PE Exam and discipline

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by dukebound85, May 24, 2017.

  1. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #1
    Is a PE a PE? In other words, is having a PE in mechanical engineering indistinguishable from a license standpoint as say a PE in civil engineering?

    I ask as my undergrad is in mechanical and my job is more or less civil. I would prefer to take the exam as a mechanical merely because I have all my course books and a lot of work experience as a mechanical. My supervisor thinks I should get it as a PE but if there is no distinguishing, I am leaning towards as a ME.

    I am in CO.

    From my research, there does not seem to be any way to determine what discipline you took the test in, only if you are a PE.

    Thanks for any insight
     
  2. AustinIllini macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #2
    It means different things to different disciplines for sure. I'm a ChemE and few if any of my coworkers have a PE.

    That being said, it shouldn't matter. You can take whichever you want to get the accreditation. I would go with the ME route as the pass right is 50% higher.
     
  3. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    #3
    would it make a difference to any future prospective employers?
     
  4. Chuck Rodent macrumors member

    Chuck Rodent

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    #4
    I am a PE in Canada, and can speak to the process here which should be similar. A PE in Canada must declare their area(s) of expertise to the board, and to take on work outside of those areas is to risk discipline or lawsuits. This is written into the regulations. So is does not matter which exam you take, it matters what is your expertise through training and experience. You are also required to demonstrate training and study to stay competent in those areas on an annual basis. Look into your state's licensing process to see if it matters which exam you take. Engineers change jobs throughout their career so it is reasonable to develop new technical knowledge outside of your original training.
     
  5. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Location:
    Always a day away
    #5
    PE here.

    It's different in each state. My primary license is Texas, which DOES track the discipline(s) in which you're registered, but DOES NOT limit you to practice in those disciplines (they allow you to practice within your areas of competence). Oklahoma DOES track the discipline(s) in which you're registered, and it DOES limit your practice to that discipline.

    That being said, the exam you take matters in some states and less so in others. I took the mechanical exam because it's my primary field of practice, although by experience I can also seal certain electrical projects in Texas. Not so in Oklahoma.

    EDIT: It's probably worth noting that, in may cases, civil engineering pays much less than many other engineering disciplines, and civil PE's are a dime a dozen.
     
  6. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Location:
    Boston
    #6
    I'm not sure about Mechanicals Engineers, but it's my understanding in electrical engineering a PE must sign off on schematics before whatever is built for legal reasons. I would imagine ME is the similar.
     
  7. dukebound85 thread starter macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #7
    True. My question though is does it matter what you take the test in? I know ethically you don't stamp what you aren't competent in but as far as the exam, does it matter?
     
  8. MC6800 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2016
    #8
    I'd say it's up to you to check if it matters in your state-- just one part of training.
     
  9. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Location:
    Always a day away
    #9
    It absolutely does matter. If you take the civil exam, you'll be registered as a civil engineer. That will affect projects you can seal, but more importantly it will affect your employment prospects. I wouldn't hire a civil PE to work in my office, since we focus on mechanical and electrical, regardless of how competent you are in other disciplines. I wouldn't be able to sell you to a client, and many states wouldn't allow you to work on projects outside that discipline.
     
  10. dukebound85 thread starter macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #10
    Is registration by discipline a state by state thing? I believe there is no distinction in CO
     
  11. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Location:
    Always a day away
    #11
    It's a state by state thing. In Texas, the state registers you by discipline but allows you to work in any area where you're competent. Some states don't register by discipline at all. Some register you by discipline and limit you to practicing that discipline only.
     
  12. AustinIllini macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #12
    Depends on the discipline. It's not a big enough differentiator down the road in Chemical Engineering.
     

Share This Page