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Center for Health Statistics, there are approximately 240 electrocution deaths per year resulting from the use of tested and listed small and large appliances.

    Similarly, there are many examples of deaths related to building, bridge, and structure collapses, some of which are design errors and some of which are construction errors.  One significant example is the walkway collapse at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City, where 113 people died. I have personally been involved in the evaluation and analysis of structural failures where individuals lost their lives as a result of design errors.

    One important point to note here is that for those consumer products that fail and result in a death, the designers usually have no "criminal" liability, but might have civil liability.  In the case of a licensed engineer's design causing a death or deaths, the engineer has both a criminal liability and a civil liability.  As an example, in the Hyatt Regency walkway collapse, the engineers in responsible charge lost their licenses....they could no longer practice engineering.  In cases of product failures where no licensure is required, those engineers could continue to work in their field, unimpeded except for the potential civil liability, which is usually covered by insurance.

    The point here is that exempt engineers are not held to the same standards as licensed engineers, with regard to their statutory liability.

    As for the costs of testing and having an understanding of such, I have spent the majority of my career in testing and analysis of materials, products, and assemblies, in various capacities from lab and field technician to owner and Engineer in Responsible Charge.  I know well the costs and the benefits of testing.
    KENAT (Mechanical)
    10 Jun 09 11:23
    "engineers in responsible charge lost their licenses....they could no longer practice engineering"

    However, presumably they could still work within engineering, they just couldn't stamp/seal drawings any more.  

    If so then it really amounts to a pay cut/demotion/loss of job.

    Similar can happen to people that screw up in exempt industries.

    Or am I misunderstanding things?


    Have you reminded yourself of FAQ731-376: Forum Policies recently, or taken a look at posting policies:
    What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

    Ron (Structural)
    10 Jun 09 12:56
    Kenat...when a licensed engineer loses his license, depending on what position in an organization he holds, it often ruins his career.  When such engineers are named and qualifying principals in a firm,they can no longer qualify that firm to practice engineering....they have to regroup.

    In some cases it would amount to, as you noted, a demotion of sorts.  But when the ability to sign and seal is lost, so is a large part of the value of that person to the organization.  No, you don't lose the experience and capability, but those would be second guessed routinely as well.  So losing one's ability to sign/seal, plus a loss of confidence in that person's professional judgment, can amount to a loss of career/earning ability.

    One misunderstanding about engineering laws is that the only item that requires a seal is a design drawing.  Not true.  In most states, any engineering evaluation, report, opinion, or other document containing an engineering evaluation, judgment or design, must be signed and sealed by the licensed engineer who offers report or document as the engineer in responsible charge.
    KENAT (Mechanical)
    10 Jun 09 13:24
    Ron, a lot of the same things can happen in the exempt sector though.  The engineer that made mistakes is second guessed, loses credibility etc.  It may not be as easily measureable/distinct as the loss of PE but happens.  Also once you've held a job at a certain level, many places have doubts about hiring you at a significantly lower level even without PE issues.

    Within the exempt areas this is probably more significant in the more 'incestuous' industries where everyone knows everyone etc. but still happens.

    I know about not just stamping drawings, I nearly put "reports etc." but was trying to keep it short, that'll teach me.


    Have you reminded yourself of FAQ731-376: Forum Policies recently, or taken a look at posting policies:
    What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

    Ron (Structural)
    10 Jun 09 14:56're right, I can see the same things happening in the exempt areas with regard to credibility....and we are all in a somewhat incestuous business community.  Someone almost always knows someone who knows someone....word does get around.

    I suppose my main point is that the licensed person could never go back to where he was from a professional stature perspective, since he can't get licensed in other states either.  I would think, even given the "small world" of our respective professions, that the exempt engineer might have a few more opportunities at restoration than the licensed engineer.  Maybe I'm wrong about that, but it just seems that way.  Your thoughts?

    KENAT (Mechanical)
    10 Jun 09 15:21
    As I said, it's probably not quite as obvious/distinct in the exempt world. so recover might be expected to be a bit easier but I'm not sure how much.


    Have you reminded yourself of FAQ731-376: Forum Policies recently, or taken a look at posting policies:
    What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

    Helpful Member!  MRM (Geotechnical)
    11 Jun 09 0:27
    I've seen many good points on both sides of the argument.  I'll tell you that I can genuinely see some of the non-PE points too.  And it's been said many times above that licensure doesn't guarantee a good engineer.

    The more I read these types of threads, the more I can see that the underlying idea of licensure protecting the public, while adding value to the engineer at the same time seems to be a very mysterious notion to some non-PEs.

    However, I can say that once you reflect on how, more than ever in our world, we need to have well-educated individuals who are also willing to take on the  responsibility of acting in the best interests of the client, as well as anyone else (the public) who will use your product or design, you somehow begin to understand the necessity of licensure.

    Just to add a little to what Ron said, and as a side note, depending on the state, you may not always have to put your stamp on your deliverables.  I've noticed a few comments that some seem to be under the impression that you're only responsible for things that you actually stamp with a rubber stamp and ink.  This is not true.

    In Michigan, I've completed hundreds of reports, and I've never used my stamp yet.  It's not necessary in this state.  It is necessary, however, that I maintain a valid license in order to sign the types of reports I prepare in this state.  Aside: drawings are typically signed and stamped, probably following tradition from way back.

    One would not discriminate between my signature and my signature placed over my stamp as they are both the same in the legal world.  My signature is all they need to have to know who to call...
    Ron (Structural)
    11 Jun 09 6:32 make some good points, particularly about the signature really being the only trigger for liability.

    Michigan is a bit of an exception in this regard.  Their rules do not mention what items must be signed/ is left open.  Most other states designate items that must bear the engineer's seal, which in my home state, is just about everything you produce, outside administrative correspondence.

    For everything I produce in Michigan, I use the same rules I use in my home state...I sign it and seal it with my Michigan seal.  The only reason I do this is so that I don't have to remember which states require it and which ones don't!!  Saves those few remaining brain cells!
    JLSeagull (Electrical)
    11 Jun 09 7:25
    Texas recently changed the sealing requirements.  "... all engineering documents released, issued, or submitted by or for a registered engineering firm, including preliminary documents, must clearly indicate the engineering firm name and registration number. It is both the responsibility of the PE that signs and seals a document and the firm that releases the document to verify that the firm name and number appear on the engineering work."

    From the article mentioned in the original post "Manufacturers are concerned thousands of small companies will have to take the term "engineering" from their company names."  Many states prohibit firms from using the word engineering in the company name if the firm is not registered.  Enforcement exists for individuals lacking PE registration and the firms lacking registration.
    shamsdebout (Electrical)
    11 Jun 09 13:07
    This thread is a bit depressing, I have a BSEET, when I pass the PE exam Illinois, Florida and a host of other states will not accept me as an Engineer, that makes no sense to me.  I thought the purpose of the PE exam was a guage to ensure competency so if I pass the exam I have proved my competency but I guess they can break the rules they set.
    JLSeagull (Electrical)
    11 Jun 09 13:57
    With any degree, whether BSEE, BSEET or BA in marketing, if you pass the FE/EIT exam, any P&P exam and demonstrate ethics and increasing responsibility then you are likely to obtain a PE license in most states.
    Ron (Structural)
    11 Jun 09 21:51
    shamsdebout...Most engineering technology degrees are not considered equivalent to an engineering degree.  Your degree was apparently not ABET certified, so many states will not recognize it as being equivalent.

    Why did you go with an engineering technology degree if you were considering licensing?  Why not go with the full, accredited engineering degree?
    JLSeagull (Electrical)
    12 Jun 09 7:47
    NAFTA caused many states to implement more flexible educational requirements.

    From the Texas Engineering Practice Act and Rules Effective 12/21/08

    §133.65 Examination on the Fundamentals of Engineering
    (a) An undergraduate student who is within two full-time regular semesters (not including summer sessions) of graduating may take the examination on the fundamentals of engineering at a location prescribed by the board provided that the student is enrolled in a degree program in Texas and the program is:
    (1) an engineering program accredited or approved by the EAC/ABET;
    (2) a four year baccalaureate technical program accredited or approved by the TAC/ABET; or
    (3) an engineering-related science program of four years or more that has been approved by the board.
    (4) a non-engineering related curriculum or other degree in which the student has provided evidence acceptable to the executive director as meeting the minimum requirements of §1001.302(a)(1)(A) or (B) of the Act.
     (b) Persons who demonstrate that they meet the educational requirements for a license and who have not passed the examination on the fundamentals of engineering while in college and who are residents of Texas may apply to the board to take the examination in accordance with the applicable examination schedule adopted by the board.
    (c) Persons who do not meet the criteria of subsection (a) of this section, but who need only to complete the examination on the fundamentals of engineering to fulfill the graduation requirements of a degree program that would meet the educational requirements for a license, may apply to the board to take the examinations in accordance with the applicable examination schedule adopted by the board.
    shamsdebout (Electrical)
    13 Jun 09 1:15
    Ron, my degree is an ABET TAC accredited degree.  I will be able to become professionally licensed in my state, it will take me an additional 3 years.  To be honest I didn't give any thought of becoming professionally licensed when I was in school, I liked the program at my school and I didn't transfer to the only public school in the state that offers an engineering degree.  I wanted to delve more into electronics but couldn't find a job in that, got into the MEP world and I like it so far.
    My only gripe is that the so-called exam to demonstrate competency is not really what it is made to be.  Why have the exam if after you pass the exam you don't get the benefits?
    Ron (Structural)
    13 Jun 09 7:43
    Shamsdebout...why an additional three years?  Is there a course of study that they are requiring?  Additional coursework?  Additional internship?  That seems a bit odd.

    Have you considered petitioning the other states?

    You are working in MEP but your degree is in Electrical.  That can be part of the issue, particularly if your state is a discipline-specific state (Louisiana, Illinois, California and numerous others).

    Good luck.
    JLSeagull (Electrical)
    13 Jun 09 11:28
    Without the engineering degree it takes longer to take the principles and practices exam.  However, study now, take review classes and the fundamentals of engineering exam as soon as possible.  This is best done near graduation.  It is much harder four years later.

    Later you may take whichever P&P exam that you study for and feel qualified if permitted by the state.  Passing the FE/EIT exam in any state should permit obtaining a PE in most other states.  These are national exams.
    shamsdebout (Electrical)
    13 Jun 09 12:02
    Ron my state requires 7 years engineering experience for an ABET accredited TAC degree, I meet that with my BSEET versus 4 years with an ABET accredited EAC degree.  I am working as an electrical engineer with an MEP firm.  I can live with needing 3 additional years of experience what I don't get is some states wont accept my professional licensee.  I think if it was up solely to the NCEES I wouldn't be able to become a PE as the states seem to be able to make up there requirement.   

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