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I Passed the PE Exam! But what next?

I Passed the PE Exam! But what next?

I Passed the PE Exam! But what next?

Woohoo! I recently passed the PE exam (HVAC and Refrigeration), but what next?

I have at least 2.5 years of experience to gain before being able to apply for a license. My next thought was to improve my knowledge in this particular field, but that feels like a very vague goal. I want to continue my forward momentum in advancing my career, but I have no idea whats actually worthwhile putting my effort into next. Any advice on how you would use this valuable time would be much appreciated!


RE: I Passed the PE Exam! But what next?

Even if not required you should partake of on-going courses or seminars the rest of your working life.

RE: I Passed the PE Exam! But what next?

OK - Why did you work so hard to take and pass the PE Exam?
What was motivating you to do this?

Congratulations by the way.

RE: I Passed the PE Exam! But what next?

You can take the PE in Texas without the required experience? In Virginia, you can't even apply to take the PE unless you have 4 years of experience (using the BS in engineering path).

RE: I Passed the PE Exam! But what next?

@RvAmeche Yes, they recently in the past two years, "decoupled" the experience and the exam in Texas.

@monkeydog Mainly because it's required by the field I am in, and I wanted to get the test out of the way as soon as possible.

However, going to @oldestguys comment, I do want to be a 'life learner'. I'm just not sure what at this point should be a priority to focus on. Joining local engineering organizations? Reading to be more knowledgeable in design? Learning the business side? Going to seminars at my own expense? Enjoy my sweet time before I sweat bullets when I begin stamping plans? When I look at all of those; I think that's great, I should do all of those. But what's going to help me more in the long run.

RE: I Passed the PE Exam! But what next?

Congrats on passing! I am basically in the same position - just passed the Civil Structural PE, still need like 2 more years experience. I need this advice too.

RE: I Passed the PE Exam! But what next?

In my experience just keep learning and being mentored by the senior engineers at your job. Yes you've passed the PE exam but the senior guys still know loads more and have valuable tricks, rules of thumb, etc to pass on. So keep a look out for relevant webinars and that sort of thing but your senior engineers are your best resource. Even as a fresh PE once you're licensed, I doubt they'll just throw you in the deep in as a project lead because it takes time to get there.

As you gain experience and begin taking on more responsibilities for projects, you'll become more accustomed to the relevant project related business stuff (estimates, tracking hours, delegating, schedules, etc). I wouldn't worry too much about the higher level business side (profits, backlogs, etc) at this point.

RE: I Passed the PE Exam! But what next?

You also need to show continued knowledge gain and growth to accumulate the experience needed to justify yourself as a P.E.

Congratulations on passing the test, but the board still wants to see evidence of engineering knowledge and judgement to mint a new P.E.

RE: I Passed the PE Exam! But what next?

Congratulations! That's an important step to the rest of your career.

You have good ideas and received other good ideas. I would add joining NSPE would be a good career booster. You'll learn about the profession, as a whole, and that's valuable. Senior engineers, at the beginning of my career, discouraged membership in NSPE so I relied on the senior engineers at work and my work experiences. After volunteering for the Central Chapter of NSPE-CO the last several years, I see the problems without having that association as well as the knowledge and experience gained.

Membership alone in NSPE has value but where you really start learning is as a volunteer. It's hard to get people on board and moving towards common goals without management authority. It takes leadership skills because everyone else is a volunteer, too. Engineering is a profession that needs to be cared for and guided, which you'll learn through volunteering. It takes members and engaged members to accomplish that care and guidance. I have really enjoyed the engineers I've served with and what I've learned.

You never know what the future holds so plan for running your own company.

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

RE: I Passed the PE Exam! But what next?


My next thought was to improve my knowledge in this particular field, but that feels like a very vague goal.

Is it vague because there isn't anything you're interested in or because you find your current work too easy (not much left to learn)? In either case, its likely time for you to jump to another role, company, or industry. If you want to become a good engineer then you need to be in a role that will challenge you to learn and grow every day for the next decade or two, make you second-guess your ability, and force you to be truly creative by developing IP. Given that you pursued the HVAC PE as a "requirement" I'm going to guess you're in HVAC system design, not knocking it but most MEs move on to other roles pretty quickly out of boredom. Personally I would consider your life goals and work backward from there, work simply being the means of achieving them. I'd also highly recommend a decade or more bouncing between product design depts before pursuing a license.

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