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Author: ThyPeace Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 1626  
Subject: How crazy am I? Date: 8/23/2013 10:21 PM
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I was a part of a discussion about obtaining professional engineering licensing recently. I am a kinda-engineer -- my undergraduate degree and a masters are in physics, and I also have a masters in industrial engineering. I have been a practicing industrial engineer for most of my career, but have never needed the hardcore math and analytic techniques I learned in school.

Even so, the discussion of professional licensure got me curious about whether I could do it. I took a look at some of the prep material and from what I can tell, I need about a year of steady refresher classes at the rate of roughly 4 hours per week, with maybe ten hours of homework per week. That wold help with everything that I learned once and have forgotten. There are many subjects that I don't know at all -- college biology and chemistry, for example, controls, and various other things.

I graduated from college 24 years ago, finished my last graduate degree 18 years ago.

Anyone else gone back and gotten licensed so late in the game?

ThyPeace, And I haven't even looked at the Industrial engineering questions yet...
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Author: mmrmnhrm Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1589 of 1626
Subject: Re: How crazy am I? Date: 8/23/2013 11:28 PM
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I'm only 10 years out of school, and I was struck with a similar "I don't remember how to do this / I don't remember ever having this in the first place" feeling. That said, it's probably a better question of whether or not the license is worthwhile for what you do or where you want to progress. In my case, it's (currently) useless. My company does not sign off on their own drawings, and has no desire/intention to start even if some of us got the PE. Most jobs I'd like to do fall into that same category... either the company doesn't want the liability of self-signing, or they'll go to a discipline specialist for their needs.

That said, there are some fields (architecture and civil engineering, forensic analysis, court-recognized "expert" testimony) where the PE is a hard and fast requirement. Whether or not you're going there, only you can say.

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Author: agg97 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1590 of 1626
Subject: Re: How crazy am I? Date: 8/24/2013 11:21 AM
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Anyone else gone back and gotten licensed so late in the game?

I didn't wait that long, but it was over 10 years from graduating to taking the PE exam. Your estimate for studying sound about right...I estimated it would take ~300 hours to sufficiently study for the exam. I passed it on the first try, and had plenty of time to spare on both the morning and afternoon sessions.

And I haven't even looked at the Industrial engineering questions yet...

I spent most of my study time working problems, and learning the re-learning the fundamentals as it related to each question. The key to the exam is speed...you have 6 minutes to answer each question on average. That may sound like a lot, but if you waste time looking for stuff in your reference material, it adds up fast.

I took the mechanical engineering exam, but I would guess there are equivalent prep materials for the industrial one as well. At a minimum, I would get the equivalent of the "Mechanical Engineering Reference Manual", the NCEES practice exam(s), and the "Six Minute Solutions" series for your trade.

Also, be sure to read the NCEES website about what's allowed in the exam room so you don't violate the rules in your prep. Most notably, you cannot have any pencil markings on any of your reference material.

Finally, get one of the required calculators early so you can get used to it. I got the HP one since I'm used to RPN. Any of them would work, though. All the questions were simple add/subtract/multiply/divide.

Good luck!

-Agg97

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Author: agg97 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1591 of 1626
Subject: Re: How crazy am I? Date: 8/24/2013 11:32 AM
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My company does not sign off on their own drawings, and has no desire/intention to start even if some of us got the PE. Most jobs I'd like to do fall into that same category... either the company doesn't want the liability of self-signing, or they'll go to a discipline specialist for their needs.

I happen to be on the construction side of things where stamps are more prominent. That said, I also worked for a company that didn't encourage getting our stamp. Even so, I went ahead and studied and passed the exam.

Looking back, I should have done it much sooner. The biggest change I found was the immediate respect when sitting in meetings with other stampers. When you stamp something, there's a tremendous amount of liability that goes along with it. If the guy or gal across the table knows that you have that same liability in the forefront of your mind, he/she will consider what you have to say with more weight behind it.

To date, I have yet to stamp a single thing. But I use my PE almost daily when talking and negotiating with people.

-Agg97

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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1592 of 1626
Subject: Re: How crazy am I? Date: 8/24/2013 2:05 PM
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I'm a chemist from an engineering school. As I recall in Missouri its a two stage open book exam. New graduates used to go in with a suitcase full of reference books to take the preliminary exam. I thought you took a follow-up exam after several years experience.

Are all states the same? Some better than others? Have the details changed?

When I got my home inspected in NJ, I asked for a PE. They found one.

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Author: mmrmnhrm Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1593 of 1626
Subject: Re: How crazy am I? Date: 8/24/2013 11:28 PM
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Pretty sure that's how most (all?) states are... you go in with x amount of virgin, unmarked reference material, or alternately your trade's standard material is provided by the testing location that morning, and take the FE exam. Then spend some years (two in Ohio, last I looked) "apprenticeship" under someone who already has their stamp, then take the PE exam.

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Author: agg97 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1594 of 1626
Subject: Re: How crazy am I? Date: 8/26/2013 12:17 PM
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As I recall in Missouri its a two stage open book exam. New graduates used to go in with a suitcase full of reference books to take the preliminary exam. I thought you took a follow-up exam after several years experience.

Are all states the same? Some better than others? Have the details changed?


With a very few exceptions, all states now follow the NCEES guidelines for getting your license. This helps tremendously when applying for a reciprocal license in a different state because you now have a common set of requirements and tests.

The "traditional" approach is to take the FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) exam within a year of graduating college. After 4 years of experience, submit your application along with a narrative of your experience (supplementary experience record). After you're approved, you then sit for the Principles and Practices Exam. After you pass that, then you earn your license. Some states have supplementary exams such as seismic structural in California.

There are other non-traditional ways...a masters degree allows you only need 3 years of experience instead of 4. If you have 8+ years of experience, you can get a waiver for the FE exam, etc.

-Agg97

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Author: Volucris Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1595 of 1626
Subject: Re: How crazy am I? Date: 9/2/2013 7:03 PM
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I'm late to the discussion. I graduated in '87 and got my PE in '94. I only studied for a couple of weeks, but I studied over 40 hours a week. I took the ME test. Best career move I ever did. I was laid off in '94 as well (thus the study time), the next job I had required a PE. The one I have now also requires a PE, and I am the only PE in my company. I stamp a drawing around once or twice a year.

We manufacture products used in civil construction. Having a PE when we are going in for an approval as an equal in a spec is incredibly helpful. Having a PE does garner a bit more respect.

Volucris, P.E.

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