Help for a Non-Traditional PE to Gain Licensure

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New member
Nov 14, 2023
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McKinney, TX
Good morning friends!

I've lurked the boards for many years but finally made an account in an attempt to help a co-worker. A brief summary -

I work with a designer/PM who specializes in heavy civil highways. He has an Associate's Degree from the now defunct ITT Tech and 16 years of experience working under direction of a PE. At his current stage of life and family/work commitments, the concept of going back full/part-time for a qualifying degree is daunting, especially given that none of the schools he's spoken to will accept any of the ITT credits.

My professional opinion is that he is more competant than most PE's I work with and I, along with plenty of others, would be willing to write him a recommendation or reference letter to any appropriate bodies.

I want to make something clear, we are in Texas and his experience is almost entirely in Texas. I have spoken with the TX board and there is no real path for him without going back and getting a BS. My goal here is to help him earn a PE, something that is a goal for him and would be a benefit to him, even if he couldn't stamp or sign as a TX PE. I am not looking to falsify anything or otherwise cross any ethical boundaries; I am trying to help a friend that is competant to be a PE, achieve his dream of seeing ,PE after his name, if at all possible.

So my questions are this:

  1. I found another thread that asked about states that do not have the degree requirement (or at least have a waiver process). Is there a list of these anywhere? I have been looking at CA, but would be interested in knowing what other ones exist.
  2. One thing I am not clear on; is the experience requirements (and this may vary by state) required to be in the state you're applying? So if he's spent 10+ years working in TX under a TX PE, is that experience useable in all 50 states, or only TX?
  3. I've tried to find someone - anyone - who may have taken a similar path before to assist him with a roadmap. He's willing to take the FE and/or PE, but obviously I'm trying to find him the most palatable path possible.
Thanks for any thoughts you all have on this. Trying to pay it forward and increase our great group by one.

If the concept of going back full/part-time for a qualifying degree is daunting, a PE license does not appear to be in the cards. One reason for PE licensing is to show employers the applicant actually attended a university, because many people lie about it on their resumé. I'm thankful there is no MS degree requirement. PE after the name isn't a huge deal- I've seen many doctors with MD on tombstones, but no engineers with PE.
What is your professional opinion based on; in other words, what makes you a professional? Not sure why you want someone else to be a PE so badly.
You can become a PE in AZ without having attending/ graduated an ABET-accredited program. I believe you need 20years experience. We have a gentleman here who recently passed his PE exam with no civil engr schooling.
From the Arizona statute:
32-122.01. Qualifications for professional registration
A. An applicant for professional registration as an architect, engineer, geologist or landscape architect shall:
1. Be actively engaged in education or experience, or both, in the profession for which registration is sought for at least eight years.
2. Unless exempt under section 32-126, pass the applicable in-training and professional examinations in the profession in which registration is sought.

You're asking for a friend, of course.
tl;dr The OP's friend is SOL in Texas

Most states have a provision to obtain a PE license without the requisite education. These tend to fall into two categories:

1) The first and most common are those who don't have an ABET accredited engineering degree. i.e. those with science degrees, foreign engineering degrees, engineering technology degree.

2) The second, is for the OP situation, where a tradesman or non-college-educated person is applying for license. I sometimes think that this provision is also a holdover from the 50s or earlier when there were a lot of engineers were trained OTJ and lacked formal education. And provisions like this were made to allow those who have been practicing for a while to gain license.

IIRC, all 55 jurisdictions have a provision for the first. I don't know about the second. Occasionally the practical experience under a PE requirement is lower for the former than the lower. The longest experience requirement I've seen was 16 years. So the OP should be okay. To note: I don't know the regs for all 55 jurisdictions. The State the experience was acquired is usually immaterial. It may only matter if the licensing State is insistent that the supervising PE is licensed by that same State.

Now, all these States still require taking and passing the FE and PE. Which is of course a challenge all by itself. On top of that, some States have additional requirements that must be met in a certain order.

I looked at the Texas requirements, and no, they don't have an experience only option. So even if the OP's friend got licensed in another State, they wouldn't be eligible for license by comity with Texas.

A little late to this party, but, could get the AZ PE and transfer to TX. I looked into that option and would need and additional math class.

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