Coupled States Accepting Exams from Decoupled States - Anything about the PE Exam - Engineer Boards
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aswice

Coupled States Accepting Exams from Decoupled States

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I graduated in 2016, and will be eligible (by work experience) to obtain my PE in 2020. In 2018 I lived in North Carolina, so I took and passed the PE exam “early” there. I have since moved to Georgia which is a standard/coupled state. Does anyone know if Georgia will accept my exam once I have completed four years of experience in 2020?

Needless to say I’m horrified by the idea of having to take the exam again. This might have been asked a billion times, but thanks for the help.

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I don't see why they wouldn't.

I took the PE exam early in South Carolina and Florida has no issue accepting it, even before it became decoupled.

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I've looked into this quite a bit, inasmuch as I'm currently living in Ohio: the undisputed champion of making people retake the exam if they decoupled in another state.

Obviously, it depends on Georgia's specific regulations, but coupled states generally won't accept your decoupled exam if you apply directly to their board by examination. However, if you get fully licensed in another state, then apply for comity, they'll generally accept the out-of-state licensure.

So, if I was in your shoes, I'd probably plan to apply for licensure by exam in North Carolina (or another decoupled state of your choosing), then when I'd received that license, I would apply to Georgia by comity. It'll cost you some time and money, but probably no more than retaking the exam.

Alternately, you could call the Georgia board and see what they say. I doubt they tell you anything different, but it might be worth a shot. 🤷‍♀️

Just don't plan on getting licensed in Ohio anytime soon. 😅

Edited by Will.I.Am
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48 minutes ago, Will.I.Am said:

So, if I was in your shoes, I'd probably plan to apply for licensure by exam in North Carolina (or another decoupled state of your choosing), then when I'd received that license, I would apply to Georgia by comity. It'll cost you some time and money, but probably no more than retaking the exam.

This is a great point. Florida lets you apply for initial licensure through NCEES but Georgia does not so it looks like you'll have to do this.

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Well. I took it early and failed 3 times. So on my fourth try, I was 6 years in and it was coupled. LOL.

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On 9/25/2019 at 8:04 AM, Will.I.Am said:

I've looked into this quite a bit, inasmuch as I'm currently living in Ohio: the undisputed champion of making people retake the exam if they decoupled in another state.

Obviously, it depends on Georgia's specific regulations, but coupled states generally won't accept your decoupled exam if you apply directly to their board by examination. However, if you get fully licensed in another state, then apply for comity, they'll generally accept the out-of-state licensure.

So, if I was in your shoes, I'd probably plan to apply for licensure by exam in North Carolina (or another decoupled state of your choosing), then when I'd received that license, I would apply to Georgia by comity. It'll cost you some time and money, but probably no more than retaking the exam.

:plusone:

Many states require applicants to take and pass the PE after satisfying the experience requirement, and are sticklers about the rule. This includes not only applicants who took the decoupled exam, but also those applying for comity (who took the decouple exam; or otherwise didn't meet the receiving states experience requirement prior to passing the exam. The States that give applicants the hardest time tend to be those who have the experience prior to exam requirement hard written into statute.

It's not clear if Georgia is one of those States. The law reads ( § 43-15-9. Professional engineer certificate of registration; eligibility)

Quote
To be eligible for a certificate of registration as a professional engineer, an applicant must meet the
following minimum requirements:
(1)
(A) Obtain certification by the board as an engineer-in-training under paragraph (1) of
Code
Section 43-15-8
;
(B)
Acquire a specific record of not less than four years' experience in engineering work of
a character satisfactory to the board which indicates the applicant is competent to practice
professional engineering; and
(C)
Subsequently pass a written examination in the principles and practice of engineering
(professional engineer's examination)

It's not obvious to me if the "subsequently" in (C) refers to (A) getting EIT, (B) experience, or both. I strongly suspect it's "both" because of precedent. But there is some wiggle room there if there board wants to read it a certain way. Unfortunately you'll probably have to retake the exam if you want to get licensed in Georgia. You should contact the board to be sure.

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47 minutes ago, RBHeadge PE said:

Many states require applicants to take and pass the PE after satisfying the experience requirement, and are sticklers about the rule. This includes not only applicants who took the decoupled exam, but also those applying for comity (who took the decouple exam; or otherwise didn't meet the receiving states experience requirement prior to passing the exam. The States that give applicants the hardest time tend to be those who have the experience prior to exam requirement hard written into statute.

It's not clear if Georgia is one of those States. 

Thanks for the +1. 😁

From what I've gathered in my research of the topic, Georgia has accepted at least some decoupled comity applications and I haven't heard anything about them making anyone retake the exam. (Though, that doesn't mean that it hasn't happened in the past or won't happen in the future.) That being said, I have heard that the Georgia board is full of old, elitist Georgia Tech grads, so you really never know what you're going to get. There is a decent chance that you, @aswice, will have to appear before the Georgia board, to explain to them why you ended up decoupling, particularly inasmuch as you'll be a Georgia resident when you apply for initial licensure. It's far from a guarantee, but based on the admittedly scant information available, I'd think that they wouldn't make you retake the test.

I say this in contrast to the Ohio board, which literally had to be sued and have a judge force them to give comity to a certain applicant before they would even consider giving comity to applicants who had decoupled.

I, for one, am interested in what the Georgia board has to say. Whenever you talk with them and/or apply for comity, please give us an update. (And the best of luck to you when you do.)

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This is an interesting conversation. I took and passed the exam in Louisiana which is decoupled. I had 14 years of experience when I took it, but the Louisiana application process is decoupled even if you already have more than 4 years. First you apply to take the exam, then after you pass you submit your work experience and reference. There is no option to submit a coupled application. 
Do coupled states care about this, or would they say that I had the necessary experience when I took the exam, so it's coupled to them?

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3 hours ago, jean15paul said:

Do coupled states care about this, or would they say that I had the necessary experience when I took the exam, so it's coupled to them?

As far as I know, state boards don't necessarily know whether you submitted a "coupled" or a "decoupled" application for initial licensure. I think they're typically only looking at your exam date and the dates of your experience.

If the dates match up with what's required by state statute or board rules, I doubt anyone looks any deeper into the application process. I could certainly be wrong, but that's how I understand it.

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11 hours ago, January Jones said:

What is a coupled state? Whats a decoupled state? 

The application process use to be "coupled" everywhere. That was the default. You submitted a PE application to your state board AFTER you obtained the required experience and recommendations. Once the application was reviewed and approved, you took the exam, and if you passed you're got your PE license. Taking the exam is "coupled" to the application process.

In recent years, many states have transitioned to a "decoupled" process. You can submit an application to take the exam BEFORE meeting the experience requirement. In theory you can take the PE exam as soon as you pass the FE exam (and some people do). But you still must wait until you have the required experience, and then you submit a 2nd application with your experience and recommendations. (In Louisiana it's referred to as a Part 1 and Part 2 application; not sure if that's true everywhere.) After all that, you get your PE licence. Taking the exam is "decoupled" from the final PE application process.

Lots of states have switched to the decoupled process. They say it encourages more people to take the exam because there are less hoops to jump through before the exam. Also some people think the exam is easier if you're closer to your time in school. The boards don't really say this, but it also allows them to only have to review the experience of people who pass. As opposed to with the coupled process where they have to review every applicants experience. (They also get to charge 2 application fees.)

But not all have moved to the decoupled process. I don't know much about this, but it sound like some states that still used the coupled process, don't like to recognize PEs obtained using the decoupled process. I guess they consider the traditional coupled process to be more rigorous. 

Edited by jean15paul_PE
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Thanks alot. I think I am or was under the coupled process, so this makes sense... and the coupled process is more extreme/rigorous.  I still have a few hoops to jump through, even though I passed the PE this past April 🤦🏽‍♀️🤦🏽‍♀️🤦🏽‍♀️😩😩.  At any rate, thanks for the explanation. 

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I second @jean15paul_PE's post.

Before 2005, you could not register for the PE Exam without the requisite experience and approval of your state board. Nevada was the first state to "decouple" the exam from the experience requirements, and about 15, or so, other states have followed suit.

One additional benefit for state boards is that they can let candidates take the exam whenever, and simply take PE applications as they come, rather than having a mad rush of new applications twice a year. Though, with the transition to computer-based testing coming, it will be a moot point here in about 4 years.

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That's a good point @Will.I.Am. I didn't think about the fact that the decoupled process eliminates the twice-a-year surge in applications.

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On 10/11/2019 at 5:24 AM, January Jones said:

Thanks alot. I think I am or was under the coupled process, so this makes sense... and the coupled process is more extreme/rigorous.  

I'd characterize it more as adhearing to the letter of the law; and with the intent of the exam designers.

On 10/11/2019 at 9:23 AM, jean15paul_PE said:

That's a good point @Will.I.Am. I didn't think about the fact that the decoupled process eliminates the twice-a-year surge in applications.

From what I understand, NCEES doesn't send the CBT results continuously, but rather in regular batches. I could be wrong though.

And some states will wait until they get a threshold of CBT passes before issuing liscences.

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3 hours ago, RBHeadge PE said:

From what I understand, NCEES doesn't send the CBT results continuously, but rather in regular batches. I could be wrong though.

And some states will wait until they get a threshold of CBT passes before issuing liscences.

I believe you're correct on both accounts. I'm pretty confident they release them more than twice a year, but I really don't know, for sure.

For decoupled states, though, the applications can come in as applicants finish their required experience, rather than after they pass the exam, twice a year. There will still be rush periods as results are delivered to those who have already completed the requisite experience, but it gives the boards the opportunity to spread them out more than under the coupled process.

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On 10/11/2019 at 6:54 AM, Will.I.Am said:

... Nevada was the first state to "decouple" the exam from the experience requirements, and about 15, or so, other states have followed suit....

I found a list if anyone is interested...
https://www.nspe.org/sites/default/files/resources/pdfs/admin/publications/NSPE-When-Can-I-Take-the-PE-Exam.pdf

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On 10/16/2019 at 3:00 PM, jean15paul_PE said:

 

11 hours ago, Ranger1316 said:

That's a good list but I know Florida has since decoupled.

California has also decoupled since this was made.

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