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Re: SECB Certification Program for SE's

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At 08:40 AM 6/24/2004 -0700, you wrote:
I understand what you are saying.  I also have a lot of respect for Neil Moore and the views he has expressed on this list.  But to play devil's advocate for a minute...
What about those of us who have worked for years, earning our EIT, passing the PE, and in the case of California passed what is considered one of the hardest exams in the nation to earn our SE.  Now we are working hard in practice, many of us at higher levels of responsibility where time is the single most valuable commodity we possess.
Paul Feather PE, SE


As co-devil, here are some other things to consider...

For a single person firm, this would likely be the largest tax ever paid, in terms of billable hours lost.  The preparation time for an exam of this magnitude is not insignificant, and younger EITs / engineers in larger firms will often be allowed some time to prepare/study/take the exam on the corporation's dime.  In a small (or very small) firm, such luxuries are rare. 

In addition, some (structural) PEs do only one type of work, and have done so for many years. I can think of one who does timber-frames exclusively. Is it fair to require he be tested proficient in concrete and steel design, when he may not have done any design in those areas for 20 years?  The law already prohibits engineers from practicing outside of their expertise.   How about the EOR in a precast design firm? Should he be required to recite the entire set of factors for timber design on an exam after 15 years where his only contact with wood design was whittling weight from his son's pice car derby car?

IMHO, those who actively practice structural engineering are no more "dangerous" as SEs or PEs.  Jake has already mentioned that there are some PEs he would not allow to do toothpick design, and yet they have passed the PE P&P exam at some point in the past, and have been certified as "competent".

Perhaps the requirement should be a 4-6 year re-testing cycle for ALL PE/SE engineers.   That would, of course, conflict with the cases I mentioned above, but it would make the playing field level.  You would never be more than a few of years out of "practice", and you would be tested against the CURRENT codes and standards in all materials.  IF public safety is the driving factor, periodic testing - to the same standards as new licensees - is imperative.  Oh, and make the disciplines exclusive for sealing - EEs, MEs, SEs, CEs, (AEs, NEs, GEs, MCSEs....oops, not that last one) all have their own seal - no crossing over unless you're current in both fields via exam.

And get rid of the 60%=passing rule from the NCEES (note that "70" is passing - or was when I took the exam - but the raw score required to receive a "70" was 48 points out of 80 do the math). Make it count. With budget time contraints, I would expect most of you to score 95% or better on your jobs going out the door of your office. We all take shortcuts and make occasional mistakes, but part of engineering is knowing that your answer is certainly within 30% of correct, rather than off by an order of magnitude, just by looking.  For the test, somewhere in the 80-90% range is more realistic, given that there is an absolute fixed time limit, rather than the "simple" time/cost pressure in an office environment.

Finally, since we're proposing all this extra expense for ourselves, let's make sure that the new law gets written to include that ALL structures - without exception - require an SE stamp. That way we can at least recover our costs by preventing the architects of the world from playing our new sandbox.

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