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Re: CA PE with regards to WA PE

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It seems petty that those states would act in that manner.  I always thought the 4yrs/2yrs requirement of experience was pretty subjective.  Whose to say my one year of experience might be the equivalent of someone else's 2 yrs of experience.  Plus, I interned at a structural engineering company for two summers plus breaks prior to graduating.  I took my time at school and did 5yrs so I also took some graduate wood classes as an undergraduate.  Plus in WA I would have to work 4yrs before I could take my PE and then another 2yrs to sit for the SE.  So by the time I can sit for the SE I will have 6+ yrs of experience working for an SE.  To me, if 2 of the 4 yrs prior to sitting for the PE are spent working for an SE, it should meet the requirement.  But I'm sure that won't go very far.  WA seems to have a hard time deciding what they really want.  They used to allow the Struct. I test to take the place of the Civil PE test but they changed that about 2yrs ago.  I have mixed feelings about that one. 

Plus, I'm not sure what my real incentive is to have the SE.  I could design almost anything except schools and high rise buildings with just the PE.  I would probably do take the exam any ways but there is almost no incentive unless the company requires "highly suggests" it.  I wish insurance companies would start offering incentives to owners to have structural engineers on the design team but that doesn't seem to be happening either.

In terms of the reason to get the PE, it wasn't necessarily for a raise because we don't do much work in CA.  Most of it is in WA, OR, or Alaska with the focus being WA.  I look at the PE as something of an accomplishment to add to my resume.  I currently have my EIT but I also only have an undergraduate degree.  If I do decide to go to a different company, this would allow a little more incentive for a company to look at me.  A lot of places ignored my experience after college because one of their qualifiers, just for an interview, was did you have a masters.  With a PE, they will probably be more likely to look past that.

In terms of going to another state to practice, I like the possibility of going to CA though cost of living would deter me.  I've lived on both the East and West Coast growing up and would probably stick with the West Coast, especially the North West.  The mentality is different and it's a lot less crowded over hear.  :)

Thank you for your comments.


At 12:18 AM 11/8/2003, you wrote:

To futher this point, take a look at this website:

(you may have to piece meal paste into your browser...the link ends in

The link is a PDF document containing responses from the various state
boards to a question from NCEES on a survey.  The question: If a comity
applicant took the PE exam in another jurisdiction before obtaining the
experience required in your jurisdiction, would your statutes require that
the applicant retake the PE exam, even if the applicant had the experience
required by your jurisdiction at teh time of comity application?  Most
states responded with a "no", but states responded with a "yes"
(Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin).  Thus, if you
think for even a moment that you might want your license in any of those
five states (or Guam), then getting your license in CA (i.e. before 4
years of experience) would mean that you would have to retake the PE exam
to get licensed in one of those states.

Thus, I would advise waiting til you have your 4 years of experience.
Besides, from my experience getting your PE license does not really result
in much of a raise...but that could just be my local area's treatment of
structural engineers (can you say 'dirt').


Ypsilanti, MI

On Fri, 7 Nov 2003, Scott Maxwell wrote:

> Seth,
> The one thing to be at least a little careful is that some state are REAL
> sticklers about getting the WHOLE 4 years before you take the PE exam.  I
> remeber someone telling about an instance where they got their license in
> Minnesota.  The state board let them take the exam with something like 3
> years 10 months.  They passed and got their PE license.  Some 10+ years
> later, this person needed to get their license by reciprocity in North
> Dakota (if I recall correctly), but ND said that this person had to
> re-take the PE exam because they did not have the FULL four years of
> experience when they took it the first time.
> So, if you run into a state licensing board that thinks along those lines,
> then taking the PE exam in CA could cause some problems if want
> reciprocity.  I would suspect that in most cases it would not be a problem
> once you did have your 4 years of experience, but I would likely play it
> safe.  While the PE exam is not too terribly difficult, I personally would
> rather not have to take it again.
> As to your question, I don't really know.  I would assume that you just go
> back and take the particular exam that you failed.  This would make sense
> as I doubt they will make me take the PE exam again along with the
> surveying and seismic exam when I apply.
> As to PE review courses, also look to your local NSPE chapters and SEAW.
> They might offer PE review courses.  I am pretty sure that SEAW offers
> review courses for the Struct exams for the SE license.
> Regards,
> Scott
> Ypsilanti, MI
> On Fri, 7 Nov 2003, Seth W. Cutler wrote:
> > That does bring up an interesting question.  I don't think you can sit for
> > the CA structural without the 5 hr add'l exam.  Even if you do take the
> > Struct. II and Struct. III up here in WA I think you still have to take the
> > surveying portion down in CA to get commity/reciprocity.  Maybe someone
> > else has that info.
> >
> > Now, on my original question, I was asking if you could pass the CA Civil
> > PE in parts.  Between the NCEES exam and the add'l tests.  I'm trying to
> > figure out my risk in going down to CA to take the exam and pass the NCEES
> > exam but don't pass the surveying in particular.  Would I have to fly back
> > to take just the serveying portion or all of it.  Or could I just wait till
> > I was qualified in WA and submit my score from the NCEES exam I took in CA.
> >
> > Thank you, Tom and Jack for your insight so far.  I've been thinking about
> > this on and off for a year now and I'm finally down to making a decision in
> > the next month.
> >
> > If any of you have heard, does anyone besides ASCE offer review courses for
> > Civil PE?  Preferably up here in WA.
> >
> > Thanks again,
> > Seth
> >
> > At 11:59 AM 11/7/2003, you wrote:
> > >Seth: If you can sit for the civil in WA next October, you can sit for the
> > >CA civil this spring (if they still offer it twice a year). This way you
> > >can hit your boss up for a raise sooner.  I have both WA and CA structural
> > >licenses.  Most of my work is out of state.  The CA license is accepted
> > >most places, the WA is not so recognized.  The main issue should be can
> > >you sit for the CA structural with a WA civil.
> > >----- Original Message -----
> > >From: <mailto:seth(--nospam--at)>Seth W. Cutler
> > >To: <mailto:seaint(--nospam--at)>seaint(--nospam--at)
> > >Sent: Friday, November 07, 2003 11:06 AM
> > >Subject: CA PE with regards to WA PE
> > >
> > >ok, after all this talk about the license exams I have a question.  I'm
> > >currently an EIT up here in WA and will qualify to sit up here for my PE
> > >next October.  I have been debating whether I should take the CA PE in
> > >April and then get comity or equiv. up here in WA.
> > >
> > >One issue that came up is to get the CA Civil PE license I would have to
> > >take the NCEES 8-hour Civil PE exam plus the addional 5 hrs for
> > >seismic/surveying.  In WA I would only need to take the NCEES 8-hour Civil
> > >PE exam.
> > >
> > >Is the CA Civil PE license Pass/Fail including the seismic/surveying?  Is
> > >it possilbe to pass the NCEES exam and not the following exams.  Could I
> > >then take the results from the NCEES exam and use that to get my WA PE license?
> > >
> > >Just trying to look at all the angles.  One concern I have up here is that
> > >they keep changing the exam requirments up here in WA and I'm getting sick
> > >of the changes.  I'm also concerned they're going to change to the IBC for
> > >code stuff instead of the UBC which would really annoy me.  Or if the CA
> > >one switches to NFPA.
> > >
> > >Thanks,
> > >Seth
> >

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