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projectengineerMG

PE Exam Experience from Construction

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I have a BS and MS in Civil Engineering from an ABET school, and I passed the FE in 2009 (took it in Ohio after my BS). I've worked (7 years) for a large construction/engineering company where I have mainly been assigned to positions out on construction projects. My work has all been oil/gas project related where I've been exposed to civil/structural/electrical/testing/commissioning. However, my "engineering" experience is rather limited compared to my project management experience. My role would best be described as a project engineer and I've worked all over the country.

I'm looking into getting my PE as I believe it would help me with future job prospects elsewhere than at my current company. I'm thinking consulting roles or project planning roles at more engineering focused companies. I know if I leave the oil/gas industry, most engineering companies require a PE for the positions I'd be looking for. (I don't want to sacrifice salary just because I don't have a PE)

The "experience" part of PE license applications is where I will have the most issues. I'm currently working out of our Texas office, so for Texas application I need 3 years of experience to write about, assuming my MS degree will count for 1 year of the 4 years required. 

Looking at the "construction engineering" Civil exam, I believe I have lots of experience that relates to the testing topics. However, filling up 3 years worth of experience using a few months from one project and then a year from another project and then a few months etc seems like it will look like I'm stretching my experience, and I don't want the PE's at my company to sign off on something they feel uncomfortable with or to have the Texas board reject my application.

I'm not dead set on staying in Texas so I'm looking at the following options:

  • I read Texas decoupled their PE exam from the experience requirement so I could apply to take the PE exam in Texas without applying for the Texas license. Then I'd figure out the experience issue at a later date as I focus on gaining more "engineering" experience at my current/future companies (I don't have a Texas EIT so not sure if this is even an option)
  • applying for licensing in California since I'd only need 1 year of engineering experience with the other year coming from my MS degree (I worked on a project for a year in California so some of my experience is actually coming from California), I'd obviously have to take there 2 additional seismic/surveying tests though
  • Request I work more on the design side at my current company for the next few years to gain more experience before applying for PE... however, this may stifle my career as performance out on projects is more praised than design roles
  • Take a pay cut for a few years and force myself to get more experience elsewhere in a more junior role, then get my PE and move on to bigger and better

 

Any advice or suggestions is greatly appreciated.

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Your career path is just the opposite to mine. I was fortunate enough to spend over 8 years in consulting doing design work earlier in my career. I spent the last 13 years in construction/project management. Texas Board approved my PE application back in 2017. The application process took over 3 months. I made sure I have all my ducks in row before submitting the application.

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Don't overthink.  This is copied from another post as the experience questions comes up quite often.  Your true "Design" experience may be limited, but you may have spent my your entire career on the "other engineering duties".

 Here is a list of action verbs you can use in your record to get you started:

•      Designed

•      Analyzed

•      Specified

•      Programmed

•      Planned

•      Evaluated

•      Problem Solved

•      Produced

•      Created

•      Implemented

 

Example: “I designed Scopes of Work for various change orders on the Project including re-design of pile layouts for building foundation, design of concrete expansion joint detail, etc.”

 

Some other design examples, notice how specific the examples are:

 

•      Performed troubleshooting on air handling unit during commissioning.

•      Calculated construction loads for scaffolding to be used for concrete placement.

•      Calculated the loading on new concrete foundations to verify it was acceptable to backfill and place construction equipment on top of the foundations.

•      Specified foundation detail requirements

•      Designed storm water drainage plans

•      Designed formwork for concrete.

•      Calculated equipment fleet productivity rates and scheduled project to optimize equipment and manpower resources.

•      Designed temporary excavations support systems.

•      Designed construction haul roads.

•      Design of rigging systems.

•      Design of crane safety and operation plans.

•      Design of storage and lay-down facilities.

•      Design and inspection of site drainage and sedimentation controls.

 


Other engineering duties can include:

 

•      Inspection of construction to verify conformance with design documents.

•      Perform value engineering analyses

•      Perform constructability reviews; provide design input based on reviews to the engineer of record.

•      Perform materials testing (concrete, steel, soils) and generate reports of results for use during construction (i.e., took soil samples and performed standard proctor).

•      Design and optimization of construction project schedule

•      Review shop drawings and submittals

•      Review and answer Requests for Information (RFIs)

•      Generate engineering cost estimates

•      Perform engineering economic analyses of construction plant and generate findings (i.e., buy or lease analysis, amortization schedule, maintenance costs over life of equipment, etc).

•      Performed safety inspections to verify compliance with OSHA requirements.

•      Generated (or reviewed) safety plans to ensure engineering controls were properly implemented (i.e., shoring for excavation, steel erection plans, critical lift plans, rigging, noise/light control plans, etc).

 

The key is to say what YOU did on the project. Do not say you “managed” other people doing the work; you have to have actually done the work to get credit for it. You need to properly and completely explain your design experience which, depending on your state, is required in conjunction with your general engineering experience.

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This is from the State of Tennessee Board:

What constitutes progressive engineering experience?

The Special Committee on Experience Evaluation of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) has developed the following guidelines for the work areas and skills an engineer intern must develop to obtain progressive engineering experience. Board members utilize these guidelines when evaluating exam applications, with greater weight being given to the Practical Application of Theory component.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF THEORY

ANALYSIS--of operating conditions; performance assessment; feasibility studies; constructability; value engineering; safety; environmental issues; economic issues; risk assessment; reliability.

DESIGN--construction plan or specification preparation; product specifications; component selection; maintenance and social implications of final product.

TESTING--developing or specifying testing procedures; verifying functional specifications; implementing quality control and assurance; maintenance and replacement evaluation.

IMPLEMENTATION--of engineering principles in design, construction, or research; performance of engineering cost studies; process flow and time studies; implementation of quality control and assurance; safety issues; environmental issues.

SYSTEMS APPLICATION--evaluation of components of a larger system; evaluation of the reliability of system parts; design and evaluation of equipment control systems while considering ergonomics, utility, manufacturing tolerances, and operating and maintenance concerns; the engineering required to establish programs and procedures for the maintenance and management of buildings, bridges, and other types of structures where failure or improper operation would endanger the public health and safety.

TIME IN THE ENGINEERING PROCESS--difficulties of workflow; scheduling; equipment life; corrosion rates and replacement scheduling.

KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING--codes, standards, regulations, and laws that govern applicable engineering activities.

MANAGEMENT OF ENGINEERING

Engineering management includes supervising staff, managing engineering projects, and managing and administering technology as it is applied in the field or in construction. It may involve:

PLANNING--developing concepts; evaluating alternative methods.

SCHEDULING--preparing task breakdowns and schedules.

BUDGETING AND CONTRACTING--cost estimating and control; contract development.

SUPERVISING--organizing human resources; motivating teams; directing and coordinating project resources.

PROJECT CONTROL--complete or partial project control.

RISK ASSESSMENT--assessment of risk associated with the progression of the project.

COMMUNICATION SKILLS

Accumulation of project knowledge through interpersonal communication with supervisors, clients, subordinates, or team interaction.

Transmission of project knowledge in verbal or written methods to clients, supervisors, subordinates, the general public, or team members. Examples would be via meetings, written reports, public hearings and reporting or findings and suggestions, other written correspondence and/or verbal briefings.

SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF ENGINEERING

Promoting and safeguarding the health, safety, and welfare of the public as demonstrated in daily work activities.

Demonstrating an awareness of the consequences the work performed may incur and a desire to mitigate or eliminate any potential negative impact.

Following a code of ethics that promotes a high degree of integrity in the practice of professional engineering.

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Texas PE Application is pretty straight forward. They provide you an example of how to prepare and explain in detail your engineering experience.

 

 

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@projectengineerMG

I am currently Texas-licensed in Civil Construction. I had no design experience, and all my work was related to construction and admin in the construction firm.

As @ruggercsc mentioned, you will need to address some of the required keywords that from your work. 

Based on what you described, you are more than qualified to submit the application. However, you still need to fill out SER for each individual employer.

10 hours ago, KOKOMO777 said:

Texas PE Application is pretty straight forward. They provide you an example of how to prepare and explain in detail your engineering experience.

2

 

FYI, I had teaching experience in a university, it was also counted by the board.

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applying for licensing in California since I'd only need 1 year of engineering experience with the other year coming from my MS degree (I worked on a project for a year in California so some of my experience is actually coming from California), I'd obviously have to take there 2 additional seismic/surveying tests though

I don't have any advice regarding your engineering experience, but as a California resident, I have to wonder why anybody would even consider moving here. All of my family is here and I have a year old son, so that is the only reason I am here. I would never move here from somewhere else though. 

If you enjoy being taxed for breathing, having your life micro-managed by rules and regulations, giving an arm and a leg for vehicle registration fees every year, playing russian roulette every year or 2 with smog checks, paying through the nose for utilities and basic life necessities, living in a shack for a mortgage that would get you a mansion in most other states, then maybe CA is worth considering.

IF you can find an excellent paying job NOT in a major city with a half hour or less commute (basically a unicorn), California MIGHT BE tolerable. 

Edited by ct27gt
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For the Texas PE, you can have your EIT transferred. I took the FE in 2009 in California and transferred it to Texas this year. It was pretty straight forward and just required some transcripts to be transferred and exam verification through NCEES (I believe). The people from TBPE were pretty helpful and responded quickly when I had questions.

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@ruggercsc thanks for the suggestions that all helps ease my mind. The Tennessee board info is awesome. I'm trying to not over think it but its hard!!!

@ct27gt I worked in California all last year in the Bay Area, I agree with everything you said. It's a nice place to live for short term is what I tell everyone.

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