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P.E. for Manufacturing Engineers...worth it?

P.E. for Manufacturing Engineers...worth it?

(OP)
I'm a fresh-out-of-college mechanical engineer that got hired as a manufacturing engineer. I was wondering if a P.E. license is worth the effort for someone like me. From what I've seen of the F.E. and P.E. exams, it's rooted deeply in theory and text books. I'm in a job shop getting my hands dirty every day and learning that sometimes you have to tweak that hard-studied theory in order for it to actually work. I know I may not be in this job shop my whole career, but this type of work is my passion and I plan on staying on the manufacturing path. I know P.E. licensing is very important for mechanical engineers on the design side of things, but what about for the engineers who make sure the designs are feasible and implements them in a shop? I don't know how prevalent P.E.'s are in the manufacturing/industrial industries. To me, it seems better to take some welding and machining classes at a community college and possibly get into lean or 6 sigma certification. But what do I know? I'm so green behind the ears it's not even funny. Thoughts and comments are greatly appreciated. Have a good one!

R. J. Hughes
versafab.com
New Kensington, PA, USA

RE: P.E. for Manufacturing Engineers...worth it?

I have worked in industry for almost 50 years, without a PE.

That lack has excluded me from working for an ASME-coded valve manufacturer, and for a manufacturer of overhead cranes and such. Both opportunities opened and closed 40 years ago. I found other things to do.


HOWEVER...
When you reach age 50 or so, you will all of a sudden become unemployable. If you hang your shingle as a sole practicioner/ consultant, then you will need a PE license to call yourself an engineer in most states of the US.

You might wish to prepare for that eventuality, but I couldn't justify paying decades worth of license fees until you actually need and will use the license.


Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: P.E. for Manufacturing Engineers...worth it?

I went the path of Manufacturing Engineer. And I got my PE early in my career. I recommend you do so also.

The reasons why (from a grumpy old gray-haired cynical skeptical guy who...oh, well, you get the idea):
  • Manufacturing as an industry segment in the US likes to slap a title of "Engineer" on anybody who happens to be doing a particular task at the moment. Doesn't matter if the person is "qualified" or not with a degree. Especially when the HR Trolls believe that Engineer-level work & analysis can be gotten by applying a title. I disagree with this philosophy because it dilutes the value of the time & effort of getting University-level Engineering training. This argument has violently raged around these forums many times and I won't get into the merits of it again. But having a PE clearly identifies you as (potentially) being a trained & proven Engineer who (at least) has shown that they can pass a competency test of some sort. My experience is: this counts for a lot when the HR Trolls and Evil Managers are sorting the Sheep from the Goats.
  • I have held a PE since the mid-80's and have never stamped a drawing. I've never had the NEED to stamp a drawing while being a Manufacturing Engineer. But having that "P.E." after your name matters to the folks who recognize such things as being important.
  • If you ever go freelance it will come in very handy, if not for stamping drawings then for providing recognition of expertise to potential clients. I recommend you start charting a course to do a parallel path to supplement your income and provide a fallback position for the inevitable career shock (there's that cynicism thing again...sorry).

TygerDawg
Blue Technik LLC
Virtuoso Robotics Engineering
www.bluetechnik.com

RE: P.E. for Manufacturing Engineers...worth it?

(OP)
This is all great advice, thank you gentlemen.

R. J. Hughes
versafab.com
New Kensington, PA, USA

RE: P.E. for Manufacturing Engineers...worth it?

JofShopEngineer - even to a design engineer in exempt industry (nominally working for a company making products rather than primarily selling services) having PE has limited benefit compared to the effort to get and keep it current. It is in the non exempt or arguably 'construction'/building services fields where it is of much more benefit or in some cases required.

If you can get it without too much cost or effort then it's going to have some potential benefit - but possibly not much.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: P.E. for Manufacturing Engineers...worth it?

(OP)
Is it true that after so many years of experience (I believe I read 10) that you can file to be exempt from the FE/EIT exam and only be required to take/pass the PE exam? If that is the case, and I only really need a PE towards the end of my career when I can easily be canned and forced to consult, then that would probably be the best option, no?

R. J. Hughes
versafab.com
New Kensington, PA, USA

RE: P.E. for Manufacturing Engineers...worth it?

I'd check with the state board of whatever state you'd be looking to get PE in to verify requirement for/exemption from Fundamentals exam. For instance http://www.dos.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/commun...

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: P.E. for Manufacturing Engineers...worth it?

Yes, after 10-years or so, depending on the state, you only have to take the PE Exam.....

Oh yeah, and have a reference from PE licenced engineers that you have worked with, and can give you a reference.

SO... if you want your PE license, you better be working with, for or around people that hold a PE...

Without their reference, don't even bother studying for the test...

Charlie
www.facsco.com

RE: P.E. for Manufacturing Engineers...worth it?

I first obtain a PE license in Mechanical Engineering in the late-80's and in Welding Engineering in the early 00's. While employed in the manufacturing industrial segment for a global company, I was identified (because of the PE) as an expert in the specialties, this led to several global projects that I would otherwise not be involved in. In addition, many companies will give you an increase in pay or bonus for obtaining the PE. When I negotiated my last job it was worth $5000 additional a year.

I recommend that any 4 year graduate of an ABET accredited engineering program should work toward obtaining their PE, it does open doors and you don't know what the future will hold for you.

Richard

RE: P.E. for Manufacturing Engineers...worth it?

It can only open doors. Getting one and not using it will not make you miss out on anything. If nothing else, it adds credibility to your name and expertise.

PE, SE
Eastern United States

"If a builder builds a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built falls in and kills its owner, then that builder shall be put to death!"
~Code of Hammurabi

RE: P.E. for Manufacturing Engineers...worth it?

Use it as a way to force yourself to keep learning! Take the EIT now while still fresh in your mind. Make connections with any PE you come in contact with to later use as a reference (or to help in your career). Not all experience has to be under a PE. Most states merely require it to be engineering and progressive in experience (meaning you do more technical things as you gain the ability and experience to do so).

My original experience was as a manufacturing engineer, thought that was all I would ever do. Now I own and run an engineering consulting company. All because one of the guys I initial worked for had his PE and gave me the same speech I just gave you.

ZCP
www.phoenix-engineer.com

RE: P.E. for Manufacturing Engineers...worth it?

There are several plausible reasons to get a PE license, most notably the restrictions on becoming a consultant if you're on your own. My father-in-law got two PE licenses after he retired from the US Geological Survey - in surveying and in Civil Engineering. He was 55 when he started to study, so that is an option.

But from my own observations, the correlation between competence and having a PE license is not there. The best engineers I know do not have one. Several licensed engineers I know are nincompoops. But I can say the same thing about advanced degrees. The best stress analyst I ever met got a BSME from a small university in Indiana (no - not that one.) The worst had a PhD from a rather large university in Ohio (no - not that one, or the other one.) One had a PE license and other didn't.

Doug

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