When You Should Add PE After Your Name

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Nucflash
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At some point soon many of you will find out that you passed the PPE exam. Congratulations! Passing the PPE is a major accomplishment that takes 8+ years of work and sacrifice. I'm certain you'll be excited; you should celebrate!

But first I need to tell you:

[SIZE=14pt]DO NOT IMMEDIATELY ADD PE AFTER YOUR NAME![/SIZE]

Wait until you are actually licensed.

I am not trolling! I am not trying to take away your accomplishments! I am not trying to kill your buzz! I want to keep you out of trouble.

Just because you passed the PPE exam does not mean that you are a professional engineer*. Only someone with a current PE license is a professional engineer and can use the postnominal “PE”. **

Every jurisdiction has laws and/or regulations governing who may offer their engineering services to the public. To claim that you are a professional engineer, when you lack a license is false representation. There are civil penalties associated with claiming to be a PE without a license, and it may prevent you from getting licensed in the future! The rules and enforcement vary from state to state. But it’s better to just wait until you officially have a license.

So how long do you need to wait? It varies by state, and it can range from hours to months to officially get your license. It could be longer if you took the test before satisfying the experience requirement, but you probably knew that already.

When is it official? It varies from state to state. But the consensus is that you are official when you find yourself in the state engineer license lookup with a current license. You will certainly be listed there before they send you an email or mailed envelope.

Once it’s official, go ahead and add those letters after your name!

What do I tell my boss, clients, colleagues in a big meeting, proposal, C.V., etc? You have to be ethical about this. You still can’t claim to be a PE until you are licensed, and you can’t imply that you can stamp things right now either. The easy and safe thing is to say that you passed the PPE (or PE exam), but are awaiting license from the state. Other PE’s will know that the hardest part is over, you’re basically in the club, but it’s just a formality of getting through the bureaucracy. However the subtlety may be lost on others, like clients and non-engineer bosses, so don’t leave people with the impression that you can stamp something currently in that jurisdiction.

One other note about adding PE after your name. The physical address in your signature,  business cards, etc should match where you are licensed to practice. This goes back to falsely representing yourself. If your business card says, for example, DC, but you are licensed only in Virginia, then you are falsely representing yourself as a licensed engineer in DC.  If that same business card adds that you are only licensed in Virginia, then you are not falsely representing yourself. Of course if you have a license in both jurisdictions, then you are not falsely representing yourself. The same principle applies when trying to get business outside the state/jurisdiction of the license; you have to make it clear where you are actually licensed.Engineers get in trouble for this sort of thing all the time. So be careful. The NSPE website has dozens of ethics case studies on this sort of thing available for reading.

tl;dr wait until you actually have a PE license before adding PE after your name

@leggo PE could you please temporarily sticky this?

 
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CE_2_CE

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I got my license number 24 hours after my results came in. Im in Washington State.

Results came out Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 (around 9am). Roughly 24 hours later, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, I received my license number.

I went to the state board and sure enough I could print my license. It was legit. I even checked my state board license look-up. I was completely in shock. I asked a colleague who took Oct. 2019 what his number is. It was similar to mine.

 

dsp002

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Yes. Very important advice from RBHeadge PE!
Got my study guide and passed it. This is a long time in the making, and I am so happy I stuck to it through the highs and not so highs :)

The website has my 'Application in Process'...will patiently E.I. until I P.E.

 

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