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RE: Certification of Structural Engineers

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I can't speak for the full intent of NCSEA's look at certification...yet.
But I believe that the ultimate goal is to have a more or less national SE
license.  However, since it is impossible to pass an SE act through all 50
state legislatures in the exact same form, the concept of certification
may be used.  Therefore, in the sort term, certification would supplement
the existing PE AND SE licensure acts.  The details of the whole
certification concept don't even come close to existing right now.  All
NCSEA has decided to do is establish a full committee (as opposed to an
ad-hoc) to develop some of those details and plans.  I can envision
several way it could develop.  It could get so "detailed" that one could
get certified for various structural materials (wood, steel, concrete, or
masonry), various structural types (high rise, stadium, hospital, etc),
and various specialized loading (high seismic, hurricane, arctic,
etc.).  Or is could just be a more broad certification that would serve
the same function as an SE license from WA or IL but only for use in
states without an SE (ie "test" a more in depth structural knowledge that
the civil PE exam for those states that don't have an SE).  All that has
yet to be determined. 

One thing to keep in mind...even though it is a pain to have to study all
that non-structural stuff, it will "pay" in the end.  Illinois is similar.
For a structural engineer, a PE in Illinois is worthless.  However, if
that engineer ever wants reciprocity in other states than that PE in
Illinois is quite valuable.  For example, I believe someone with only an
Illinois SE but no Illinois PE (or PE in any other state) CANNOT get
reciprocity in Michigan because to get a Michigan PE (to practice
structural engineering here) one must take the civil PE exam.  One MIGHT
be able to petition the board.  Therefore, the PE in WA will allow you to
get reciprocity with all the states that don't have an SE license (which
is most states).  This may or may not matter to you.


On Fri, 6 Oct 2000, Paul Crocker wrote:

> Is the NCSEA idea itended to supplement the PE, or is this intended to
> eventually replace the PE for structural engineers?  In my state, WA, and
> engineers must get their PE first, then get their SE.  While I suppose that
> general knowledge is a virtue, it is a little difficult to justify to myself
> why I spent an hour this morning studying road layouts (in preparation for
> my PE exam) when I can say with relative certainty that I will never use it
> other than on the exam.  In fact, since it is well outside of my specialty
> and experience, I ethically could not use it in a professional context
> despite the fact that I may be required to know it on the exam.  I realize
> that 99% of the people on the list have gone through this effort already,
> and I don't mean to complain about it, just to frame my questions and
> explain why I ask about the proposed SE structure.  I would be much happier
> to spend my time studying SE related topics that I feel can make me a better
> engineer, rather than topics well outside of my field.  Much easier to
> justify.  Imagine how much more proficient the SE community could be if they
> were allowed to focus only on that, and not spend months studying
> information they will never use.  
> Paul Crocker