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Numbers of PE licensed Civil And Mechanical Engineers in the US

Numbers of PE licensed Civil And Mechanical Engineers in the US

Numbers of PE licensed Civil And Mechanical Engineers in the US

(OP)
Dear Engineers,

Happy new year to all!
As we all know that there are more PE licensed Civil Engineers (and Structural Engineers) than PE Mechanical Engineers. Can you help me find the statistics from a reputable source that shows what percent of Civil Engineers and what percent of Mechanical Engineers are PE licensed in the US and California especially? What is a trustworthy web site that have these statistics?

RE: Numbers of PE licensed Civil And Mechanical Engineers in the US

That will be impossible to find out. Licenses are administered by each state and you have to contact 50 State licensing agencies. Many states (like mine) don't have a discipline specific license. I did write the mechanical test, though. But in my State I can work in whatever I feel I'm qualified for. So in many cases there is no piece of paper that says what type of engineer one is.

I only know my State, but bet many States have similar services. Here you can pay the State to get contact data of all type of license holders. Like if you want to hire a Master Plumber, or PE of some sort, you can pay to get a large file with all license holder contacts. But again, this will only be as granular as they have licenses and in my State you only get all PE and not per discipline.

RE: Numbers of PE licensed Civil And Mechanical Engineers in the US

Mech5656,

I know lots of mechanical engineers who are not licensed. Can you even practise civil engineering without a license?

--
JHG

RE: Numbers of PE licensed Civil And Mechanical Engineers in the US

Best bet is likely to contact NCEES and see if they have data you can mine on number of people who have passed each discipline test. Then compare that to reputable employment surveys.

drawoh - you can, but it's rare. I've known a few who do it for big industrial sites and they manage to slip into the industrial exemption common in many states, but most who are not licensed work under the supervision of a PE. So yeah - very career limiting if you're a civil engineer without a license.

RE: Numbers of PE licensed Civil And Mechanical Engineers in the US

Quote (PharmENG)

but most who are not licensed work under the supervision of a PE

If, in this thread, we're using the term 'mechanical engineer' to describe someone who performs work that requires stamped drawings (building mechanical and HVAC, or whatever) sure.. but if you're talking everyone in the US who holds a BSME and designs machinery or whatever... the number of those people who are licensed or work for someone who is licensed is vanishingly small. I bet there are more unlicensed engineers working for GM and Ford than there are licensed mechanical engineers in the entire country.

RE: Numbers of PE licensed Civil And Mechanical Engineers in the US

SwinnyGG - I agree about mechanical engineers. Most fall under exemptions there. drawoh was asking about civil engineers who don't have a license.

RE: Numbers of PE licensed Civil And Mechanical Engineers in the US

I worked 14 years for a manufacturing firm as a machine designer. I was licensed for the last five years that I was there, but there was a senior engineer who was also licensed and so he was the primary signatory (I was their 'spare'). In 1980 I changed careers when I went to work for the company that had sold us our CAD/CAM software. For the first seven years I worked in sales and sales support so I kept my PE license up-to-date as it gave me more credibility with our customers even though I had no need for it in terms of the work that I was doing since we were selling the software to the engineering and manufacturing companies and not using it ourselves for any sort of 'hard' engineering. Even when I transferred to R&D I kept my license active, again because part of my role in the company was to interact with our customers on a global basis, so again, it helped with maintaining my credibility when dealing with engineers and engineering managers. Besides, the company reimbursed me for the annual renewal fee, so what the heck.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Numbers of PE licensed Civil And Mechanical Engineers in the US

I think OP is asking about actually State-licensed engineers that personally can stamp plans. Not people that just got the title from the company they work for. My employer, like many, has multiple engineer classifications and only the highest ones require a license (and they even circumvent that requirement by labelling it as some management thing).

NCEES likely only have data on PE that have registered with them to make multi-state licensing easier. People licensed only in one State likely don't bother spending that money. They likely have data on who passed the tests, but that doesn't mean that person met all other State-specific criteria to obtain or keep a license. I also hope they don't just give out personal data to everyone who pays a fee (like my State does)

RE: Numbers of PE licensed Civil And Mechanical Engineers in the US

NCEES administered their first national PE exam in 1966, though their more robust administration service to assist state boards didn't start until 2000. I'm not sure at what date you would say they had essentially universal buy in, but I'd imagine you'd have pretty good data on engineers who have passed a PE exam in the past 20 years from NCEES regardless of multi-state licensure services.

One issue would be states that let you take the exam before you're approved. I wasn't able to take the exam until I had conditional approval on my PE application (the condition being passing the exam). So I had to meet all the wickets first, and then pass the exam, so passing the exam was effectively the same as initial licensing for me. I'm not sure how many states let you take the exam before you do everything else, but I would be shocked if somebody went through the trouble of passing their exam and then didn't finish the paperwork.

RE: Numbers of PE licensed Civil And Mechanical Engineers in the US

Quote:

I bet there are more unlicensed engineers working for GM and Ford than there are licensed mechanical engineers in the entire country.

Its not uncommon for mega-corps to have more engineers than many states have licensed PEs. IME the bulk of the PEs in private industry tend to be folks who were promoted into sales, marketing, and other "non-technical engineering."

The problem with determining the OP's percentages isn't finding numbers of PEs, its finding numbers of engineers otherwise. Colleges proudly post engineering graduation figures but only a relatively small portion of them actually go into the profession, and that number is a guesstimate at best.

RE: Numbers of PE licensed Civil And Mechanical Engineers in the US

Where I went to school, one of the professors in the Electrical Engineering department was on the state licensing board. Every year, when the date for signing up for your EIT (Engineer in Training) exam was approaching, he would make it a point to visit at least one classroom for each engineering discipline, encouraging the graduating seniors to sign-up for the exam. I took his advice and signed up, took the exam, passing it on the first try (note that this was in 1971). I would say that a decent percentage of our graduates took at least that first exam before they graduated. Now I know a lot of people, at least in the Mechanical department, were planning on working in large companies like GM and Ford, and it those situations, the need for being licensed was just wasn't there. However, I was going to work for a smaller manufacturing company where, based on the fact that I had interned there for several Summers, I knew that the company occasionally needed a PE to sign-off on certain contracts, so I wanted to get my license as it would help me with the company I had already had an official job offer from. Note that I took and passed the second exam at the first opportunity after I had fulfilled the work experience requirement.

Now, there was not a big need for our company PE to sign-off on projects, but something would come up every couple of years or so, most often when we were installing some large piece of machinery in some place like California where the state had certain earthquake related safety issues since we manufactured large ovens, which were gas-fired, for commercial bakeries, and the piping and safety systems associated with these ovens had to be certified as having met the California codes.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Numbers of PE licensed Civil And Mechanical Engineers in the US

(OP)
Thanks to all who replied to this post. All answers were helpful and resourceful.

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