I highly recommend that younger engineers and students take a few minutes to view Donna Bryant's interview as it clearly explains some of the reasons why every younger chemical engineer should consider the licensing pathway early in their careers.
I respectfully disagree with the comment: "Keep in mind that unless you plan to work in the public sector (hang out a shingle), a P.E. License is only a status symbol, amongst your peers at your company and amongst those you work with in other companies."Engineering licensure laws are not uniform throughout the US. Every state has the ability to define the "practice of engineering" for purposes of licensure differently. Also, every state has the ability to identify and define exemptions for the areas of practice that must be solely performed by a licensed engineer. I worked in private industry for several years and a P.E. license was required for roles and signing of designs, reports, and plans in several departments. A broad statement like "unless you plan to . . . hang out a shingle, a PE License is only a status symbol" is misleading to those considering whether or not to approach obtaining a license. Several commenters here have identified areas in their own practice where a PE was required for certain tasks or where it may not have been required but was a credential worth obtaining.There's another thread on this topic here as well.
To put the issue of Licensing and good practice into perspective, once I had been notified I earned my license, an older engineer put it simply:"Congratulations! In the eyes of the state, you are now minimally competent. Never forget that."
Any licensing or certification exam is simply an acknowledgement that you have met someone's idea of competence. It does not make you infallible.However, I have found that having the license makes me more aware of how everything I do on a project affects the other parts and the people down the road who will have to deal with my decisions.
Yes Divya....and that's a little like real life.
Let me assure everyone that the questions on computer based exams are still prepared by the same hardworking experienced PEs on the NCEES Exam Committees. The computer based aspect just improves the delivery efficiency and allows for greater flexibility in scheduling and gives a much faster feedback on the resuls.
Much of the effort to manage the engineering profession and the PE license is volunteer, and is in place to protect public safety. The cost to maintain a licensure infrastructure is very small. If something does go wrong.........everyone gets sued, whether one is licensed or not. The only difference is the statute that is invoked.Get the license.........it has paid me extraordinary dividends across my 40 year industrial career working for large multinationals. Bottom line, it quickened my learning curve and gave me opportunities that I would have never had.
I do not object to professional licensing. What I do find objectionable is that professional licensing (or licensing of any sort) is a politically-motivated scam and our educational systems are so bankrupt that people cannot (apparently) see the scam behind the practice. Errors are human; accidents are human-caused; licensing does nothing to mitigate these very real aspects of being human. If we fail to educate ourselves to recognize such fundamental faults, how can we expect to continue advancing complex sciences and technologies? Ultimately, the system must rationalize or it must fail. I prefer moving forward to failing. - Steve Osborne
John:This is my personal opinion. When I finished my M. Eng. in Chem. Engg. at Stevens Tech., I was tempted to take PE exam to see if this adds value to my professional career. I analyzed my career goals and tried to match with the tools that I needed. I wanted to go to the Technical mgmt. in large corporation after having experience in Process Engineering. This directed me towards MBA. When I worked for Exxon, my boss ( who was head of Chemical Engineering dept. at MIT before taking job at Exxon, advised me that the most critical part to be successful is to apply three chemical Engineering principles, continuity equation, mass balance and energy balance plant process and optimize the process.
To day, I am glad that after 30+ patents in improvements in plant Process Engineering, having high level technical management exposure and training engineers in top 100 corporations, I think I have achieved my goals. Thus having PE depends on your goals.
Regards,Sudhir Brahmbhatt Ph.D. MBA; President- Technology Services Inc.
Hasn't thought much about that aspect, Steve C.....being on the Ch.E. PE Exam Committee I know that the tests are very fair and not intended to be tricky. Although my career was mostly in management I was surprised when I joined the committee to see how much came back to me with just a little effort and a decent understanding of the fundamentals. Really I think that if you just take the exam somewhat seriously and do a moderate amount of work that you are very likely to pass. Of course, I would not recommend that anyone take the PE Exam if they are not willing to do a little extra work.