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(OP)
Hi all,

Is it actually a thing for engineers who went to school to discriminate against licensed engineers who never went to school? I have a friend whose father never went to school, but became a licensed civil engineer. She told me that engineers who went to school would give him crap for never going to school and not trust his work until he became respected. I've also seen an incident in my workplace where a individual got a engineering license in a field he did not take in college. Is this just a jealousy thing because someone studied on their own and got the license without the schooling and money being spent? Or do people feel that being able to get a engineering license without a college education cheapens the license?

For the record I admire people who are able to get licensed if they never got that "official" education.

-Riversidean

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

The part of your post that I latched onto was "not trust his work until he became respected". Whether degreed or not, I have that attitude toward everyone.

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

I think that as with any class of professionals, there are good ones and there are bad ones. Non-degreed engineers, licensed or not, are always potentially suspect; they could have been good enough to skip school, or they simply regurgitate equations that they've memorized. Or anywhere in between.

The most disturbing aspect of non-degreed engineers is whether they have, and understand, the theoretical underpinnings that are important for advanced engineering. So, until them demonstrate their thorough understanding of the equations and theories they use for design, I, too, would "trust, but verify."

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

Having a license means you passed one test. Having a degree means you passed several tests.

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

I don't put much faith in formal education... I've encountered good licensed P.Eng.s and not so good ones. I've also encountered extremely good Tech school graduates. Same with Ph.Ds... good, bad, or whatever. One of the finest world class Architects I've met was a Ryerson grad (back when it was a tech school).

It's a matter of what a person has learned and what he can do, and not so much a matter of the degree he has. As time passes, credentials are becoming more and more important and recognised... and, not necessarily the case.

Dik

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

3
I would tend to have more respect for a licensed engineer who never got a degree. With the State Boards being as much of a pain in the butt as they are about credentials, I can't imagine how many hoops this guy jumped through to get a license.
If you can do the job, you can do the job. Engineers who give him grief are only showing their own insecurities.

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

Jed: couldn't have said it better...

Dik

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

#### Quote (Riversidean (Civil/Environmental) )

Is it actually a thing for engineers who went to school to discriminate against licensed engineers who never went to school? I have a friend whose father never went to school, but became a licensed civil engineer. She told me......

C'mon man!

You are asking for people to comment on gossip. The information from your friend is hearsay.

Why don't you call the father and get the story from the source.

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

In my "many" years I've never seen issues with non-degreed engineers.

We are focused on our projects, processes, cooperation, communication, etc. and the individual's qualities and talents (or lack thereof) show in their performance, not on the paper hanging in a frame on their office wall.

That said, I have a graduate degree and know for a fact that in my case it helped me considerably to better understand structural engineering.

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### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

Two of the best licensed engineers I ever worked with and learned from did not have engineering degrees. One had a bachelor's degree in Industrial Technology and the other had one or two years of junior college. Both started as civil drafters and soon discovered that they were smarter than some of the engineers they worked with. Both asked for an received the types of assignments usually given to EITs and young PEs and started learning the craft. Along they way, both took some engineering classes, but nothing approaching a full degree. Their licensure paths took 15 years each, but both passed their PE exams on the first try.

The only grief I was aware of was one of my bosses and the guy from junior college simply could not get along. As best I could tell, it was both personal and professional. They both got along with everyone else just fine.

==========
"Is it the only lesson of history that mankind is unteachable?"
--Winston S. Churchill

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

3

#### Quote (Riversidean (Civil/Environmental))

Would you go see a Doctor who has a substandard education? Have you ever heard of a Doctor who got licensed by experience?

Would you go to court with an Attorney who has a substandard education? Have you ever heard of an Attorney who got a licensed by experience?

Why would anyone try to get a license by experience?

Everyone that I have been associated with that tried to get around the system like this has not been qualified. I know several people that got technology degrees and then went to certain states where the states were not as rigorous to get licensed. Well guess what, these people were not as qualified.

Posting as an engineer with a substandard background in my opinion is a fraud, just like a quack Doctor.

My opinion is that it any more difficult to obtain an engineering degree than the other professions. If you are willing to accept an unqualified engineer, you are cheapening the profession so I will never hire one.

I am not going to give a non-degree licensed engineer grief, but I will know their limitations. What that means to a non-degree licensed engineer is that the employer will hire them for less, thus cheapening the business.

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

Most of us have marriage licenses, bot were never formally educated for that in college.

We did go to the school of hard knocks though, and still are!

Mike McCann, PE, SE (WA)

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

"Have you ever heard of an Attorney who got a licensed by experience?"

Yes, Abraham Lincoln and Daniel Webster. And they were by no means alone in this. It used to be the primary way that one became a lawyer. Doctors, too.

From Wikipedia:
Webster was hailed as the leading constitutional scholar of his generation and probably had more influence on the powerful Marshall Court than any other advocate had.[citation needed] Of the 223 cases he argued before the Supreme Court, he won about half of them. But, even more, Webster played an important role in eight of the most celebrated constitutional cases decided by the Court between 1801 and 1824. In many of these—particularly in Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819) and Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) – the Supreme Court handed down decisions based largely on Webster's arguments. Marshall's most famous declaration, "the power to tax is the power to destroy," in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), was in fact lifted from Webster's presentation against the state of Maryland: "An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation." Marshall patterned some of his Court decisions after Webster's briefs, and Webster played a crucial role in helping many of the justices interpret matters of constitutional law. As a result, many people began calling him the Great Expounder of the Constitution.[22]

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

#### Quote (Compositepro (Chemical))

"Have you ever heard of an Attorney who got a licensed by experience?"

Yes, Abraham Lincoln and Daniel Webster. And they were by no means alone in this. It used to be the primary way that one became a lawyer. Doctors, too.

Public high schools had not been invented 200 years and there was maybe 30 colleges in the United States so it would have been difficult to go to law school at that time. However, I stand corrected as it is possible to take the bar exam after being "home schooled "by a licensed attorney. Law office study remains very rare. Law office readers comprised only 60 of the 83,986 people who took state and multi-state bar exams in 2013. They are also less likely to pass those exams. Only 28 percent of the tiny minority of law office readers passed their bar exams last year, compared to 78 percent of students who attended American Bar Association-approved law schools.

However, it is not possible to obtain a medical license without going to medical school.

The gist of the argument remains, a non-degree licensed engineer will be worth less and will be paid less by an employer, thus cheapening the profession.

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

"thus cheapening the profession". So, as always, the true reason for licensing becomes keeping out outsiders who compete with insiders and lower prices. It is not for public safety.

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

At least in the multiple states I'm licensed in there is no longer a licensure-by-experience path.

There used to be but now, I think, most US states require an ABET accredited degree and/or a non-accredited degree review process.

So the question about non-degree'd persons in the US may be slowly disappearing...at least in the disciplines that normally require a license to practice (i.e. non-industrial engineers).

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### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

[quote Compositepro (Chemical)]becomes keeping out outsiders who compete with insiders and lower prices[/quote

There is no restraint on competition. Everyone has an opportunity to obtain an education and then obtain a license. Licensing should be considered as a bare minimum qualification. You may want to argue that everyone does not have an educational opportunity, but that is a different subject.

The point made was that employers will take advantage of people without a degree and pay them less.

The libertine view of the issue as expressed by the Koch brothers is to do away with licensing.

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

I have gotten a lot of very strange answers from people with a lot of electrical experience and no degree. There is a very clear demarcation line if you go into anything with depth or requires more knowledge than so and so told me. Maybe, civil engineering is more code based so you can get away with that. They were productive people but someone can only get into something so far without a degree. For a fresh grad, it takes you a little while to realize you can't buy some of what your mentor says whole cloth.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

bimr, I read the article. Normal libertarian crap. My comment would be (note how they never allow comments), "let's do away with all licensing, and you get to be the first to go to an unlicensed surgeon."
The history of engineering licensing is pretty interesting, but the push normally came because people were dying. And the people who die are very seldom the ones who decide to use untrained engineers, but totally innocent workers or children.

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

Roman structures that have been constructed over 2000 years ago and still standing were designed by what we term now non degree engineers.

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

#### Quote (chicopee (Mechanical) )

Roman structures that have been constructed over 2000 years ago and still standing were designed by what we term now non degree engineers.

Right, Stonehenge, the Moai, and Mayan sanctuaries are still standing too.

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

2
It’s amazing what non-degrees engineers can do with unlimited slave labor and lots of rocks. 😜

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### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

"It’s amazing what non-degrees engineers can do with unlimited slave labor and lots of rocks" At least those structures are still standing whereas structures designed by degreed engineers have crumbled from the end of the 19th century to the present. Now let's see for examples, be the space frame roof collapse of the Hartford Civic Center. Collapses of structures throughout the USA and the world from winds. About highway bridges collapsing? Non degreed engineers, by our standard,during the medieval times have designed and constructed European cathedrals such as Notre Dame in Paris. About the Patheon in Rome, a real engineering feat for its time and still standing. About the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople albeit somewhat modified by the Muslems to convert the structure from a Chritian church to a mosque.

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

So the best way is to avoid formal education and use slave labor and your structures will stand forever? Got it, thanks.

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### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

2

#### Quote (chicopee)

At least those structures are still standing whereas structures designed by degreed engineers have crumbled from the end of the 19th century to the present.

I do not think it is sensible to extrapolate from three examples that things were better in ancient times. There are loads of examples of ancient engineering failures. In fact, one of the examples you list, the Hagia Sophia, has had the main dome collapse and had to be rebuilt at least once.

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

#### Quote (chicopee (Mechanical) )

At least those structures are still standing whereas structures designed by degreed engineers have crumbled from the end of the 19th century to the present.

Have you overlooked structures like the Fidenae stadium (built during the Roman empire) in your comparison.

In 27 AD, an amphitheater, constructed by an entrepreneur named Atilius, collapsed in Fidenae resulting in by far the worst stadium disaster in history with anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 dead and wounded out of the total audience of 50,000. The Roman Senate responded to the tragedy by requiring that all amphitheaters to be built in the future be erected on a sound foundation, inspected and certified for soundness.

Since the design life (as well as the functional life) for most structures is measured in decades, this comparison seems to be an exercise in futility.

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

So, the point to all of these replies is that regardless who is the architect/ designer/ engineer, structures have either stood the test of time or collapse by the work from non-degreed professionals and now in our modern time, similar problem are occurring by the work of degreed professionals. So the more things change, the more they remain the same.

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

"So, the point to all of these replies is that regardless who is the architect/ designer/ engineer doctor, structures patients have either stood the test of time or collapse lived or died by the work from non-degreed professionals and now in our modern time, similar problem are occurring by the work of degreed professionals. So the more things change, the more they remain the same."

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

I think the point of this thread, originally, was about how various degreed engineers give out crap to non-degreed engineers.
I am degreed but I for one don't do that to others...see no reason to and have never seen it happen.

The thread then devolved into the topic of whether non-degreed engineers can be successful (some can and some can't) and whether they are competent (they can be certainly but some are disasters) and then it moved to justifying non-degreed engineers based on pyramids, which is not a necessary thing to do.

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### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

I haven't worked with an non-degreed Professional Engineer. I have worked with other non-PEs, who discriminated against me. That is even more wrong than what you complain about.

As I read history, the government steps in when the private sector fails and fails repeatedly. As the industrial revolution evolved and engineering designs became more complex, more failures occurred and government stepped in to regulate professions.

Many states no longer offer the non-degreed, experience only route to engineering. And many states have limitations on the number of times the FE and PE can be taken. For example, Texas offers three tries, for one application, to pass the PE exam. If you do not pass it by the 3rd try, you have to get at least another year of engineering experience or complete 6 more credit hours of engineering school courses before you can re-apply for another 3 tries.

That is wise, in my estimation, in view of the Peanut Company of America, ConAgra, Blue Bell, formerly BP's Texas City Refinery, Schlitterbahn, Deepwater Horizon, Imperial Sugar Copmany, etc. The list is long and those are simply the ones that made national headlines. Many other accidents happen, including fatalities, that never get much exposure beyond the local news.

It is, indeed, at the very foundation to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public by government officials. The power of the police state is mentioned many times in California statutes and California is cited in Colorado statutes. Government and its regulation have a purpose, a legitimate purpose. Are they perfect? No. But they are better than chaos and catastrophe.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

The only industry watch dog I've seen that seems to be doing a bang-up job is the IIHS, which is the insurance industry looking for a profit angle by badgering the auto manufacturers into building better cars. It's obviously still about profits, but public safety improvements do manage to come out of it because there's a clear antagonistic role for IIHS against the auto makers. Now, if the IIHS was supposed to police the insurance industry, that would possibly have totally different outcome altogether.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

(OP)
I have seen and heard of many professionally engineered projects fail like the recent bridge collapse in Florida; Many licensed engineer projects that fail become case studies. I am not saying licensing is a bad and pointless regulation, but I would not say that licensing makes an engineer infallible. I do not think that it is impossible for individuals to be self-taught. Having gone to school and gotten a degree I know how the education system works. Frankly I switched classes sometimes because I couldn't understand my professor (because they were foreign college grads) or I found them unable to teach and they were only there because the University forced them to teach if they wanted to do research there.
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### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

#### Quote (IRstuff (Aerospace))

doing a bang-up job is the IIHS,

A cynic would argue with that.

Many do not realize the way that insurance works. The insurance company model is to make money by holding and investing the premiums between the time that the premiums are paid to the insurance company and the time that the insurance company pays out ALL of the money in claims.

Anything that the IIHS does to make a vehicle more expensive benefits the insurance industry with increases in premiums. The more expensive the vehicle is, the more expensive is the insurance.

Many of the supposed safety features also tend to make drivers exhibit more reckless behavior because the drivers are now relying on the safety features to save them in an accident.

Don't take this the wrong way, but the IIHS is self-serving the insurance industry.

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

IRstuff, I gotta' agree with bimr on IIHS.

Riversidean, I suspect all of us had that experience. I had professors, US born and naturalized citizens, that were difficult to understand. I picked up as much as possible from them, studied hard on my own, and picked up tidbits from other courses, where applicable. But, I had those experiences and overcame them just as you and so many others do. But, even those hard-to-understand professors provide enough structure to learn. Some of my grades were lower because I couldn't understand the professors but that's part of life, too.

I've talked to other professionals about licensure w/out benefit of requisite education. One consistent theme that comes across is protecting the public and it's the whole cultural experience of getting <insert applicable degree>. I'll admit each school has its own culture and it's an important experience.

Licensure doesn't make one infallible just as not having licensure doesn't make one infallible. At least having the PE after one's name tells someone that you have passed the FE and PE and that you are answerable to the state. Not having the PE doesn't relay any information. With the PE, in most states, others know you attended a vetted engineering school, passed the FE, got four years of experience, four other PEs recommended you, and you passed the PE. The PE conveys quite a bit of other information about an individual. Not having the PE in most states doesn't convey anything. Anyone can walk in and claim to be an engineer even though they're not and they do. But, do you really know they're a graduate from an engineering school? Did they learn enough to be a half-way decent engineer? How many people walk around with a transcript or diploma? The PE means at least an individual met some minimum standard of performance. That's true in all professions.

I often heard people at Marathon say, "If it was good enough for my grandfather, it's good enough for me." My reply, "This is not your grandfather's refinery." It was a lot more complex than the refinery their grandfathers built. I've seen a lot more depth in the understanding of many aspects of my area of expertise and that's the way it goes. It would be exceptionally difficult for anyone to pass the PE and be successful today without an engineering education.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

The IIHS has indeed made cars more expensive, but it now takes a lot more to create huge amounts of damage. There once was a time when a 5 mph backup collision would destroy the bumper and cause structural damage to the car as well. I was involved in a 25 mph rearend collision with, I think a Datsun hit by a 64 Impala which totaled the Datsun, and only resulted a pushed in bumper on the Impala and a puncture on the radiator in 1980. That same collision would likely only result in minor bumper damage today. IIHS and the insurance companies don't want expensive repairs, because that eats into the bottom line. The business model is collect the premiums and pay out as little as possible. Now, an expensive car does call for higher premiums, but the insurance company does not want expensive repairs, because that doesn't help the bottom line, and they know that cranking the car price up will reduce the demand for cars and the demand for insurance, so there's a delicate line that IIHS walks to bully-pulpit the car companies to make the cars survive harder collisions, and there's no doubt that such is the case, just as in the case of race cars that can now survive crashes that would have left nothing but debris on the raceway 20 year ago. There was recently a story about a toddler who survived an accident that resulted in its mother dying, but the toddler climbed out the wreck and was able to get help for its baby sibling.

There was a time when American cars with (literally) tons of Detroit steel were essentially tanks, but the 70's resulted in much lighter, and wimpier, cars that could barely survive someone sneezing. I think IIHS gets a lot of the credit for forcing the car makers to go beyond the DoT minimum testing requirements.

I absolute agree that IIHS is serving the insurance industry, but they make even more money if they don't pay out ANY claims; which is their best case scenario, expensive cars-- expensive premiums--zero payouts.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

#### Quote (GregLocock (Automotive) )

This is a graph I'm proud of - the red line is deaths per vehicle mile travelled.. The IIHS helps.

Not sure what the point is as you may change the labels from automobile to airplane, or railroads, or NASCAR, or whatever and essentially show the same declining death rates.

Don't believe that the IIHS efforts are affecting comparable graphs from those other areas.

Don't take it the wrong way, unless the statistical data is compared to a control group, the data is just showing trends and can't be attributed to a single factor. There are all sorts of factors that distort the statistics such as more educated population, better roads, more lighting, etc.

Finally, most of the decline in death rates actually came before the IIHS was founded in 1959.

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

Insurance companies have their place in society but a lot of factors have changed the way they operate. And don't forget laws that govern their operation, too, and that they can influence politicians to pass laws that favor them not the insured.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

### RE: Non-degree licensed engineer grief

The insurance industry really wants to reduce injury and fatality crashes, since those are the ones that cost the most. This list comes from FHWA, so it includes other costs besides insurance payouts. It is a bit dated, but the orders of magnitudes of different severity levels probably have not changed much.

Crash Costs by Injury Severity Level
• Fatality (K) $4,008,900 • Disabling Injury (A)$216,000
• Evident Injury (B) $79,000 • K,A and B severities (weighted average)$158,200

• Possible Injury (C) $44,900 • Property damage only (O)$7,400

A lot of people don't get it when I'll accept an increase in overall crashes in exchange for a reduction in injuries and call it a good trade.

My glass has a v/c ratio of 0.5

Maybe the tyranny of Murphy is the penalty for hubris. - http://xkcd.com/319/

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