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RE: SE Practice Act

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This is where I will disagree.  Personally, I think the general PE exam is
so pathetically easy that it serves little purpose.  I know I will take some
flack for this, but if you cannot pass the general civil PE exam, then you
have some serious problems.  I personally think the SE level exams (not just
the NCEES Struct I exam) that at least do the NCEES Struct I and Struct II
are about right by and large.  They are basically covering typical
structural design type problems and I personally feel that any practicing
structural engineer should be able to pass them.  Now, you can debate about
how "nit-picky" they might grade them (for example, if you answer is not
what they have but is still sufficiently conservative, then it is debatable
if you got it "wrong"...I don't know how the grade the exams, but the it
should be more about seeing if you do it right and understand the material
than if you get the exactly correct numbers).

My personal opinion is that the civil PE exam is not enough for structural
engineering, even if there are a lot of engineers practicing that one have
taken the civil PE exam and are good engineers.  It is also a function of
being tested on stuff that I will never, ever use myself in my practice.
Why should a person who only wants to be a structural engineer and do
structural work have to know and "pass" other civil engineering stuff if
they will never use it in practice.  I see the argument why they should
learn that stuff in school...they likely are not in a position to KNOW which
direction they want to go yet.  But, by the time they take the PE exam, they
are more than likely sure of their direction.

I believe that we should have specialties and be tested for them.  After
all, if we are so quick to compare ourselves to doctors (i.e. ACSE and their
whole "First Professional Degree", aka Policy 465 or "Body of Knowledge" and
the rationales for it), then we cannot ignore that doctors have specialties
and must pass additional exams to practice in those areas of specialization.
But, that whole push only seems to want to "cherry pick" the things they
want from the professions that that they compare engineers with.


Adrian, MI

-----Original Message-----
From: Jerry Coombs [mailto:JCoombs(--nospam--at)] 
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2007 9:38 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: SE Practice Act

Already, the current SE exam is so rigorous, it keeps many qualified people
that aren't good at tests, or don't have time to pound through a study
program (try studying for that w/ 2 kids and a working wife), from
practicing.  I'd wager that most practicing SEs over 40 couldn't pass it
without a great deal of studying.  But they're good SEs

We don't need it.

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