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Professional Engineer - Exemptions, Perks, Etc.

Professional Engineer - Exemptions, Perks, Etc.

Professional Engineer - Exemptions, Perks, Etc.

So I recently discovered Professional Engineers can do 4-Point Inspections - which I was unaware of before.

Aside from consulting, what addition perks do PEs have?
Are there any exemptions from testing exams for say, a general contractors license?

Just wondering if there are any other hidden perks out there that aren't readily available via web search.
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RE: Professional Engineer - Exemptions, Perks, Etc.

Can't speak directly to electrical engineering (I don't even know what a 4-Point Inspection is), but generally no, you can't waive the GC exam if you have your PE. They are closely related but practically very different licenses.

In the structural world, the biggest perk of having your PE is the ability to get a job. Without it, good luck.

RE: Professional Engineer - Exemptions, Perks, Etc.

Quote (onemoredesignsllc)

Aside from consulting, what addition perks do PEs have?

As phamENG noted, a PE is not a waiver for a General Contractor's license. However, a GC with a PE does have subtle advantages (I met those conditions during my time as a Bridge Contractor)

  • Occasionally a GC will have to submit sealed plans for temporary work (say, complicated concrete forms or excavation shoring) to be reviewed by authorities... the GC can do this himself, instead of hiring a consultant.
  • In a (legitimate) technical dispute with the EOR, a GC with a PE is more likely to present valid argument.
In another career field, some industries that are exempt from PE licensing encourage (and pay accordingly) if their engineers obtain PE status. There are at least two reasons:

  • For example, electric utilities want to demonstrate to their customers (for public relations purposes) that they have a professional engineering staff.
  • Also, some work by electric utilities does require a PE. I had two projects that required PE design, both interfaced with railroad lines at our generating stations. I designed both projects in-house rather than having to hire a consultant.

www.SlideRuleEra.net idea

RE: Professional Engineer - Exemptions, Perks, Etc.

Something worth noting is that the PE laws require you to work in fields in which you are competent, so one qualification for doing something may be a PE license, but that doesn't mean everyone with a PE license is qualified to do it.

RE: Professional Engineer - Exemptions, Perks, Etc.

Ditto on SRE's and phamENG's comments. In my state, any electrical design which exceeds 600 amps requires a Licensed Professional Engineer.

As for the GC license/certification, having both is an advantage. I've had both for over 35 years. Since I do mostly forensic work, I often get asked in depositions or trial if I am qualified to make statements on a general contractor's performance. Once they learn that I've been a licensed GC for as long as I have, it solves the issue. Further, having both gives me an advantage in getting hired by clients.

One perc you might look into is that some states waive the experience requirement for a contracting license test for a licensed PE.

RE: Professional Engineer - Exemptions, Perks, Etc.

I get the perk of having less protection in the labour laws in my jurisdiction. I am not entitled to a overtime payrate by law working over so many hours a week as well as having the protection of only working so many hours per week.

I get to work 100 hr weeks on end with no legal right to get an overtime pay rate or be forced to take rest days.

Also not having the right to refuse work or take days off or claiming to be sick if there is an imminent danger to life which requires a professional engineer.

RE: Professional Engineer - Exemptions, Perks, Etc.

A pink star for JStephen.

Something which is often lost in consulting and contract engineering is the division of ethics and profitability. Not so simply stated, if you've never worked under the supervision of a professional experienced in that specific role then you cannot ethically (nor often legally) hang your shingle, much the same as when you have no intention of working in that field or have long been absent from it. If someone wants to expand from engineering into contracting or inspection work then by all means, but I would encourage them to go work under a licensed contractor or inspector for a few years first to learn what they don't know.

RE: Professional Engineer - Exemptions, Perks, Etc.

The answer is, it depends.

A P.Eng. license in Ontario, Canada for instance, doesn't entitle you to hang out your shingle- that requires not just a P.Eng. but a certificate of authorization. Nor does it entitle you to call yourself a consulting engineer- that is an additional designation that you must apply (and pay) for.

A P.Eng. license grants you the right to call yourself a professional engineer or engineer publicly. That's about it.

You can work as an employee without an engineering degree much less without a license. And in many fields of engineering, there is no demand-side legislation that grants any right to practice that non-licensed and non-engineers don't already have.

Basically here, it is a minimum necessary but insufficient step toward other things that actually grant meaningful rights to practice. It grants basically nothing useful on its own. It does however make it clearer to others that you have certain responsibilities toward them and the public that you don't so clearly have without a license. So for most of us, it's a right to pay a fee and to call ourselves what it says on our university degree.

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