PE Requirements

Location
Ohio
Occupation
Engineer
To become a PE, you have to be supervised by a PE, or work under a PE. If you do not have a PE on staff at your place of employment, is there anyway around this requirement? Is there a PE mentoring program or something along those lines?
 

charlie b

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Seattle, WA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
Unless you work for an electric utility company, if your company performs engineering work it must have that work performed under the supervision of a PE. If there are drawings, specifications, or other technical documents for which you are a contributor, and that are eventually signed and sealed by a PE, then that arrangement satisfies the requirement for you to be supervised by a PE. That PE need not be located in the same office as you. It only matters that that PE takes responsibility (by signing and sealing) for your work.
 
Location
Ohio
Occupation
Engineer
I work for an OEM. We often make equipment for hazardous areas. Do you think sending equipment designs to a PE for signature for would then qualify me for taking the PE exam in 4 years? It would be having the PE sign off on 4 or 5 equipment designs a year, for example? I've always been interested in taking the Exam....but the working under a PE requirement has always been the major hurdle.
 

charlie b

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Seattle, WA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
Do you think sending equipment designs to a PE for signature for would then qualify me for taking the PE exam in 4 years?
Be careful here. If you send a PE a design that is completed and for which the PE had no role in its conception, development, or completion, that PE would be prohibited by professional ethics and most likely by law from signing and sealing the design documents. The seal and signature of a PE sends a simple message to the world, one message only, and no other message. The message is, "This work was performed by me or under my supervision." It does not mean, cannot mean, "Someone else did this work and I had nothing to do with it, but I reviewed it and I agree with what it says." The PE's brain has to have been involved in some way, somewhere along the design process.

If you wish to become a PE (and I would absolutely encourage you to do so), then you absolutely need to understand this.
 
I have a very similar situation. I passed the FE a few years back but there aren't any electrical PE's that work here. We do use an outside engineering firm for consulting work as well.
 

jim dungar

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Wisconsin
Occupation
Engineer
Check with several state's licensing boards.
I am registered in at least one state that does not require your work experience to be supervised by a PE.
 
Location
Ohio
Occupation
Engineer
From the NSPE website, I read this:

That is, it must take place under the ultimate responsibility of one or more qualified engineers. Generally qualified engineers must be licensed professional engineers. However, some jurisdictions will accept experience supervised by a qualified unlicensed engineer in industry situations where there is no offering of engineering services to the public.

So in my industry, we do not build any machinery for the public, only Industrial use. So to me this seems like there could be an avenue open to me to pursue this.
 

paulengr

Senior Member
From the NSPE website, I read this:

That is, it must take place under the ultimate responsibility of one or more qualified engineers. Generally qualified engineers must be licensed professional engineers. However, some jurisdictions will accept experience supervised by a qualified unlicensed engineer in industry situations where there is no offering of engineering services to the public.

So in my industry, we do not build any machinery for the public, only Industrial use. So to me this seems like there could be an avenue open to me to pursue this.
This is all true. Other good examples are engineers at utilities and in military service. {Moderator's Note: Edited to remove comment concerning unions.}
 
Last edited by a moderator:

SceneryDriver

Senior Member
Location
New York, NY
Be careful here. If you send a PE a design that is completed and for which the PE had no role in its conception, development, or completion, that PE would be prohibited by professional ethics and most likely by law from signing and sealing the design documents. The seal and signature of a PE sends a simple message to the world, one message only, and no other message. The message is, "This work was performed by me or under my supervision." It does not mean, cannot mean, "Someone else did this work and I had nothing to do with it, but I reviewed it and I agree with what it says." The PE's brain has to have been involved in some way, somewhere along the design process.

If you wish to become a PE (and I would absolutely encourage you to do so), then you absolutely need to understand this.
We routinely do mechanical design of machinery that is then reviewed by an outside licensed structural engineer; we have no one on staff who is a PE, but we have several skilled mechanical designers. The PE reviews our designs, performs calcs as he deems necessary to double check our designers' choices, and sometimes (rarely) requires changes, clarifications, and/or additions to the designs. He then signs and seals the drawing package and provides a copy of his calcs to us/our client. These are the designs that are then built by our shop floor; they're not allowed to deviate from the stamped design unless we seek written approval from our EOR.

Are you stating that this is somehow improper for a PE to do, or do I misunderstand your above statement? How would any architect's designs ever be constructed if not for a PE signing off on the design?

I understand and agree that it is unethical for a PE to rubber stamp a set of drawings without doing proper due diligence and review. I wouldn't want to be in a building constructed under that scenario. Please understand I'm not trying to pick a fight; I am only looking for clarification.


Thanks,

SceneryDriver
 

dkarst

Senior Member
Location
Minnesota
I should let Charlie address this issue since he brought it up but here is what my state (which I've redacted) has to say.

RESPONSIBLE CHARGE AND DIRECT SUPERVISION.


Responsible charge; defined.
A person in responsible charge of architectural, engineering, land surveying, landscape architectural, geoscience, or certified interior design work as used in ... means the person who determines and reviews design criteria, including technical aspects, advises with the client, and has direct supervision of subordinates during the course of the work and, in general, the person whose professional skill and judgment are embodied in the plans, designs, and advice involved in the work.


Direct supervision; defined.
A person in "direct supervision" of work as referred to in ... means that person who is the employer, an employee of the same firm, or who is under contract to or from another firm and who is in responsible charge of the technical aspects of the architectural, engineering, land surveying, landscape architectural, geoscience, or certified interior design work in progress, and whose professional skill and judgment are embodied in the plans, specifications, reports, plats, or other documents required to be certified pursuant to that subdivision. A person in direct supervision of work directs the work of other licensees, unlicensed professionals, technicians, and clerical persons assigned to that work and is in responsible charge of the project comprising the work being supervised.
 

jaggedben

Senior Member
Be careful here. If you send a PE a design that is completed and for which the PE had no role in its conception, development, or completion, that PE would be prohibited by professional ethics and most likely by law from signing and sealing the design documents. ...

If you wish to become a PE (and I would absolutely encourage you to do so), then you absolutely need to understand this.
The first part as stated is a bit exaggerated. I see no ethical problem with a PE reviewing aspects of designs done by others for relevant engineering criteria and stamping it along with documentation of precisely what was reviewed and calculated. It's done all the time. A routine example in my field - solar and energy storage, particularly residential - is engineering review of structural loading and connections in what is otherwise an electrical design that the engineer has no expertise in (and in which electrical engineering expertise is not required by law or industry standard). Of course the engineer's review must be bona fide and the engineer has full authority to veto or revise or revise the design to pass his/her professional muster. But the engineer does not have to conceive, develop, or complete the design.

With that said, I completely agree that an aspiring PE needs to know the law and ethics. And that merely working for a firm that is merely sending out designs to engineers for reviewing certain aspects is not a legit career path to becoming a PE.
 
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