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Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application
3

Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

(OP)
I have a bachelor's in Physics from University of Wisconsin, a master's in civil (structural) from Marquette University, and 5 years work experience. Illinois said they would consider a bachelor's in civil from Marquette to be worth (4) years of experience, but they said a master's in civil (structural) from Marquette is worth nothing. Does anyone have any idea how to appeal the committee's decision? Illinois told me their is no way to appeal, but I would like to spend some time and resources fighting. Any tips anyone has for me would be greatly appreciated.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

We have similar issues with certain colleges in this part of the world too. The content and quality of some college courses, very few, is not considered to meet the standards of some institutions and the degree is therefore not recognised.

There may be other, longer routes, to chartership. But your appeal sill likely fall on deaf ears.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

IL looks for structural specific design courses over and above the general physics and mechanics of materials type courses. A degree in physics doesn’t offer many of those. I’m not sure what you needed for an MSCE degree at Marquette, but maybe that coursework wasn’t rigorous enough in structural design classes.

You might get them to tell you exactly what counts and what doesn’t from your transcript, but it is highly unlikely they will change their minds. IL is legendary in this regard.

I had been a structural PE in responsible charge in a neighboring state for 20+ years and passed the SE II exam on my first go, essentially without studying (all hand-written, SE II passing % rates were in the mid-teens at the time). I proudly went to IL to show them what I had done. IL wouldn’t accept my application because 25 years earlier I took the Civil PE exam rather than the SE I exam (I don’t remember the SE I even being offered then). I found this very odd. I should have just ponied up and taken the SE I right then I suppose, but IL licensure wasn’t critical to my work stream. It was just a matter of pride.

This seems a little high and mighty for a State who has had 5 of their last 7 governors serve time in jail for corruption! Plus this State is broke. C’est la vie!

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

2
It probably has to do with ABET accreditation. ABET accredits bachelors and masters programs separately. Just because the BSCE is accredited, doesn't mean the MSCE is. Most states only accept ABET accredited course work/degree programs. I just checked - Marquette's MSCE is not listed on ABET's webiste.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

And further, ABET will only accredit either a BS or MS program from any one university. Not both. So most universities choose to have the BS accredited.

----
just call me Lo.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

I had similar experience when I applied for my local engineering licence (PEO) … overseas education, 10+ years experience. They wanted me to do a bunch on exams … Eff that ! So they said "ok, sit a board interview". So I sat the interview, spoke with three guys (engineers I guess) who had no idea about my field. One of the best stories I have from my career is this interview … I was explaining some of the work I'd been doing (on aircraft) "on a nacelle"; one guy asked "nacelle ? what's that ?", I looked at him and (with a straight face) said "where the engine is, like on Star Trek".

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

It sounds like you can burn a lot of time appealing, just miss the test deadline and get the commensurate experience in the meantime.
It's funny, they easily took my BS and ME from my school. From the University of Illinois lol

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

That's kind of interesting because IIRC, their educational requirements border on what you would expect for a masters.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

Quote (JNLJ)

IL is legendary in this regard.

Yuppers. My Illinois story:

1) No interest in my M.Sc from Marquette. Back to the ABET thing.

2) Said my no-name Canadian B.Eng was worthless because the courses didn't have enough hours. Got this straightened eventually as we just report hours differently in Canada.

3) Eventually did accept my no-name Canadian B.Eng. Again with the ABET. According to some accord, CBET = ABET. And IL WILL follow their own rules without fuss.

4) Zero credit for the first two years of my B.Eng because that was really a three year tech school thing. Fair enough.

5) I've written,and received, a lot of letters from IL. Not a group that responds, in any way, to applied persuasion. They do it their way, at their pace.

6) I got it done but it was nearly a four year thing start to finish.

7) One year when I was dealing with some time consuming health stuff, I accidentally let my IL expire. I won't ever, ever do that again even if I'm concurrently dying of pancreatic cancer and tied up in some cave in Afghanistan. Full on audits on my CE etc and threats to have me do it again from scratch.

Frustrating as it's been, I do applaud their efforts to protect structural's little monopoly in IL. I've made some easy money designing scraps of metal stuck to the sides of cell phone towers just because my clients didn't have an SE in house and couldn't find one externally willing to demean themselves by doing such unglamorous work. Fortunately, KootK likes money. And needs to make up some serious ROI on his IL license.



RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

Illinois does not take master degree into account, bachelor degree in Civil Engineering is the key. You shall try to apply for Illinois' EIT exam, if permitted, then apply for SE exam. A PHD friend of mine went through exactly that route, as his undergraduate work was oversea.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

Architects can still be SE's in IL, right? There were times when I wondered if that might not be the easier route.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

It was the same for Architects, enough credits on Civil studies and passing EIT.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

Another way maybe feasible. If you have PE from any states that having reciprocity agreement with Illinois, most of Midwest states do.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

I guess things have changed a lot since I got my PE. Are you saying they will accept a 4 year bachelors degree as being equal to 4 years of work experience in the field you are getting a license in? Or are you saying they will accept it as 4 years of education?

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

Ron247, thought I was the only person wondering that. Work experience counts; degree shows you aren't self-taught from World Trade Centre websites.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

@ the OP.....at least you won't have to worry about renewal. (The good news.) I just got renewal notification via e-mail for Ill. and (on top of all the other CE requirements) there is now a "1-hr Sexual Harassment Prevention Training" CE requirement.

I can just imagine some of the questions on that quiz. lol

Now I have to find a provider that has such a course.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

WARose, SEAOI has a free harassment Training module for members. They charge $50 for non members.
Who knew I'd have to be trained on something that I'm already good at?

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

There's a joke in there, but I figured that a muddy puddle best left be.

Best regards - Al

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

Quote:

They charge $50 for non members.

$50 for one CEU? Don't like it.....but may not have a choice as my normal provider has no such course.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

This type of action was the first time I realised the professional associations weren't 'worth the powder to blow....'. We had a new student in Class in first or second year. The association would not recognise his degree, but the university would. The association insisted he take a year of engineering at university. He graduated with a masters. It was only running into him about a decade later that I found out the story of why he left our class.

Has anyone done a statistical analysis to see if PDH works... has there been a marked improvement in the profession after it was implemented? If not, engineers continue to waste 1000s of hours complying to it. I bet you there has been 0 change...

Dik

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

Quote (That's probably because only a minority takes it seriously.)


Trivial solution... 0 is still 0.

Dik

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

The pdh requirement is another decision point for retirees to keep their license active.
    Do you want to pay the money?
    Do you want to keep up pdhs?
Whether or not that's a good thing is for others to discuss.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

My license is put on "inactive" list.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

I should have kept up my registrations in Ontario and Saskatchewan... bad decision.

Quote (@ the OP.....at least you won't have to worry about renewal. (The good news.) I just got renewal notification via e-mail for Ill. and (on top of all the other CE requirements) there is now a "1-hr Sexual Harassment Prevention Training" CE requirement.)


The profession gets sillier and sillier... used to be run by rational engineers, as I recall...

Dik

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

I guess Illinois is a tough place. About 40 years ago one of my coworkers complained that IL wouldn’t give him an SE by reciprocity in the 50’s even though he had a N.Y. P.E.

Dik - I agree with your thoughts about the effectiveness of PDH requirements. Although I am a PDH junkie.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

Quote (Although I am a PDH junkie.)


I usually have 3 or 4 times the number of hours req'd... bit of an info junkie myself.

Dik

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

Yes. Illinois is very rigid on licensing. It allows PE-PE through Reciprocity, with States it has agreement, only. Since IL does not honor SE from other states, so it does not allow out of state SE to IL PE/SE through reciprocity. IL PE and SE can only obtained through state sponsored examination. I am not aware whether it had agreement with NY or not in the 50s, the rule might have changed/relaxed.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

Quote (retired13)

Since IL does not honor SE from other states, so it does not allow out of state SE to IL PE/SE through reciprocity. IL PE and SE can only obtained through state sponsored examination

I don't believe this is correct. I got my SE in another state and got it transferred to IL 3-4 years ago. Did not have to take any examinations. With the SE exam nationwide now, just the NCEES SE exam is all you need from a testing standpoint.

Had education from UIllinois so that was easy. Main hangup was clarifying how my supervisor had actually supervised me when his address was thousands of miles away from mine (I had moved). Other than that, pretty painless. Took several months just because they move slow and one of my letters apparently got lost in the mail somewhere. Got delivery confirmation the second time around and no issues.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

Quote (R13)

....the rule might have changed/relaxed.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

The linked document is the latest Illinois SE licensure information. Link

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

PDH should be required for the first 20 years of practice. After that, any additional learning should be left to the professional judgment of the engineer. Most engineers are doing the same thing over and over by the time they are 20-25 years post-bachelors.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

(OP)
Thanks for all your thoughts everyone. Does anyone have an idea of which SE states are generally considered less finicky? Wisconsin PE is very similar to Illinois SE in education and work requirements, but Wisconsin had no problem granting me my PE license with my education. I'm looking at Hawaii's requirements now, and it's not clear if my background is sufficient, but it at least seems to recognize Master's degrees.

Ron247, Illinois accepts an ABET accredited bachelor's degree as 4 years experience. They gave me 0 years experience for my bachelor's in Physics with my master's in Civil (structural). Illinois said I can have my license when I get 8 years experience.

retired13, I already passed the SE exam. I took it in Wisconsin. How will applying for the EIT exam help fulfill Illinois education/experience requirements? I will ask Illinois if this is a route.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

Mike,

If you have passed WI exam, try licensure through comity or reciprocity for IL PE, then take SE exam in Illinois. I believe WI does not have separate license for PE and SE, as both candidates take the same exam for the first half, then choice specialty for the second part (a one day event as most of the states). However, the IL SE exam is a two days event, the first day tests structural engineering fundamentals, the second day is structural design, including seismic in the afternoon. Before retiring, I knew only 3 states had separate PE and SE license - NY, CA and IL. Things might have changed thereafter then.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

(OP)
retired13,

Yes, structural engineers in Wisconsin are only required to pass the PE exam, which tests breadth of all civil engineering topics in the morning, and only structural topics in the afternoon.

Yes, structural engineers in Illinois are required to pass the SE exam. The first morning is "vertical" "breadth". The first afternoon is "vertical" "depth". The second morning is "lateral" "breadth". The second afternoon is "lateral" "depth". Seismic is rampant the whole second day. I believe things have changed quite a bit with quite a few states now offering the SE designation. I started the attached map myself (not sure if the attachment will work). Orange states offer it. Blue states don't. If anyone knows of a more complete list or map let me know.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

Here is a good listing from NCSEA of different states and how they handle the SE. The summary map is below:



Nevada has come up in different circles as being pretty reasonable and straightforward for obtaining an SE license.

Mike, I do not believe CO has any recognition for the SE (although they will let you sign up to take the test there!)

----
just call me Lo.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

Per Lo's map posted above, Oklahoma is also a Partial Practice Act state now.

Harbor Compliance seems to be one of the better resources for staying up-to-date and putting all of the pertinent information in one place for every state, https://www.harborcompliance.com/information/engin...

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

My problems with licensure have been similar--however, I am an Illinois SE!
* Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies, University of Illinois, 1984 (non-ABET degree)
* Master of Architecture, Structures Option, University of Illinois, 1986 (non-ABET degree)
* Was allowed to take, and subsequently passed, the Illinois SE Exam, 1992
* Received Illinois SE license, 1993
* Received Wisconsin PE by reciprocity, 1994 (note--if I tried to do this today, I would be denied)
* Applied for Iowa PE license and was denied, 2016
* Appealed to Iowa Board, actually appeared before Board in person, and was again denied licensure, 2016

My point is not to bore you with my licensure history, but if it is of some help, great!

My words of advice to the OP:
* Don't bother appealing, it will be a waste of time.

My beef:
* Licensing boards see everything in black and white terms. If you don't precisely meet their requirements, no matter how talented, educated, or experienced you are, you are denied licensure. I think this is flat out wrong. The Iowa Board literally told me, "our hands are tied." I felt like saying, "How can that be? You are the Board!"

DaveAtkins

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

DaveAtkins, I was in the same situation as you (passed the Illinois SE), but then, without any encouragement from my employer, decided to sit for the Illinois PE. I had never tried for reciprocity at that time, but I saw that it might be an issue in the future. The PE turned out to be the Golden Ticket. The bureaucrats that get the reciprocity forms have a box they can check. Now I have a whole wall of PE certificates.
Now this was a long time ago (my license numbers are in the single digits lol), so the PE might not be as easy as it used to be, but it removes the annoyance of having to explain that the SE is an engineering license to someone who could care less.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

(OP)
DaveAtkins,

Thanks for the history. Sounds like the red tape in Illinois has increased a lot since 1993. What was Iowa's issue?

Exactly, it seems like some boards either have their hands tied, or are too lazy to fix their own rules by which our applications are evaluated. I noticed some boards have fine print that essentially says they're willing to consider a master's degree if it's from a school that offers an ABET bachelor's degree. No such luck in Illinois.

Unfortunately by not fixing themselves as times change it's a lose-lose situation. It wastes engineers' time and money applying, and it fails the public in the exact duty the board has been taxed with: to make sure the most qualified individuals get licensed. I knew a lot of undergrads when I was getting my master's at Marquette. And they were smart kids, but obviously had less structural knowledge than me since I studied nothing but structures for 2 years, whereas they had to fill 90% of their curriculum with civil, water resources, fluid dynamics, transportation, history, literature, social/behavioral sciences, biology, chemistry, art, philosophy, racial/women's studies, etc. When I set foot in a building in Illinois, I feel great comfort knowing Marquette Master's degrees have been barred while Marquette Bachelor's degrees have licenses, all else being equal.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

The problem with the system is that while the board meets and makes policy once a long while, the execution is carried out by the government workers, whom may only have HS diploma, that in no way know how to evaluate your qualification item by items, so the check box is the only solution.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

That map is interesting in that I've heard that Georgia just did some sort of practice act that will require a SE designation for certain structures.

That's the second time they've messed around with the structural requirements over about the last 5 years.

I've got a e-mail to them to ask what it will take to have this designation added to my license.

This is becoming rocket science fellas. smile

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

I don't know if this is the fact, that the reluctance to honor the master degree is because the programs (differ by school) are not uniformly structured (nationwide) as opposed to the undergraduate programs. Also, the thesis option hurts. I remember I was advised by my professor not to take that route, if a career in academic wasn't my final goal/interest.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

Quote (WARose)

Don't wait to do that...they're grandfathering PE's into SE's right now, but only until 1/1/21.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

Quote:

Don't wait to do that...they're grandfathering PE's into SE's right now, but only until 1/1/21.

I've heard that. I'll keep bugging them. I'm not that worried though as it appears they are recognizing the old SE I&II exams. (I've also been registered in Ga for about 12 years now.)

But I'll keep after them.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

diverging from the OP thread.... it's hard to be a Civil Engineer anymore. Structural Engineering acts like it isn't Civil Engineering anymore. Landscape Architecture claims the site plans as their specialty. MEP engineers have taken over most of the the major utility work as everything has moved deeper and deeper into controls. :)

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

If you want to move up, duel licensing in Civil and Structural is almost a most.

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

My issue is I do not hold an ABET accredited degree. I do not think that should be the only route to showing you are a qualified structural or civil engineer, but most State boards do not agree with me.

I agree with phamENG--the issue is the Marquette Master's degree is not ABET accredited. I recommend reading the entire statute, all the rules, to see if there is a category you can squeeze into.

DaveAtkins

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

DaveAtkins,

I don't quite understand your problem. If you were allowed to take SE exam, didn't it permitted you to take IL PE as well? Are you holding IL PE too?

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

A State (e.g., Iowa) will not grant a PE license simply because you pass an NCEES test. If that were the case, I would have taken any exam they required of me. A PE license is granted based on EDUCATION, experience, and examination. My non-ABET degrees do not qualify me for PE licensure in most states. I obtained my PE license in Wisconsin before Wisconsin changed the rules.

There was a time when you could get a license to practice architecture, for example, with a high school diploma and tons of experience. No college education, no examination. Those days are long past...

DaveAtkins

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

There are still states out there that allow for PE licensing based on experience and exam only. For example, CO allows this with 12 years experience: https://dpo.colorado.gov/AES/EngineerApplications

*edit* Upon rereading your post I see that you also excluded passing an exam - yeah, I'm not aware of any state that allows this still

RE: Illinois won't accept my education toward my SE application

Here in Virginia, there are a few (painful) routes for non-ABET graduates. If you have a 4 year degree from an engineering or engineering technologies curriculum and you managed to take the FE, you need 10 years of experience. If you didn't pass the FE, it's 20 years of experience.

I'm pretty sure we still have a regulation in Richmond that allows attorneys to "read law" and then take the bar without ever setting foot in a law school.

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