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PE Application - Experience Record

PE Application - Experience Record

PE Application - Experience Record

Hello everyone,

I am working through my application for initial licensure in Alabama. I'm digging back through old notes for details and summarizing my couple-weeks-shy-of-four-years experience. I passed the PE a couple years ago when they allowed you to take it before completing your experience.

On the Board's website, they provide some guidelines on writing this record, particularly around not just listing projects. For reference, the FAQ is here and the application itself is here. I understand the desired format to be a narrative style of "I designed X with result Y using Z methods." I have three related questions:

1) What is a target length of this experience record?
2) What is the level of detail needed? Should I go step by step through each individual project (ex. I estimated the acquired the material properties and performed a transient conduction analysis through the product to determine the heat loss, and then I...) or summarize each project in a few sentences (ex. I determined the required fluids, located tie ins, and routed all utility piping for an FEL 2 cost estimate for...)
3) Should I include every single project I have worked on, only "big" ones, or just select a few worth mentioning ones from each engagement?

I appreciate the input!

RE: PE Application - Experience Record

See my response to this similar question a few years ago: https://www.eng-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=381490
(my post is the 6th one in this thread).

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

RE: PE Application - Experience Record

Not familiar with Alabama in particular, but when I filled out my experience record I made sure to list each major project include the start and end dates and also made special mention if any applicable codes and/or standards used along with the "I designed X..." statements. Some states are particular about showing these national standards as part of the experience records.

I would summarize the main focus for each project in at least 3-4 sentences and then supplement as necessary. It is better to have more information than not enough. Also do NOT use certain phrases like "I oversaw" as they seem to not like phrases that do not express any direct action oriented engineering experience.

Not sure if you are applying through the NCEES portal or not, but I would recommend it. I applied for my original license with paper and it took forever. When I applied for comity in multiple other states, with the digital NCEEs record, I didn't have to resend transcripts, test scores and bother people for references again. Also if you get the "MLE" designation you are basically fast tracked with the application process.

Not making a decision is a decision in itself

RE: PE Application - Experience Record

Thanks for the link and the pdf!

3-4 sentences would be pretty short but that gives me a good go-by. As for the NCEES bit, Alabama requires a paper application for initial licensure, though I can use my NCEES education verification since they used that for my EI. I'll definitely set it up after this first go-around.

I'll see if I can get more exact dates from my notebooks. Always trying to get more diligent with that documentation.

RE: PE Application - Experience Record

On mine, long ago and a different state, I went into some detail on several different "typical" projects. But that would vary depending on how the work flow is. If you're doing a different project every week, they don't expect you to write up 200 projects. You could conceivably work on one "project" the entire time, too.
Also, try to show a progression of responsibility and capability through the 4 years.

RE: PE Application - Experience Record

Thanks again everyone for the input. As a follow up, I got the notification this evening that I got my license so all the advice worked out.

RE: PE Application - Experience Record

@EngrPaper, I recently took my FE exams (Nov) and I'm currently applying for E.I (Alabama). I would like to know when they start counting the experience for P.E. I graduated this Summer and worked for about 3 months before the exams. Will the experience prior to the exams be counted or the one after I'm done applying as E.I with the state or after I passed the exam? I completed grad school so I know I get 1 year off (meaning 3 out of the 4). Also I'm international person so my experience from my country doesn't count.

Also a friend from school said it not really necessary to apply for E.I with the state after passing FE (regardless I am going to apply), are there any "consequences" if he doesn't apply?

RE: PE Application - Experience Record

Typically the experience is while you work as engineer after graduating from the accredited engineering school (BS). You can write the FE exam at the end of your school work, or a month before the PE test. All you really need to do it pass it by the time you apply for the PE exam. In the past the FE exam was allowed to be taken before you completed your BS coursework (but this may have changed)

There isn't a real benefit to apply for the EIT license - it is meaningless since it allows you to do nothing. ?it is just a way to people you are at least on track to get licensed. but legally it means zero. More a resume booster. At least in my State. Your employer may require it for certain career progressions, though.

RE: PE Application - Experience Record

NicOkai - it varies by state, so you should check with your licensing board. Don't be afraid to talk to them - most I've dealt with have been quite helpful (except DC - they won't return my calls or emails).

I've been expanding my range lately and applying for comity/reciprocity/endorsement/whatever each state wants to call it to get licenses elsewhere. At least one - I think it was South Carolina - wanted my EIT registration number. So not getting it may be limiting in some areas.

I agree with EP that it can be a good resume booster and negotiating tool. A lot of firms will have separate job openings for "graduate engineer" and "Engineer in Training" - the EIT spot gets paid more. Maybe not a lot more, but probably worth the 15 minutes and nominal fee to submit a form. Check with your school - my Civil Engineering Department submitted them for us.

As for experience during an internship, check with the board. Here in my home state, the board has the authority to consider time prior to graduation. There's no guarantee, but if you were an engineer in another country doing the same kind of work (and can prove it) and held an internship with real work before graduating (making coffee is important, but doesn't count), they'll probably give you some credit for the internship if your state law gives them the latitude to do so.

RE: PE Application - Experience Record

@NicOkai, following what EnergyProfessional said, your experience begins usually with post-bachelor work (or in your case, graduate + work). No worries on the time between graduation and your FE exam. I took mine maybe 6 months or so after graduating. What I found difficult was making sure that my experience counted. You need a PE who can verify your work experience - this person needs to be your supervisor or a close coworker with knowledge of your work. That was a strong consideration for me in where I would/could work.

As for the EI, there's no consequences of not having but it does knock out some of the needed information for the PE application so that was helpful. For instance, I didn't have to resubmit my education credentials to the board since they already had verified them through my EI.

RE: PE Application - Experience Record

Quote (EngrPaper)

You need a PE who can verify your work experience

Again, verify with your state because it varies some, but generally the rule is a minimum of 3 PE references and somebody who can verify your work experience. The verification of work experience doesn't necessarily have to be a licensed engineer. I went through this because I got a really nice job offer out of school doing structural engineering for a building component manufacturer. They had no PE on staff, but had several consultants with whom I'd work on a nearly daily basis. I talked with one of our board members directly, described the situation, and he told me that my supervisor could verify the experience and the PEs could write references. Some states have an additional two references, but they don't have to be licensed.

For what it's worth, I haven't applied in Alabama or Texas so I don't know what the specific rules are where you two are.

RE: PE Application - Experience Record

Thanks @EngrPaper, I have worked with P.Es and S.E, currently working mainly under two P.Es. Hopefully they should be around during my time of application to verify my work experience. I have submitted my master's transcript to NCEES, my undergrad is still on the way (they prefer hardcopy if from outside U.S).

Thanks @phamEng, fortunately for me, I am working on a big project so I'm closely working with 4 P.E throughout the project.

Thank you guys for your advice!

RE: PE Application - Experience Record

@phamENG, generally true about not necessarily a licensed engineer. Alabama has a provision that is essentially "if we would license this person, then they can verify your experience." I do not know for sure if that includes them having taken exams, verifiable experience, etc. but I assume it does. For instance, one of my verifiers used to have his PE, but let it lapse. He was still able to verify my experience since he met the "license-able" criteria for the board. But in general, Alabama is the standard PE verification on each engagement and 5 references, 3 of which have to be PEs.

RE: PE Application - Experience Record

I don't know about other states. But here in WI you need 3 PEs as a reference that basically say you are a good engineer and deserve to be a PE (you need 5 references in total, only 3 have to be PE). This has nothing to do with verifying the number of of years you worked. Those 3 PEs may only have worked with you on a project etc. Our State has specific form for those references to fill out and I think it even includes grades. I think the guidance was those PEs have to have worked with you or know your work in some sort of work capacity. Don't need to be your supervisors. I know for sure, since my direct supervisor at the time wasn't even an engineer and I had to go higher up the food chain. You also can get a reference from consultants you hire if they know your work, but this is conflict-of-interest territory. I know people who had done that and ended up regretting that for years since they felt they owed them something.

The list of experience (4+ years) is filled out by the applicant. I don't recall there being a specific requirement who certifies that. But an employer for sure could verify if one was employed and what role one played. That doesn't have to be a PE. But that part was independent of the above reference.

Must have been 10 years ago for me. Things may have changed. I think you should look at your State's website and review all the forms and other documents. If there are questions, ask them directly. There will be applicants that don't exactly fall into one of the standard groups and you can petition for alternatives. I know someone who got a PG (geologist) but had recently moved to the state. So he didn't have State-side PG references and the ones he had in this State were PE and he could use the out-of State PG and local PE as reference after petitioning for that. You also can ignore what staff says if their advice is impossible to follow and just apply - the board then will decide and may allow something the staff would not have.

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