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Engineering How can I get info on engineering licensure?

  1. Jun 28, 2016 #1
    I am trying to figure out whether my state will let me take the FE exam and become an Engineer in Training. Since I have a BS in Math and an MS in physics I do not have the ABET accreditation.

    I've tried calling the State licensing board, and every time I just get a generic call center person who does not know anything about it. She is supposed to answer all the license questions from nurses, engineers, ...etc so she could not answer my question.

    So I tried to call NCEES who administers the FE and PE exams. They only allow you to use their live chat feature on their website to ask questions. I waited over an hour to talk to someone, and she ended up just clicking auto-response buttons when I asked her questions. I even called her out on that and she continued to do it and did not answer my questions. She finally told me to ask my state's licensing board about my questions....so I'm now in an infinite feedback loop. WTF am I supposed to do?

    One thing I did learn is that in my state you are not required to make an application for EIT before you register for the exam, so theoretically you could take the exam first and then apply for EIT. But I still do not know if I am even qualified to take the exam in the first place.
     
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  3. Jun 28, 2016 #2
    In my state you would be eligible provided you had

    (i) eight semester hours (12 quarter hours) of mathematics beyond trigonometry, including differential and integral calculus; and
    (ii) 20 semester hours (30 quarter hours) of related engineering sciences including subjects such as mechanics, thermodynamics, electrical and electronic circuits, and others selected from material sciences, transport phenomena, computer science and comparable subjects depending on the discipline or branch of engineering.

    (I found this out by a quick google search and CTRL-F "education requirements" in the rules and regulations list...)

    Chances are your state has this also. I suspect if you search for it you will find it without having to talk to anyone.
     
  4. Jun 28, 2016 #3
    FYI search [your home state name] Board of Professional Engineers
     
  5. Jun 28, 2016 #4
    Thats a pretty vague legal writeup. I have a degree in physics....so I guess I can just consider all of that "related engineering science".

     
  6. Jun 28, 2016 #5
    You could also try sending email or posted letter to your state board. Someone will get around to answering you eventually. Include a copy of your transcripts, of course.
     
  7. Jun 29, 2016 #6

    SteamKing

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    If your professional degrees are in math and science, and you have no (apparent) engineering education background, why would you want to take the EIT in the first place?

    The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) has a website: http://ncees.org/

    Be aware that if you do take the EIT and do well, you're not an engineer. You'll still have to accumulate several years of engineering experience under a licensed P.E., and then sit another Principles and Practice of Engineering exam with passing marks before you can obtain a P.E.
     
  8. Jun 29, 2016 #7
    I haven't been able to find a job with my degrees. I'm thinking about getting into engineering. I took two engineering classes in undergrad in addition to my physics courses. I feel like I could pass the FE with some studying. I am aware that without an engineering degree you need more experience for the PE. I just want to become an EIT so that I have a better chance of getting an engineering job. I don't know if I should go back and do a BS on engineering, an ABET accredited MS in engineering, or just stick with what I've got and try to become an EIT. What would be the best option?
     
  9. Jun 29, 2016 #8

    StatGuy2000

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    While it may theoretically be possible for someone with a degree in math and physics to get into engineering, that would presume that you have the requisite knowledge to actually work as an engineer. You said that you took two engineering classes. Do you feel that is sufficient? Depending on the engineering field, there may be very specific technical knowledge you're expected to have (e.g. circuit design, control systems), which I don't necessarily believe a physics degree will provide.

    My own suggestion would be to either pursue an ABET accredited MS in engineering or a BS in engineering, as that would be the easiest path forward. Yes, that would mean more years of schooling, but then you would at least have an actual engineering degree, which most employers and their HR departments would pay attention to.
     
  10. Jun 29, 2016 #9

    SteamKing

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    It's going to take more than 2 engineering classes to become an engineer.

    Having taken and passed the EIT is no guarantee that an engineering job will materialize, especially if prospective employers review your academic record.

    Employers don't hire generic "engineers"; they are looking for candidates with particular academic engineering training, like mechanical, civil, structural, electrical, HVAC, aerospace, metallurgical, structural, etc. Each engineering field has a comprehensive body of knowledge which must be mastered for the engineering graduate to find a job.
     
  11. Jun 29, 2016 #10

    StatGuy2000

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    So what would you advise Hercuflea to do then? Because from what I gather in posts here, he has degrees in math and physics and cannot find work with the degrees he has.
     
  12. Jun 29, 2016 #11

    Nidum

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    Several different Universities in the UK offer specific courses for people with non engineering degrees who want to become engineers . Here is one example :

    http://www.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/engineering/conversion/

    Also there are government sponsored + industrial schemes like this :

    neshttp://[URL='http://www.hefce.ac.uk/kess/engineer/']www.hefce.ac.uk/kess/engineer/[/URL] [Broken]

    Are there no similar schemes available in the US ?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  13. Jun 29, 2016 #12
    Not really. I took ME thermo and a nuclear engineering radiation physics course. However I have done extensive courses in E&M and Fluid dynamics, so I would hope that I could find something related to that. I have also studied a little bit of radiation effects in materials in some courses.

    This goes back to my original dilemma. I can't for the life of me find any reliable info on whether or not someone with a non-ABET Bachelors and an ABET Masters is qualified to become an EIT and have the same experience requirement for PE as someone who did the traditional route.

    It would be faster and cheaper for me to just go somewhere and do an 18 month ABET master's degree. But I want to be sure that would make me fully qualified. Otherwise I may as well go back and get a (third!) bachelor's degree, which just seems a bit ridiculous to me.

    In my state, an ABET BSE with EIT needs 4 years of experience to become a PE. A non-ABET bachelors needs 7 years of experience to become a PE. But what about a non ABET bachelors and an ABET masters??

    From my perspective, there is no difference in going to school for 2-3 years and then doing 4 years of experience, and not going to school and just doing the 7 years of experience that is required for non-ABET majors.


    I have seen several job postings that ask for "A BS in Engineering or related field". Obviously they are looking for someone with a Mech E, EE or something like that. Some places like defense contractors will even name a physics degree.
     
  14. Jun 29, 2016 #13

    SteamKing

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    I'm sure there's engineers with engineering degrees who are in a similar fix.

    The global recession which hit in 2008-09 has still not run its course. In the U.S. at least, job recovery is still weak. The petroleum industry had a minor boom, then went bust, and may be on the verge of a recovery. Even the professional economy watchers are not sure what the future portends.

    Rather than spinning his wheels trying to become something for which his training has not prepared him, the OP should keep investigating jobs which match his training. Something may come up, but all crystal balls are hazy in this area.
     
  15. Jun 29, 2016 #14

    StatGuy2000

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    It may be years before the global recession which hit in 2008-2009 will fully run its course and job recovery in the US will become more robust (I have read in various news reports that job growth has been picking up in the US over the past year or so). In the mean time, the OP will need to make decisions on what path to take his career.

    As far as OP investigating jobs which match his training, I can say in no uncertain terms that there are very few to no jobs out there which will match the training of the degrees he possess (a MS in physics, a MS in math). So in the mean time, the OP needs to do something, and your "advice" is not at all helpful.
     
  16. Jun 29, 2016 #15
    I was rather abruptly tossed out of a PhD program into the job market which would have been a much better preparation for physics/science/math careers. But now I need to figure something out to do. I have thought about data science, web development, engineering, military, oil/geophysics, everything. I'm currently a jack of all trades and master of none.
     
  17. Jun 29, 2016 #16

    StatGuy2000

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    I would suggest taking a look at the following thread, in particular post #17 by LydiaJ.

    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/career-advice-6-months-no-job-please-help.876360/
     
  18. Jun 29, 2016 #17
    Say you took and passed for example, the PE exam in Mechanical engineering: Fluids, but you wanted to get a job as a petroleum engineer. Would you have to retake the PE in petroleum engineering and pass that before getting the job? Or since you are already a licensed PE, would you be good with what you have?

    edit: Many job postings I have seen simply ask for a PE license, but don't specify which field/exam that would have been taken. So why are there so many different exam topics if companies don't care which one you passed?
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2016
  19. Jun 29, 2016 #18

    SteamKing

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    It used to be that the EIT exam was broadly split into just mechanical and civil engineering, and the candidate had to select one type of exam to take, even if his engineering training wasn't as a mechanical or civil engineer.

    In recent years, the NCEES has recognized that other engineering disciplines need to have special exams, and a few of these have been developed.

    If a job posting lacks certain information about the qualifications desired for the successful applicant, I'm sure that contacting the company HR department could resolve any uncertainty.
     
  20. Jun 29, 2016 #19
    If you are a PE you are only (read legally) allowed to practice in your competency area. So if your new job in Fluids is in within your competency area then no, otherwise you are responsible for seeking the appropriate education to legally sign documents in this new area.

    If you practice outside your area and get caught (bridge falls down, people killed, etc.) you can be held criminally culpable with fines and/or jail time.
     
  21. Jun 30, 2016 #20

    CalcNerd

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    If your state board will let you take the FE exam, you certainly should. You will likely have to petition the board ie write up a letter asking for the chance to take the exam and provide your college transcripts to the Professional Engineering board of your state. If they deem your education is equivalent or similar to an engineering major (hey, they let engineering technology majors take this exam), you should have a good chance to get board approval to sit for the exam.
    .
    Getting to take the exam is going to be hard, and passing it is another hurdle too. If you do pass the exam (now given by PC at testing centers at your convenience, not just twice a year), your pathway to becoming a PE has just started. You will have to get a job in engineering, preferably working directly with a PE and remain working in the engineering field for 6-8 years, depending upon IF they allow you any time for your Masters degree. Then you may (may, mind you) get the chance to take a PE exam. The system is heavily skewed in favor of possessing an ABET accredited engineering degree, anything less gets extra scrutiny. The stakes are high so I cannot fault the system. That is the effect of due diligence, it is NOT an easy test to get to take, much less pass. They would hate to see someone with out real experience and ability get to take the exam and be a statistical anomaly that passed the exam while actually being an incompetent engineer.
    .
    14 years ago, I personally had fewer academic credentials than you and was allowed to take the FE exam. So, I suspect that you should have a good chance to take the FE exam (you will need to know some PE's for reference). And if you do get the chance to take the exam, you should. And it will help open doors in the engineering field for you (a lot of ABET degreed engineers do NOT pass the exam, so it does tell a future employer you have some initial knowledge). And you may even be able to accelerate your pursuit of a PE (I wouldn't count on this, but I managed, as I had a fair amount of experience too).
     
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