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mpeper

Best Board to take the Structural Engineering Exam

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Good Afternoon,

I am a federal employee involved in Dam Design and Bridge Design. I have a California PE license, I was wondering which would be the best State to take the Structural Engineering Exam (16 hour). I cannot take the structural engineering exam in California because I mainly work with Concrete and Steel. California requires work experience in masonry and Timber too, which I don't have. 

I would like to take the exam in a state which has the least hassles in red tape requirements. Could anyone guide me Appreciate your help. I would like to have a SE license.

 

Thanks

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I took the SE exam in NY because I live here.  With a NY PE license, all you have to do is send the board an email with your name,  SS# and NYS license number asking for permission to take the SE exam.  I got my approval in 15 minutes.  Literally...

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South Carolina wasn't too bad. Especially if you are already a PE in the state. Got approval to take it quickly.  

The test site was OK. It's in Columbia, SC. It was a little cold at the October exam, but April was fine. Lots of cheap to mid-price hotels near the site. The SCPE Society brought free pizza for everyone at lunch, so that was nice too.  

There will probably only be about 10 people taking the SE in SC, maybe more now, but probably not too much. Because of the low number of exam takers, each SE examinee has a full table to themselves to spread out reference material. They don't have rules about which reference books you can bring in like Illinois. Pretty much bring whatever reference you want as long as it's binded, etc. 

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I took the exam once in Illinois and then moved to the west coast and had to take the second portion elsewhere or travel with all of my materials back to Illinois. I did a little bit of research and I found Oregon to be about as easy as it gets. The state board does not get involved until after you have passed the exam(s), you simply register with NCEES to take the exam.

I would also add that Illinois has since changed the rules on materials and follow the NCEES policies (at least as of the spring 2017 exam).

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16 minutes ago, scottp62 said:

I took the exam once in Illinois and then moved to the west coast and had to take the second portion elsewhere or travel with all of my materials back to Illinois. I did a little bit of research and I found Oregon to be about as easy as it gets. The state board does not get involved until after you have passed the exam(s), you simply register with NCEES to take the exam.

I would also add that Illinois has since changed the rules on materials and follow the NCEES policies (at least as of the spring 2017 exam).

Good to know about Illinois.  Thanks!

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Taking exam is hassle free in Texas, but they do not issue License as far as I know it. If you have a PE in texas, you can just log into your NCEES account and register for the test and they approve it internally. You should at least have texas EIT and four year structural engineering analysis and design experience to be able to register for the test. So basically they do not have additional requirements to take SE than it is there for PE. I believe you can take test here if you were to transfer your EIT or PE. You may also ask the texas board directly. 
 

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22 hours ago, David Connor, SE said:

South Carolina wasn't too bad. Especially if you are already a PE in the state. Got approval to take it quickly.  

The test site was OK. It's in Columbia, SC. It was a little cold at the October exam, but April was fine. Lots of cheap to mid-price hotels near the site. The SCPE Society brought free pizza for everyone at lunch, so that was nice too.  

There will probably only be about 10 people taking the SE in SC, maybe more now, but probably not too much. Because of the low number of exam takers, each SE examinee has a full table to themselves to spread out reference material. They don't have rules about which reference books you can bring in like Illinois. Pretty much bring whatever reference you want as long as it's binded, etc. 

There were only 4 of us in SC this go around, at least on the vertical portion...didn't take lateral so I can't speak to those numbers :) 

To my knowledge you can only take the exam after you're a PE...the paperwork you fill out is called "Application for Adding Discipline to PE Record" and you have to put your license # down...not sure of the process if you aren't licensed.  I assumed you couldn't take it if you aren't already a PE...it was super easy to get approved for me though.

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6 hours ago, thedaywa1ker said:

There were only 4 of us in SC this go around, at least on the vertical portion...didn't take lateral so I can't speak to those numbers :) 

To my knowledge you can only take the exam after you're a PE...the paperwork you fill out is called "Application for Adding Discipline to PE Record" and you have to put your license # down...not sure of the process if you aren't licensed.  I assumed you couldn't take it if you aren't already a PE...it was super easy to get approved for me though.

Oh wow.  There was 8-10 when I took it 4 years ago.  4 is lower than what I'd expect. 

Where do you live daywa1ker?  I'm in Greenville. 

Also,  did you get licensed in California? 

Email me at davidconnorse@gmail.com if you don't mind.  Don't need to have a meet and greet on the forum. :) 

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Oregon is nice because you don't apply until you pass the exam. I took the exam a few weeks ago in Salem, and all you have to do is sign up with NCEES. So there is zero hassle to sign up and take the exams. Of course then you need to apply for SE licensure after you pass, but I don't thing there are any specific material design experience requirements. At lease I hope not, I'm a Bridges/Ports/Dams guy too so I have no masonry experience. Masonry is certainly were I struggled most on the exam, but I think I have a good shot a passing.

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7 hours ago, tomp said:

Oregon is nice because you don't apply until you pass the exam. I took the exam a few weeks ago in Salem, and all you have to do is sign up with NCEES. So there is zero hassle to sign up and take the exams. Of course then you need to apply for SE licensure after you pass, but I don't thing there are any specific material design experience requirements. At lease I hope not, I'm a Bridges/Ports/Dams guy too so I have no masonry experience. Masonry is certainly were I struggled most on the exam, but I think I have a good shot a passing.

@tomp So when u sign up in Ncees for the PE or SE exam you just  select the state of Oregon and their is no confirmation from the board. You are clear to take the exam at a site in the state? 

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On 4/30/2018 at 5:31 PM, Hemi79 said:

@tomp So when u sign up in Ncees for the PE or SE exam you just  select the state of Oregon and their is no confirmation from the board. You are clear to take the exam at a site in the state? 

I'm pretty sure this is not true for the PE Exam, not sure, I took it 9 years ago. But yes it is true for the SE Exam, I did just that for the April SE. You don't need any Oregon Authorization to sit for the SE Exam (they won't accept an application until you pass the Exam). You just sign up on NCEES for Oregon SE Exam, and a couple weeks before the exam you'll receive your admittance papers.

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1 hour ago, tomp said:

I'm pretty sure this is not true for the PE Exam, not sure, I took it 9 years ago. But yes it is true for the SE Exam, I did just that for the April SE. You don't need any Oregon Authorization to sit for the SE Exam (they won't accept an application until you pass the Exam). You just sign up on NCEES for Oregon SE Exam, and a couple weeks before the exam you'll receive your admittance papers.

I can confirm that it is the same process for the PE as well. I actually took the PE on Friday and SE Lateral on Saturday in October of 2017 and both registration processes were identical - just sign up through NCEES and receive confirmation about two weeks before the exam.

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whether sit for it or not, would the cali board accept the score if you dont have the experience they want?

 

whats the point?

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7 hours ago, sayed said:

whether sit for it or not, would the cali board accept the score if you dont have the experience they want?

 

whats the point?

The point is to get an SE license in another state

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15 hours ago, thedaywa1ker said:

The point is to get an SE license in another state

i forgot people like obtaining titles no matter how trivial the accomplishment is

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58 minutes ago, sayed said:

i forgot people like obtaining titles no matter how trivial the accomplishment is

Why would you forget something like that? 

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One more item to note in Oregon. You have to be an Oregon registered PE to apply as an SE. So, if you're not already registered in Oregon, you'll have to go through comity as PE before you can apply for SE.

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so you obtain an SE license, in say Illinois. You have the SE designation and license number (I guess)

 

if you live in California and do business in California you cannot legally call yourself an SE or handout business cards claiming this if your SE license is not valid there. In fact you'd get yourself in hot water with your board for misrepresentation.

 

I'm not trying to be negative but I am assuming that is why you want an SE elsewhere, to use the SE designation beside your name. If it is not valid where you live/work, you cannot legally present yourself as such.

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On 5/27/2018 at 4:46 PM, sayed said:

so you obtain an SE license, in say Illinois. You have the SE designation and license number (I guess)

 

if you live in California and do business in California you cannot legally call yourself an SE or handout business cards claiming this if your SE license is not valid there. In fact you'd get yourself in hot water with your board for misrepresentation.

 

I'm not trying to be negative but I am assuming that is why you want an SE elsewhere, to use the SE designation beside your name. If it is not valid where you live/work, you cannot legally present yourself as such.

If you have the time to study for the exam now, before you have the experience/approval from the CA board, then a year or two in the future when you do have the experience, it will make getting licensed in CA much easier.  If your experience gets approved, then you will automatically be licensed.  If you wait until you have the requisite experience to take the exam, that adds ~6 months to your time frame of getting licensed.

 

I am ~2 years from getting my SE license in California but I still took the exam in a state that doesn't even recognize the SE license, because I have the extra time to study right now.  I'm getting married this year, probably kids soon after, so who knows if I'll have the time/desire to study for several months a few years from now.

Edited by thedaywa1ker

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10 hours ago, thedaywa1ker said:

If you have the time to study for the exam now, before you have the experience/approval from the CA board, then a year or two in the future when you do have the experience, it will make getting licensed in CA much easier.  If your experience gets approved, then you will automatically be licensed.  If you wait until you have the requisite experience to take the exam, that adds ~6 months to your time frame of getting licensed.

 

I am ~2 years from getting my SE license in California but I still took the exam in a state that doesn't even recognize the SE license, because I have the extra time to study right now.  I'm getting married this year, probably kids soon after, so who knows if I'll have the time/desire to study for several months a few years from now.

makes sense... never quite understood why taking a test even requires board approval to begin with.

 

doesnt cali require a third exam prior to SE licensure?

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2 hours ago, sayed said:

makes sense... never quite understood why taking a test even requires board approval to begin with.

 

doesnt cali require a third exam prior to SE licensure?

They require seismic/surveying exams prior to PE licensure, and they require PE licensure before SE licensure, so yes, they do require 2 other 3 hour exams

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16 hours ago, sayed said:

makes sense... never quite understood why taking a test even requires board approval to begin with.

 

doesnt cali require a third exam prior to SE licensure?

Primarily because each licensing board has to determine whether each exam is sufficient to measure competency in their given jurisdiction.  The 16-hr SE exam would not have happened if many of the states did not agree to its usefulness.  NCEES was very good at working with the states to accommodate legal requirements and needs.

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10 hours ago, CAPLS said:

Primarily because each licensing board has to determine whether each exam is sufficient to measure competency in their given jurisdiction.  The 16-hr SE exam would not have happened if many of the states did not agree to its usefulness.  NCEES was very good at working with the states to accommodate legal requirements and needs.

most other licenses DO NOT require board approval to simply take an exam.

in fact, i can't think of a single professional license other than engineering that requires board approval (at least in my state)

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3 hours ago, sayed said:

most other licenses DO NOT require board approval to simply take an exam.

in fact, i can't think of a single professional license other than engineering that requires board approval (at least in my state)

Well since you and I are discussing the engineer license, I don’t believe how any other professional license is bestowed has any relevance. 

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