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Re: Advice SE vs. PE

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My advice would be to take the Civil exam first and then take the
Structural as soon as you feel ready.

Personally I passed the Oregon CE exam in 1984 and the SE in 1993.
According to my understanding of the Oregon Engineering registration laws
you could be an acoustical engineer and design a 10 story building.
However you better be sure that you are competent to do the work you are
doing.  As with all engineering work your neck is on the line with every
project.  I'm sure that there are many very qualified structural designers
that only have a Civil Engineering registration

My reasons for taking the test were several:
1) Although I was certainly within my rights to practice Structural
Engineering I didn't feel legally or ethically able to advertise myself as
a Structural Engineer unless I was a licensed Structural Engineer.
2) With the increasing seismic awareness in Oregon there may be areas of
work in the future which are limited to licensed Structural Engineers.  The
current governors task force report includes such recommendations.
3) It was a challenge.

But none of these reasons turned out to be the best reason to take the SE
test.  For me the time I spent studying for the SE was the best investment
of time I ever made professionally.  It forced me to go back and study
areas of practice that were not part of my day to day work.  It forced me
to get into the design codes line by line to make sure I was dotting every
i and crossing every tee in my design procedures.  In the last four years
hardly a week goes by that I don't go back and consult my review notes for
a procedure or a code reference.  Taking the SE exam made me a better
structural engineer.  My golf game is still bad but I feel like it was the
right decision.    

Dave Morris PE, SE
Corvallis, OR