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RE: CE licensing a different problem

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Unless a LOT has changed since I took the SE exam (1983), I think there are a lot of misconceptions about the SE exam. First of all, the exam was created as a result of the Fields Act in 1935 due the large amount of damage to public school buildings during the Long Beach E/Q in 1933. The Fields Act mandated that persons designing the structural portions of public schools would take and pass this exam and be granted the authority to use the title "structural engineer". Schools then (and now) are not high rise structures nor do they require much finite element analysis.

I believe the purpose of the exam is to more thoroughly test the abilities of the engineer. In the civil exam, there are about 8-12 structural engineering questions which (in my day anyway) were multiple choice. By answering the maximum number of structural questions, this would represent approximately 60% or so of an 8 hour test or 4.5 to 5 hours of structural testing. Above and beyond that, it is multiple choice, so one could guess the answer. In the SE exam, it is a full 16 hours of structural only questions where you hand in your calculations. The graders see all of your work to see if you actually know the methodology. Further, unlike the architectural exam, you have to pass the whole thing at one time at one sitting. With the architectural exam, you could spread this out over several years, get everything out of the way except for either the two or three structural sections and focus just on the particular topic instead of having to know (cold) wood, steel, concrete, masonry and seismic design. Not only do few people take the exam (about 400 per year when I took it), but the pass rate is (or at least was) one of the lowest of any of the certification exams in the state. In the year I took it, the pass rate was under 20%. So, it should be obvious to even the most casual observer that the SE exam is a more thorough and critical exam of one's structural skills.

I really don't know where you got the impression that the SE exam or structural engineers only have superior credentials when it comes to high rise buildings or finite element analysis.

-----Original Message-----
From:	Dennis S. Wish PE [SMTP:wish(--nospam--at)cyberg8t.com]
Sent:	Sunday, October 05, 1997 7:03 PM
To:	'seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org'
Subject:	RE: CE licensing a different problem

[Bill Allen]  ... then the 
only reason for me to take the SE exam is to impress people, 
satisfy my own ego or because I am a masochist who wants to 
punish myself for no good reason.
[Bill Allen]  
No, the only reason, remember, is so that you can use the title "structural engineer".

Regards,
Bill Allen

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