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PE or not PE

  • 1.  PE or not PE

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 9 days ago
    Hi Everybody,

    I have been working for 20 +years as a ChE and recently I am wondering whether I should get a PE license.

    So my questions are:
    1)  Do I need to take the FE or EIT exam first and then work with a PE for 5 years, then take the PE exam.
    2)  Or can I get my work experiences to exempt my FE test and the 5 years work experience requirement, and just take the PE exam.
    3)  Forget about PE license and get other license like PMP (Project Management Professional).
    4)  What is my fellow ChE think?

    ------------------------------
    Stuart Chan
    Southern Cal
    MS ChE
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: PE or not PE

    Posted 9 days ago
    It probably depends on the state. After 23 years, I took my FE and then the P.E. 6 months later in Louisiana.

    — Mike Clay —




  • 3.  RE: PE or not PE

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 2 days ago
    Thank you so much..

    ------------------------------
    Stuart Chan

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  • 4.  RE: PE or not PE

    LOCAL SECTION OFFICER
    Posted 8 days ago
    Hi Stuart,

    I'm pleased to hear that you are considering obtaining your PE, even belatedly.  Your post lists SoCal, so I presume it would be a California license.  Engineering is one of some 43 professions licensed in California by the Department of Consumer Affairs.  Unlike engineering, the PMP you mention has no legal status in California.

    As mentioned elsewhere, the requirements do vary somewhat from state-to-state.  You can find the California Engineers' Act in the Business and Professions Code, https://bpelsg.ca.gov.  Code Sections 6751, 6753 and 6755 should provide the information you are looking for.  If not, call their toll-free number.  Good luck.

    Regards,
    Emmett Miller, PE

    ------------------------------
    Emmett Miller PE, FAIChE
    Consulting Engineer
    Emmett R Miller, PE
    Lafayette CA
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: PE or not PE

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 2 days ago
    Thank you so much..

    ------------------------------
    Stuart Chan

    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: PE or not PE

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 8 days ago
    ​Definitely check with your licensing office in your state of residence.

    You likely can take the P.E. without taking the F.E. based on experience; however, I am not familiar with CA requirements.

    In MD, my state of residence, I am eligible to take the exam this fall as I will have 12 years of experience (they count 4 for your degree).  I never took the F.E., but if I had, I could have taken the P.E. earlier in my career.

    Bob Katin offers a P.E. review course in the state of CA you may want to check out:

    ChE Principles, Professional Engineering, PE Exam - Katin Engineering Consulting
    Katinengineering remove preview
    ChE Principles, Professional Engineering, PE Exam - Katin Engineering Consulting
    Katin Engineering Consulting.
    View this on Katinengineering >



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    Kevin Poff
    Chemical Engineer
    ECBC
    APG, MD
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  • 7.  RE: PE or not PE

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 7 days ago
    I know the rules vary from state to state, but it is my understanding that even if you do have to take the FE, you don't have to wait 4 years (or 5 as you stated) to take the PE.  To my understanding, most states require 4 years of experience after completing the an ABET accredited bachelor degree program, 3 years after an MS in engineering, and 2 years post graduation experience if you have a PhD.

    As to whether you should is a more complicated question.  I would never discourage anyone who wants to be licensed PE.  However, if you are working in a manufacturing environment with no desire to ever work for a engineering design firm, or do any consulting, either through another firm or being self-employed, then I would not spend a lot of time trying to convince you to be licensed.  Disadvantages include license renewal fees, and the cost and hassles of meeting the continuing education requirements.  Not to mention the effort involved on preparing you PE application, which includes locating and getting references from previous supervisors, as well as the effort involved studying for the FE/PE exam(s).

    If you do want to do any consulting, I would highly recommend being licensed.  If you are not licensed, you can get into splitting hairs in determining what you are legally allowed to do.  In most stated, you can get into trouble for using the engineering title in a consulting role if you are not licensed.

    ------------------------------
    Arnold Harness PE
    Chemical Engineer
    High Plains Bioenergy
    Overland Park KS
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  • 8.  RE: PE or not PE

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 2 days ago
    Thank you much.

    ------------------------------
    Stuart Chan
    S Cal
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: PE or not PE

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 7 days ago
    Every state has their own licensing Board and unique application process and decision rules.

    From personal experience for applicants I wrote recommendations supporting their applications I know Idaho and North Carolina accepted 10+ years of work experience to allow the applicant to skip the FE exam and sit for the PE exam  (both passed and are now licensed PE's).   The one in Idaho was a PhD ChE who worked at the Idaho National Lab for several years and then became a faculty member at the University of Idaho and taught for 6+ years before applying to take the licensing exam.   The one in North Carolina was a BS EE who worked for about 15 years at the University of Idaho ChE Dept as a research associate and process control instructor before returning to his original home state to care for aging parents and join a consulting firm.

    Most states interpret the 4+ years of experience as doing engineering work under the supervision of a licensed PE (or at a company with an engineering license) after earning an ABET accreditted BS Engineering degree, a graduate degree counts as 1 year of experience regardless of how many years of graduate study and how many graduate degrees you have.   Once upon a time, decades ago, Idaho allowed an applicant to take both the FE and PE exam the same weekend (the PE on Friday and FE on Saturday); but now the FE must be passed ~6 months prior to applying top take the PE unless they waive the FE requirement.

    Check with the PE licensing Board in the state you want to become licensed in to find out their specific criteria and application process.

    ------------------------------
    David Drown PE
    Emeritus Professor
    University of Idaho
    Moscow ID
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  • 10.  RE: PE or not PE

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 2 days ago
    Thank you so much

    ------------------------------
    Stuart Chan

    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: PE or not PE

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 6 days ago
    Edited by Gregory Alexander 6 days ago
    I will not repeat the good advice already given, but I hope my own experience (based on advice I was given) is helpful.

    "The earlier the better. The longer you wait, the farther away you are from academic training and the more difficult it becomes. And you never know where your career might take you." In graduate school, a professor strenuously encouraged us to become PEs with this reasoning.  I followed his advice, becoming a PE in my state of residence at the time of my first post-graduate job, Missouri.  The renewal fees there are quite modest, and I have kept it current for these 30 years since, during subsequent moves to Minnesota, Belgium, and Illinois.

    What did it do for me in the corporate world? Not much, other than the surprise at Eastman, when they took the legally risk-averse decision of not allowing anybody without a PE license to put "Engineer" on a business card. This made many PhD Engineers there quite huffy. They might have rescinded the decision by now; I departed that company in 2004.

    Upon facing retirement and considering some possible consulting work, I pursued and gained license by comity in my current state of residence, so I am now a PE in MO and in IL. This situation does require
    - a number of PDU (professional development units) every 2 years
    - renewal fees in both states
    Renewal fees in IL are not so bad either.  I find the PDUs are a way of maintaining curiosity and knowledge about trends and new happenings in the field. You can rack up a lot of PDUs simply by attending AIChE and other meetings and by participating in various webinars on the AIChE site.

    I did consider pursuing the PMP certification, but was put off by the onerous application process. Several people advised me that with my experience, my PhD and my PE, the extra letters at the end of my name were probably not worth the bother to support my goals, even though a focus of my consulting work is in Project Management (especially as applied to New Product and Process Development). I might regret the decision not to pursue that; I now wish I had pursued it earlier. But then again - more PDU requirements.  And the consulting work in project management training and mentoring is so far is causing me to receive a C plus or D minus in retirement.  I think that the PE license does add credibility to my brand, balancing the practical with the academic PhD piece.

    I hope this helps.

    ------------------------------
    Gregory Alexander, PhD, PE
    Real World Quality Systems
    Crystal Lake IL
    https://realworldquality.com
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  • 12.  RE: PE or not PE

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 6 days ago
    Looks like you already have great answers on the "how", but less feedback on the "why".

    I worked for engineering companies for 43 years, and had my PE license for nearly 30. I used it exactly twice, both times for environmental permit documents. And the 2nd time barely counted, as the project was canceled the day after i signed.

    That being said, the license will:
    • Be a resume plus, increasing your employability
    • Allow you to work in states where a license is required to practice any engineering (North Carolina, for example)
    • Increase your value on a project where only certain documents need a PE stamp

    There have been several discussions in this forum on the value or need for a PE. My personal observation is that more jurisdictions are requiring it, on more and more types of documents. If you are in a position where it is not needed, and plan to stay there for the rest of your career, then it is nothing to be concerned about. But those are two large ifs.
    And if your current employer will reimburse you for the cost of getting and maintaining it, then I would not hesitate.

    ------------------------------
    Alexander Smith PE
    Littleton MA
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  • 13.  RE: PE or not PE

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 2 days ago
    Thank you so much.

    ------------------------------
    Stuart Chan

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