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Re: SE Licensing in Washington State, Exam Results

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A few comments:

Most bridge engineers can't pass a structural engineering exam on buildings
- it's not in their area of expertise.  On the other hand,  I know of one
structural exam where very few if any were able to do the only problem on
bridge design.  Just a little apple and oranges catch 22.

Bridge engineers are usually very good at what they do.  Some structural
engineers have also designed bridges in their career.  Not very many in
California though.

I would certainly want any structural engineer on the left coast to be able
to design earthquake resistant structures.  And I would also want any
structural engineer on the right coast to be able to design wind resistant
structures.  The guys in the middle have got some sort of choice.

If I remember correctly, California requires three years, been a while
since I've checked.  Besides that, they have to work for a licensed S.E. or
demonstrate to a licensed S.E. that they are competent before that S.E.
will provide a recommendation.

Years ago I participated in the grading of some of the California S.E.
tests.  Some of us were amazed that some of the participants had ever
gotten a civil license.

I took all the tests over the years.  Took me three times to pass the
E.I.T. (helps if you have a basic civil degree), passed the civil exam
right on time, but waited an extra year to take the S.E.    The S.E. exam,
for me, was the easiest of all of them - because I was doing the same type
of work on an everyday basis.  My family suffered through a year of me
working every problem of every past test I could get a hold of.  I just
didn't want to do the 16 hour test more than once.

The only problem was that after I got my license, my mother asked me when I
was going to get my architect's license.  Told her that I would hire
architects.  (This did happen).

Not all the guys who get their S.E. license are at the head of the class.
A good many of them work twice as hard as anybody else.
And a lot of them have good common sense and are born with some of the
talents that they display.  Very few of them complain of the long hours for
sometimes, pretty crappy pay.  Many of us in the past have paid our
employees more than we were making.

If you didn't pass the test, review the areas that you think that you are
weak in, study hard and go for it again.  If you are running your own
company, you are going to have a hard time passing - just because you
probably can't do both.  Get your S.E. before you start your company.  I
know one fellow who I have a extremely high regard for - kinda of a quite
guru - who took the test a number of times and finally passed.  He had
specialized in a couple types of structures in the past, but dug in and
learned all he could about the rest of the structural engineering world.

I know another guy (had his doctorate) and said he didn't DO timber.  I
reminded him that there is (or use to be) four hours of timber on the
Calif. S.E.  He finally said he would do the bridge section instead and
skip the timber.  Good luck.

Sorry to dump on you, but it's kinda been a rough month.


Neil Moore, S.E.


At 07:55 PM 10/6/2001 -0700, you wrote:
>Here?s an excerpt from the minutes of the August 22 meeting of the Exam 
>Qualification Committee of the Washington State Board of Registration for 
>Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors.
>
>?3. Examination Issues
>3.1 Locally Prepared Exams
>3.1.1 Structural III ­ Washington?
>
>The minimum passing score session was held on August 8th.  Ms. Duevel (1 of 
>2 SE?s on the 7 member Board of Registration) attended the meeting and 
>participated in the process.?
>
>The recommended minimum passing score is 21.4 points out of 40.  This score 
>resulted in 6 out of 67 examinees succeeding for a 9% pass rate overall.?
>
>This is the lowest minimum passing score ever set for this exam and an 
>extremely low pass percentage.  It was thought by some that the earthquake 
>might have had some impact on (the examinees) preparation.  Two of the 
>passing engineer specialize in bridges.  Eleven bridge engineers sat for the 
>exam.?
>
>The unfair SE examination procedure in Washington results largely from 
>SEAW?s aggressive involvement in the examination process.  This benefits the 
>licensed SE?s in Washington, especially if they have one of those examinees 
>working for them.  It creates an obvious inequity for unlicensed engineering 
>graduates, Washington-licensed Civil engineers and any SE from another state 
>who would like an SE in Washington.  The process includes:
>1) Already having a professional engineer?s license in another discipline 
>and two years of structural experience.
>2) If you don?t make the 1 in 10 odds of passing the examination this year 
>you can always wait another year to take it again.
>3) No one has ever had a failing score changed to a passing score by 
>appealing the grading of the Washington SE examination written by Mr. Huston 
>and his SEAW committee.  In fact you will end up with a lower score than the 
>original.  They can do this with impunity because the rules governing 
>engineering examination appeals in Washington do not allow a 2nd appeal to 
>the Board.  If you want to make a 2nd appeal of Washington SE exam results 
>have your attorney and expert witness ready because you must plead the case 
>in Superior Court.  Don?t forget to ask the Board to retain your SE exam 
>work because otherwise they will shred it soon after the review period has 
>finished.
>
>So much for a national standard for structural engineering licensing.
>
>Send any comments to this list serve and:
>1) George Twiss, Director of the Washington State Board of Registration for 
>Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors at:
>gtwiss(--nospam--at)dol.wa.gov
>2) Edwin Huston, Chairman of the Structural Engineers Association of 
>Washington Exam Writing Committee at:
>huston(--nospam--at)smithhustoninc.com
>
>
>
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