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RE: Certification of Structural Engineers

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Paul Crocker wrote:

<From: Paul Crocker <paulc(--nospam--at)>
To: "'seaint(--nospam--at)'" <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Subject: RE: Certification of Structural Engineers

"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."

Thanks for your reply.  Reciprocity is an important issue for me.  In fact,
WA requires the PE to qualify to take the SE, so I don't doubt the economic
value of taking the PE.  I certainly wouldn't be spending a notable chunk of
my spare time for months on end studying if I saw no pay off.  It just seem
like a shame that our profession is required to spends time working to feign
competency in areas that we do not use (traffic signaling, open channel
flow, etc.) when that exam review time could be applied to issue more
germane to us (steel moment frame connections, ACI Appendix B design, IBC
2000, etc.).  As we contemplate what the various plans for national SE
standards could mean, I think that my PE experience emphasizes to me the
need to be sure that new levels of registration are beneficial to the
profession, and don't just represent another hoop to jump through, more of
legal than practical value.

Paul Crocker>

I don't believe the intent is to have those taking the Civil Exam in
California or other states which require it, to address problems in areas
which they have not experience. When I took the California CE exam, there
were certainly enough questions related to structural engineering that I
could choose from.
I believe the intent was to have engineers focus their skills on that area
of Civil engineering which matches their experience and training. There will
always be engineer who rely on broader skills to pass the exam by replacing
structural engineering questions with wastewater or traffic signaling. In my
opinion, this ends up polluting the intent of the CE license and provides a
valid argument for SE's who look back and fault CE's for not proving a
minimum competency in structural engineering.
I know in my case, I did not even attempt one question on the exam that was
not structural related and it drives me crazy to argue with those who
believe that everyone takes the PE as if they were taking the EIT - proving
no competency in one special area.

If you intend to take the PE - don't study the non-structural material.
There will be more than enough questions for you to pass the exam on
structural skills alone.

Dennis S. Wish, PE
The Structuralist Administrator for:
AEC-Residential Listservice
(208) 361-5447 E-Fax