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Katiebug

How to find endorsers?

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I'm a Mechanical in Connecticut and have this wild idea about trying to get my PE. I'm in no rush; my thinking right now is to get the FE/EIT out of the way and then take the PE test a year or two later once I can take a prep class. I'm in grad school part time and it's going to mean a much longer prep period for these tests since I need to fit it in alongside school.

The major hurdle I can see at the moment (aside from the whole needing to pass two tests thing!) is that my state requires 5 endorsers for the PE license - four must be engineers not related to me, three must hold US PEs, and one must be listed on my experience record. If I can't provide that, I have to write a letter to the licensing board explaining why.

We have two people at work with the Canadian P.Eng designation (both have worked in the US for years). Aside from that, my large engineering organization has a real lack of PEs. We're primarily Mechanical, Materials, and Electrical, and those are all fields where most engineers work under industrial exemption for an entire career. I don't want to leave my employer or my industry to get a PE, so that might prove problematic.

I work in the elevator industry and I think (personally) that it's important for engineers engaged in an industry related to public safety to prove some basic level of competence. I'm interested in elevator code-related work in the future, and a PE would be helpful for that. Also, if we can get a few PEs in the organization, perhaps other young engineers would be more inclined to seek licensure because perceived lack of endorsers won't be as much of a problem.

I like the way Canada and other countries license ALL engineers working in the field (although the Canadian P.Eng process certainly seems easier than the US process, at least where testing is concerned - all of my Canadian colleagues have a P.Eng and none of them found the required ethics test very taxing). Here, it seems too easy for someone to just call themselves an engineer...I've worked with a few. Some have been extremely competent at their work and went on to graduate from college, but one or two were not so great and managed to sneak by with other engineers checking their work for years. A license at least proves you have the fundamental skills needed to function in the profession.

The EIT application is a breeze, that will be no problem. I will likely take the FE in October, but it almost seems a waste to bother with the EIT if I won't be able to take the PE test down the line for lack of suitable endorsement on my application. Do my endorsers need to be engineers I've worked with, or can I get involved in my state PE organization and maybe meet people there? Does a letter to the licensing board have any chance of working? I can get five (or more!) endorsers with no problem, including engineers with PhDs and decades of experience in industry - it's just that I will have trouble finding three people at work with US PEs. How have other engineers in fields/companies where PEs aren't common pulled this off?

ETA: One of my cousins is a Civil with a PE, but I would not ask a relative to endorse me for licensure. I just don't believe she could honestly do so - she's never seen my work.

Edited by Katiebug

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^ I think most states require 5 endorsers, 3 of which need to hold a P.E. One of those should be your immediate supervisor.

I've heard of people having troubles with this that work at small companies or those where a PE isn't needed. I'd definitely say get involved with pro/technical societies and branch out that way if you can.

Also, you're just taking the EIT now, you still have time to find endorsers for the PE.

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Welcom to the board Katie !! :)

First and foremost, I would like to commend you on your articulate and thoughtful approach as to WHY you feel you would like to pursue professional licensure. I think anyone who can layout the essence of the problem and can systematically start putting the pieces together is well on thier way to enduring the licensing process. Notice I said ENDURE - it will be a test of endurance and patience.

Working for a gubment agency, I found myself with the same dilemna. There weren't many professional engineers in my workplace and even fewer that were familiar with my workproduct. Moreover, most of the professional engineers that WERE familiar with my workproduct were regulated by ME - meaning the potential for the appearance of impropriety.

The primary way to approach your references is to carefully review the substance of what your reference is being requested to supply. So, in general:

Professional references will require that somebody has seen and is familiar with your workproduct and can attest to your experience and competency as a (professional) engineer.

Personal references are not as onerous. They ask the reference to make QUALITY statements about your character and professionalism. So these would be people who you have a chance to interact with but would not necessarily be privy to the entirety of your workproduct or record of experience. They would be familiar with a very specific part of your experience that would lead them to believe you could handle yourself competently.

Most of the reference forms have been distilled to a simple checklist that primarily consists of the reference information and some boxes to check. The personal reference form is typically very abbreviated. The professional reference has added lines for extent of work experience and knowledge.

In the end, understanding the difference was extremely helpful for me and it should be helpful for you as well.

I ended up soliciting the following people for engineer license references (including NCEES Record):

  • my retired previous supervisor
  • engineers that I worked with on historical projects > 2yrs old (this is based on my state's ethics directive)
  • previous and current college professors. I shared the substance of some of my workproduct and discussed it within the context of classes or other 'shared' projects.
  • other agency engineers in other programs. In this case I had cross-over regulatory issues where I engaged those engineers by branching out to get them involved.

In each of those cases, those engineers may not have been able to attest to the range of my competency and capabilties, but they were certainly aware of my character and APPEARANCE to be able to conduct myself in a professionally competent way.

I hope this helps you as you navigate your way down the path to licensure. Please feel free to PM me with any follow-on questions.

Regards,

JR

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I only had two references and needed three - I asked one of my professors (a PE) to do it and he was happy to. Of course, I had visited with him on occasion so he was familiar with my education and work experience.

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Welcome to the board Katie!!

I was lucky with my endorsers. I work with all of mine. So, I had all 5 of my licensed endorsers on my PE application.

If you don't have any endorsers, I would defintely only use people licensed/working in the industry in which you are in. I would take a hard look at any clients of your company may have as well as any PE's in any other offices of your company for any endorsers. You might just get your minimum 3 from doing just that.

Good luck!!

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Hi Katie! I just wanted to point out that the board is providing you an out if you are unable to get the references they require. I would start in advance and explain what references you have available to choose from, and of those, which ones would they accept. I see no reason why they wouldn't accept the Canadian references, as long as you provide the letter explaining that's all you've got. I had an issue where I couldn't find anyone at a company to write me one, but you can have ANY engineer review your work and give a reference, even if they don't work with you. They also suggested college professors.

I also want to discourage you from NOT taking the EIT just because you might not take the PE right now. See posts from LindaM, a colleague of mine, who took it ~10 years ago and just passed the PE. If she hadn't have taken it back then, she probably wouldn't have taken the PE. It's not going to hurt you to take it, it can only help.

While I'm rambling, do you have the experience to take the PE in 1-2 years? I don't know what the requirements are there, but generally it's around 4 years. You've obviously done research, so I'm guessing you're okay with that, but just thought I'd ask.

Good luck!

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While I'm rambling, do you have the experience to take the PE in 1-2 years? I don't know what the requirements are there, but generally it's around 4 years. You've obviously done research, so I'm guessing you're okay with that, but just thought I'd ask.

Yup, I have nearly 5 years' experience now, so I'm good to go at any point once I pass the FE and get my EIT certificate. CT requires 4 years' experience. I figured I'd get the EIT out of the way first and then worry about prepping for the PE in a more leisurely manner.

My immediate supervisor does not have a PE, nor do any managers in my area/in a position to supervise me. I work for about four different people at any given time, depending on the project, and our managers rotate through about every 2 years. A few profs from undergrad had a PE but I haven't kept in contact with any of them, unfortunately.

I think I will contact the licensing board about this. I'm sure I can't have been the only person they've encountered who's in this situation.

My hubby wants me to take the FE...mainly because once I get that EIT certificate I have 10 years to figure out what to do about the endorser situation and to pass the PE! There's no rush.

Edited by Katiebug

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Tell all the people you ask for references that you will buy the first round when you pass. I did that and a couple guys went from "I am kinda busy" to "Well I could probably find some time."

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KB,

That was my biggest hurdle too. I found them by luck and just started paying attention. Most PEs will have their license hanging in their cube/office and they will have it on their e-mail signature. I used 3 PEs that were in the same dept. but did not work directly with them, my boss, and a former mentot.

I woud suggest saving yourself some money and applying for the PE, forget the EIT. With your application, state that you will take the FE in Oct 08 and the PE in Oct 07. They should be ok with it if you meet the PE requirements. Also, if you are still going to school the FE should be a little easier, I had been out of undergrad for 10 yrs and grad for 6 yrs when I took the FE. But get a good study manual.

I'm guessing I work at one of your sister companies. From what I have seen, it will not get you an immediate raise/bonus, but it does help in the long run (Mr. David likes credentials).

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KB,

That was my biggest hurdle too. I found them by luck and just started paying attention. Most PEs will have their license hanging in their cube/office and they will have it on their e-mail signature. I used 3 PEs that were in the same dept. but did not work directly with them, my boss, and a former mentot.

I woud suggest saving yourself some money and applying for the PE, forget the EIT. With your application, state that you will take the FE in Oct 08 and the PE in Oct 07. They should be ok with it if you meet the PE requirements. Also, if you are still going to school the FE should be a little easier, I had been out of undergrad for 10 yrs and grad for 6 yrs when I took the FE. But get a good study manual.

I'm guessing I work at one of your sister companies. From what I have seen, it will not get you an immediate raise/bonus, but it does help in the long run (Mr. David likes credentials).

Especially in fields where most engineers don't have a PE, how is a young engineer supposed to FIND people to sign off on their skills? Yet every day I work with very talented and experienced people, most with a graduate degree in engineering, and they're not "good" enough for the licensing board unless I can convince them of it. It just seems weird and a little archaic. It works for the Civils, for sure, but it's very different for the rest of us.

You do indeed work at one of my sister companies - good to know that it may be helpful in the long run. I honestly wasn't expecting anything out of this, aside from personal accomplishment. Our mechanical engineering organization is so small (only about 35 of us) and another young engineer in the segment didn't even bother with the licensing process when she saw that no one seemed to care about it and no one else had it. I'll start asking around, though. Maybe someone has a PE and I just never heard about it. Our Canadians (in the US and Canada) who I've worked with do have their P.Eng licenses, but it's a virtual requirement up there if you want to work in the field, and it's a much "easier" process from what I've been told.

They say the FE gets harder and harder the longer you're out of school, so it seemed best to just get it out of the way and then worry about the PE down the line. I didn't know I could possibly do the PE first. I'll have to look into it!

Thank you, everyone, for all the encouragement. I guess the worst thing that happens is I try and the licensing board shoots me down - at least then I'll know I did my best.

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Our mechanical engineering organization is so small (only about 35 of us) and another young engineer in the segment didn't even bother with the licensing process when she saw that no one seemed to care about it and no one else had it. I'll start asking around, though. Maybe someone has a PE and I just never heard about it.

They say the FE gets harder and harder the longer you're out of school, so it seemed best to just get it out of the way and then worry about the PE down the line. I didn't know I could possibly do the PE first. I'll have to look into it!

Thank you, everyone, for all the encouragement. I guess the worst thing that happens is I try and the licensing board shoots me down - at least then I'll know I did my best.

You also don't know what you'll be doing in 10 years either. Your career path could change or licensing requirements could change. You should definitely get the FE out of the way as you said.

Good luck.

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I know CT accepted out of state PEs. I had one as one of my endorsers. He was licensed in Mass. Why not ask your old Profs to sign for you? Make a donation to their department before you ask.

This is what is required in CT (you already know this, but some on this thread may not)

At least five (5) persons of whom at least four (4) shall be members of your profession and not related to you

and at least one (1) who is listed in the Experience Record. At least three (3) must also be licensed Professional Engineers in the United States.

You may be able to use the Canadians with a letter and a resume of some sort. I would recommend calling the DCP (DCP WEB SITE) and talking to one of the staff that is listed on the web site (scroll to the bottom for PE). They were pretty helpful for me and asnswered alot of Qs. I also called one of the board members (the one that is a prof at UConn) and just picked his brain.

Edited by C-Dog

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I know CT accepted out of state PEs. I had one as one of my endorsers. He was licensed in Mass. Why not ask your old Profs to sign for you? Make a donation to their department before you ask.

This is what is required in CT (you already know this, but some on this thread may not)

You may be able to use the Canadians with a letter and a resume of some sort. I would recommend calling the DCP (DCP WEB SITE) and talking to one of the staff that is listed on the web site (scroll to the bottom for PE). They were pretty helpful for me and asnswered alot of Qs. I also called one of the board members (the one that is a prof at UConn) and just picked his brain.

I went to UConn and I know at least 1 of my Mechanical profs still has an active CT PE. I could probably wrangle an endorsement out of him (might as well get something for my annual donation to the School of Engineering). I'm probably going to Engineering Week up there and can start making inquiries. Good idea!

I actually talked to a very helpful lady at the DCP today regarding my EIT application. She recommended I just get that out of the way (only need 3 references from other engineers, no license required for any of them) and THEN worry about finding 3 PEs to endorse me once I've gotten my EIT. I think I'm going to take that advice; I already have the EIT application nearly done and I want to get that out of the way first. She said that worst case scenario, if I don't find the three PEs, I can always write that letter to the board explaining why.

I've asked several managers at work about who has a PE, and there's a lot of "I think So-and-So does..." only to discover that So-and-So does not, or is either a Canadian P.Eng or the UK equivalent (chartered engineer?). Very frustrating! My supervisor was very amused at the idea of a Mechanical wanting to go through all of this if s/he doesn't have to.

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Sounds like you got yourself a good plan. Now get studying :) I found the FE test was easy, but I did put a lot of time into stufying because I was afraid I would not know the material since it was so long since I did school work.

My supervisor was very amused at the idea of a Mechanical wanting to go through all of this if s/he doesn't have to.

Yeah, people at work still ask me why. Personal acheivement, that is why for me. Plus, I have noticed that many of the chiefs and principle engineers have either a Phd or PE after their name. And also, wouldn't you rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it? (I stole that from some other poster on EB)

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And also, wouldn't you rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it? (I stole that from some other poster on EB)

Another great contribution from EB.com !! :plusone::woot:

JR

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I was worried about not having people to sign off on my PE when the time came once I left a civil/consulting firm. I even asked about it at my interview. Turns out about half the engineers at my new company (mostly mechanics, but a few structurals, chemicals and electricals thrown in) have PE's. Hopefully they're willing to vouch for me.

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And also, wouldn't you rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it? (I stole that from some other poster on EB)

You're welcome!

Boy, wouldn't you rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it? Also, who knows how the laws will change in the future? What if the industrial exemption goes away?

Hey, Luis. Wasn't it posted somewhere that Puerto Rico is already that way? If you're an engineer you have to be licensed?

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You're welcome!

Thanks Mike. I knew I read it and liked it a lot. I use that line all the time now when asked why. :thumbs:

Edited by C-Dog

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I passed the April 2008 FE exam (1st time I've taken such an exam though I have been working for over 25 years).

I am planning on taking the October 2008 PE Exam in the Electrical Discipline but am encountering the same problem as katiebug with respect to verification of work. The state of HI requires that verification be provided by licensed engineers that are licensed in the same discipline that I am taking the exam AND served as supervisors for my work.

My background and experience is in space/ground architecture, satellite design, VLSI design, WAN/LAN design and installations, along with IT security and networking. None of my former colleagues (all engineers), or managers, had ever taken the FE or PE. The majority of my work has been performed outside of HI.

Based upon my experience and background, I am planning on taking either the Computers or EEC afternoon session for the Electrical discipline. However, having been in the field for a length of time, an MCSE or Oracle, or even A+ certification counts more with an employer (sad but the truth). Yes, an MCSE counts more in the eyes of employers than an MSIS or MBA (both of which I have in addition to my undergraduate engineering degree).

However, a PE is required in HI for any job with the title of Engineer. I am seriously looking at the Powers afternoon session since that is where the jobs are in HI and the reason why the PE is required in HI. An added incentive is that several engineering firms outside of HI have contacted me regarding employment --- all are in the Power or Energy sector. My main rationale for pursuing the FE and PE originally was curiosity (wanted to see what it was about and see if I could attain such a designation). An added benefit was that I found myself intrigued by Environmental Engineering (had to review it for the FE Exam since I never had such a course when I was an undergraduate).

I find it depressing that because all of my work experience has not been under a licensed PE, much less under a licensed PE in the same discipline that I want to take the PE exam, that I probably will be denied the opportunity to take the exam. I certainly can't serve as my own reference even though I was the responsible engineer for the entire command, control, computer, and control system of an autonomous satellite and had to review the work of those under me, develop test plans, test procedures, design reviews and such.

So my hats off to katiebug for wanting to pursue the FE and PE. I hope I am an example that it can be done even if you've been out of school for awhile.

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The licensing requirements vary from state to state and there is nothing stopping you from taking the exam in another state. Michigan requires five references--three from PEs, but your supervisor does not have to be licensed. The only requirement is your references are familar with your work. If your primary goal is simply to get licensed, you could consider this option. You may also be able to have the exam proctored in HI, so you don't have to fly to the mainland just to take the test.

But I also encourage you to contact your state board. I imagine this problem is not uncommon, since there are not many licensed engineers in EE outside of power, so your board may have another option available to you. It may simply involve writing a petition to the board explaining your situation. But you'll never know if you don't ask your board.

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