Get licensed in 2 disciplines?

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gonecrawfishin

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In many states, there are no disciplines, only general PE licenses; NY is an example. Even in some states that issue discipline specific PE licenses, education law permits you to review and stamp anything you feel confident enough to understand and approve; MA is an example. It's mostly self regulated. 

In my case, I went to school for Mechanical Engineering, but worked under Electrical Engineers for many years. I took the Mechanical FE exam, and then the Power PE exam. I would now consider myself competent enough to stamp certain types of designs in either field, and even some civil design based on what I've learned in my work experience and continuing education. We're all always growing in our competency, especially 10+ years after you sat for some state exam. 

So, I recommend before sitting for many exams or submitting more applications, you read your state's education law to see if they support self enforcement of what disciplines you should or should not stamp. 

 
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Kyle C

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Does anyone here have 2 licenses? for example civil and mechanical. if so, can you share your story?

anyone else have thoughts on this?
I have Civil-Geotech PE and Electrical-Electronic, control and communication PE. And will take Fire Protection Engineer in 2022.
Like being said "I believe there was a user on here by the name of "palvarez". I think he had like 3 or 4 of them because he worked at/owned an MEP firm. Which then tends to make sense of having multiple licenses."
I do these in order to impress potential employer and potential clients and stamp if needed also it's fun to learn all disciplinary knowledges especially IC related part(that's why after preparing electrical power I chose to take ECC instead). I could learn to make your own circuit board and make toys for my son.
 

structurenole15

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I have Civil-Geotech PE and Electrical-Electronic, control and communication PE. And will take Fire Protection Engineer in 2022.
Like being said "I believe there was a user on here by the name of "palvarez". I think he had like 3 or 4 of them because he worked at/owned an MEP firm. Which then tends to make sense of having multiple licenses."
I do these in order to impress potential employer and potential clients and stamp if needed also it's fun to learn all disciplinary knowledges especially IC related part(that's why after preparing electrical power I chose to take ECC instead). I could learn to make your own circuit board and make toys for my son.
Isn't this only possible in states that license by discipline? For example, here in Pennsylvania, I don't believe it matters what discipline PE exam you take (civil or electrical, for example) because you're granted the same PE license from the state regardless.

Now, there are ethical concerns with not practicing in an area you do not have expertise in, so that would be the biggest reason I see to take multiple PE exams.
 

RBHeadge PE

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Isn't this only possible in states that license by discipline? For example, here in Pennsylvania, I don't believe it matters what discipline PE exam you take (civil or electrical, for example) because you're granted the same PE license from the state regardless.
Yes, most States license this way.
Once licensed it's up the individual engineer to make determination if they have the relevant training or experience to ethically serve as the EoR for a given project in that jurisdiction. They do not have to take another exam.
That's not to say that they can make unethical decisions and catch hell for it later.
 

Kyle C

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Isn't this only possible in states that license by discipline? For example, here in Pennsylvania, I don't believe it matters what discipline PE exam you take (civil or electrical, for example) because you're granted the same PE license from the state regardless.

Now, there are ethical concerns with not practicing in an area you do not have expertise in, so that would be the biggest reason I see to take multiple PE exams.
Very true. I’m working in a engineering consulting company, and holding also international code council Master Code Professional Cert, the company is originally a geotechnical engineering consulting company and still doing it, I was helping with geotech before and then couple of years ago start performing code reviews peer review and code inspection. And recent years also helping MEP design team and working on new fab construction site. And I studied power and feels like it applies mostly for power plant and transmission section instead of control system, so I studied control system engineer PE and electronic control communication PE and feels them very related to this new site work. I simply just want to understand what I’m doing and try to do a better job. Every discipline is related if you dig into it. And knowing the principle of design and code would help you make better judgement.
 

structurenole15

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Very true. I’m working in a engineering consulting company, and holding also international code council Master Code Professional Cert, the company is originally a geotechnical engineering consulting company and still doing it, I was helping with geotech before and then couple of years ago start performing code reviews peer review and code inspection. And recent years also helping MEP design team and working on new fab construction site. And I studied power and feels like it applies mostly for power plant and transmission section instead of control system, so I studied control system engineer PE and electronic control communication PE and feels them very related to this new site work. I simply just want to understand what I’m doing and try to do a better job. Every discipline is related if you dig into it. And knowing the principle of design and code would help you make better judgement.
There is of course the ethical requirement that a licensed professional only practice within their area of competence. Thus, if you took the PE exam in control systems, you can't ethically perform geotechnical engineering services.

Legal, yes. Ethical, maybe.
 

jean15paul_PE

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There is of course the ethical requirement that a licensed professional only practice within their area of competence. Thus, if you took the PE exam in control systems, you can't ethically perform geotechnical engineering services.

Legal, yes. Ethical, maybe.
There are other ways you can prove your competence besides passing the PE exam in that disciple.

If you were questioned by your state board, and you could point to coursework, or training, or significant work experience in another field, I wouldn't expect that they would have a problem with it.
 

Joe2

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I’ve passed 3 tests (mech, elec, and civ-str). Most states see it as one license and you do whatever you “feel” competent in.. really it means if you screw up and didn’t pass the right test you can be found competent and negligent, if you pass that test, you can only be found negligent.

have 3 states that recognize me as competent in all 4, and 1 (think New Mexico) that only recognizes me for the one I have a degree in
 
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I do these in order to impress potential employer and potential clients and stamp if needed also it's fun to learn all disciplinary knowledges especially IC related part(that's why after preparing electrical power I chose to take ECC instead). I could learn to make your own circuit board and make toys for my son.

Now, this is just my opinion, so take it for what it's worth.

I am a structural engineer. If I were to interview a candidate that held PE licenses in multiple disciplines, the following thoughts cross my mind:

1. Which one, if any, are you actually good at?
2. How do I know you're going to stick with this job (which can be very difficult, with a decades-long learning curve)?

In other words--the last thing I am is impressed. I see a candidate who can't commit, and isn't particularly passionate about this field. The time for self-exploration is as an undergraduate, or in your free time, not on my dime. Now, if someone wants to switch careers to become a structural engineer, and commits to it, then I would do everything in my power to help that person along. But I have no interest in promoting professional exploration at the expense of the role for which I hired this person.

I've devoted my career--and much of my free time--to one specific field of engineering. I'd want to have candidates focused on excelling in that one discipline--or even a subset of that discipline--rather than dabbling in numerous disciplines in some misguided bid to impress me with things that are outside the scope of my professional interests.

Again, just one guy's opinion.
 
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Lariliss

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I would like to agree with @Reverse Polish.

For myself, it was hard to decide, being an engineer or psychologist, biologist and so forth.

1. Thinking of opportunities, inclinations (and having pressure of relatives :) ) I went to be a polytechnic engineer.
2. After 10 years of career, when I had enough of experience and more time for anything else I went to humanities.

Still long time ahead, the more knowledge you have, the better.
300 years ago it was clear what a farther should teach his son: carry out agriculture and ride a horse.

Today, who knows what will be in 20 years. The spur of the moment tells us that everybody should have environmental education, but engineering and IT are taking most part of the scope (out of scientific research).

But at the first thing, you should be able to commit after 5 years of education.
 

jean15paul_PE

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I disagree with @Lariliss and @Reverse Polish .

If your work history showed jumping between disciplines, that might show a lack of commitment. It would definitely need to be addressed in an interview.

But getting additional licenses and certifications, to me that shows a commitment to continuing education and self improvement.

Regarding the question, "how do I know that you're going to stick with this job?" It's the company's responsibility to create an environment where employees want to work. Yes, some people job hop excessively. But if this is something that keeps you up at night, then it's probably you, not me. 😉
 

Lariliss

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I disagree with @Lariliss and @Reverse Polish .

If your work history showed jumping between disciplines, that might show a lack of commitment. It would definitely need to be addressed in an interview.

But getting additional licenses and certifications, to me that shows a commitment to continuing education and self improvement.

Regarding the question, "how do I know that you're going to stick with this job?" It's the company's responsibility to create an environment where employees want to work. Yes, some people job hop excessively. But if this is something that keeps you up at night, then it's probably you, not me. 😉
Dear jean15paul,
Thank you for the good point.

For me, there was not any 'jumping' in my history.
It wasn't jumping, it was time to broaden the competence (staying on the path).
And it is not related to ability of commitment.
Company-employee relationship is not about making comfort and putting yourself to a box.
If I commit - I stay there with the hardships, which even big companies cannot avoid.
 

Joe2

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Feel we should do engineering differently, but don’t know how to fix it (disagree with the engineering stamps not being competency based).

Feel the tests were 25% applicable to my career. University was about 10% applicable. YouTubing engineering videos seem to better prepare me for the world.
 

Lariliss

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Feel we should do engineering differently, but don’t know how to fix it (disagree with the engineering stamps not being competency based).

Feel the tests were 25% applicable to my career. University was about 10% applicable. YouTubing engineering videos seem to better prepare me for the world.
Engineering is practice and experience.
The pie chart of knowledge gained may vary greatly.
 

structurenole15

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Feel we should do engineering differently, but don’t know how to fix it (disagree with the engineering stamps not being competency based).

Feel the tests were 25% applicable to my career. University was about 10% applicable. YouTubing engineering videos seem to better prepare me for the world.
Out of curiosity, what do you mean by the stamps not being competency based? It seems to me that to be licensed, the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam tests one's competency. PDH hours for license renewal test continued effort to remain competent.

The only thing I could see is something like retesting every 10 years or so, possibly with a shorter, online exam. Say, retest the depth portion of the PE exam every 10 years.
 
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I disagree with @Lariliss and @Reverse Polish .

If your work history showed jumping between disciplines, that might show a lack of commitment. It would definitely need to be addressed in an interview.

But getting additional licenses and certifications, to me that shows a commitment to continuing education and self improvement.

Regarding the question, "how do I know that you're going to stick with this job?" It's the company's responsibility to create an environment where employees want to work. Yes, some people job hop excessively. But if this is something that keeps you up at night, then it's probably you, not me. 😉

Perhaps its different in other fields of engineering, but I don't see how it is beneficial for a structural engineer to pass the electrical PE exam (as an example). There's enough to learn in our own field that diluting one's time to demonstrate minimum competency in another engineering discipline is of questionable value at best, and detrimental at worst. At the same time, licensure laws of most states only limit practice to the area of competency, which is left to the engineer. In such a case, there's no net benefit to obtaining a redundant license.

In our realm, it's far more beneficial for a licensed PE to pass the SE exam, or increase education and aptitude in other ways, than to spend time diverging from the area of practice.
 

jean15paul_PE

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Perhaps its different in other fields of engineering, but I don't see how it is beneficial for a structural engineer to pass the electrical PE exam (as an example). There's enough to learn in our own field that diluting one's time to demonstrate minimum competency in another engineering discipline is of questionable value at best, and detrimental at worst. At the same time, licensure laws of most states only limit practice to the area of competency, which is left to the engineer. In such a case, there's no net benefit to obtaining a redundant license.

In our realm, it's far more beneficial for a licensed PE to pass the SE exam, or increase education and aptitude in other ways, than to spend time diverging from the area of practice.
I've never worked in the construction industry, but in other industries, that I'm aware of (both where I've worked and where other engineers I know have worked) it really depends on the size of the company. The smaller a company is, the more valuable it is for each person to be able to where multiple hats. Small companies are very excited to find people who are competent in multiple disciplines. The bigger a company gets the more they want their employees to be specialized. In medium-sized companies you'll only work in one discipline. In really large companies, you'll probably be specialized to only work on a single type of problem within a single discipline.

Again, I don't intend to over generalize. I'm sure this isn't the case everywhere. But it seems to be a relatively common situation.
 

Joe2

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Agree with @jean15paul_PE.

Also everything starts blending together after a while (warning: oversimplication below).
Force/Area=Stress
Voltage/Current=Resistance
Flow/Velocity=Area
Mech lowers friction (make pipe bigger)
Elec lowers Voltage Drop (make wire bigger)
Struct lowers Stress (make material bigger)

We're all just searching for each of our own goldilocks zones to make sure it's safe without costing a fortune.

@Reverse Polish - Can't help myself :)
It's good to know what we can ground to and if we can trust the low impedance fault current paths the structural engineer gives the electrical engineer (via concrete encased rebar, building steel, etc.). Common miss is a fault path from a wood building to a metal building. Grasping at straws, but it's fun to argue with strangers :)
 
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