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My master and ph.d degrees are in field of NVH, basically the solid mechanics or vibration.

I worked as senior CAE engineer for several years (vehicle NVH) and got my FE in mechanical engineer several years back.  

I plan to take PE exam in a year but I don't know which discipline should I choose.

For mechanical engineering I think I am totally unfamiliar with those PE exam topics : I am not a designer,  not good at thermal and fluid, not good at HVAC

I feel like I am more a structural engineering but I am only good at steel portion.  Here are 3 options seems good fit but I don't know which one I should choose.

1. Civil: structural

2. structural: vertical forces

3. Structural: lateral forces

 

Any suggestion?

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Perhaps this may simplify your answer but Options #2 and #3 are for the SE, not the PE. The SE is the "next" step above PE (PE is a pre-requisite), is very advanced (not a dig at anyone's intelligence, but the pass rates are VERY low), and is comprised of an 8-hour vertical forces exam and an 8-hour lateral forces exam.

Only Option #1 is for the PE. Structural probably makes sense. The other options for PE Civil are Transportation, Geotechnical, Construction, and Water Resources and Environmental. The 4-hour AM portion is the same for all 5 Civil types where the 4-hour PM exam portion is in the subject matter of the exam you choose.

I hope that helps.

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15 hours ago, eaglewu said:

My master and ph.d degrees are in field of NVH, basically the solid mechanics or vibration.

I worked as senior CAE engineer for several years (vehicle NVH) and got my FE in mechanical engineer several years back.  

I plan to take PE exam in a year but I don't know which discipline should I choose.

For mechanical engineering I think I am totally unfamiliar with those PE exam topics : I am not a designer,  not good at thermal and fluid, not good at HVAC

I feel like I am more a structural engineering but I am only good at steel portion.  Here are 3 options seems good fit but I don't know which one I should choose.

1. Civil: structural

2. structural: vertical forces

3. Structural: lateral forces

 

Any suggestion?

There are 3 different Mechanical Engineering PE exams. To me is sounds like you should take Mechanical: Machine Design and Materials. It sounds like your background is in mechanical, specifically vibrations. That's Mech:MDM all the way. Since they got rid of the breath+depth format, there is zero thermal or fluids on the exam. And Civil is going to involve a lot of building codes that you're probably unfamiliar with.

Here's the overview. https://ncees.org/wp-content/uploads/MDM_Apr-2020_CBT.pdf

Edit:
I'm a mechanical engineer that has specialized in stress analysis and FEA. In the mechanical field, people often refer to me as a structural analyst, but that has a VERY different meaning in the Civil field. I usually refer to myself as specializing in "mechanical structures" to distinguish from civil structures. I took the MDM exam and it was DEFINITELY the right choice for me.

Also, I'll plug Dr. Tom's MDM course. It definitely was integral in my passing the exam. I was good with all the statics and stress analysis. But I needed a lot of refresher (or first time) learning on the NVH and the machine design stuff. Good course.

Edited by jean15paul_PE
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The only caveat that I would add to @jean15paul_PE's commentary is that last Friday's (10/25) PE Exam administration was the last open book, pencil and paper exam for each of the mechanical disciplines. They're transitioning to CBT early next year.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, but if you really want to take the pencil and paper exam, you might consider civil-structural. The prep material (like Dr. Tom's) will also be a lot more settled for any civil exam, because the format is well established and won't be switching to CBT until 2023.

That being said, I think @jean15paul_PE has it right. I took the geotechnical depth, but if I remember right the structural depth exam has a whopping 13 design codes to pull from (one of which is literally like 18" thick) and is notoriously hard and unpredictable, even for those who practice (civil) structural engineering. The mechanical-mdm exam sounds like it's much more up your alley.

Edited by Will.I.Am
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4 hours ago, Will.I.Am said:

The only caveat that I would add to @jean15paul_PE's commentary is that last Friday's (10/25) PE Exam administration was the last open book, pencil and paper exam for each of the mechanical disciplines. They're transitioning to CBT early next year.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, but if you really want to take the pencil and paper exam, you might consider civil-structural. The prep material (like Dr. Tom's) will also be a lot more settled for any civil exam, because the format is well established and won't be switching to CBT until 2023.

That being said, I think @jean15paul_PE has it right. I took the geotechnical depth, but if I remember right the structural depth exam has a whopping 13 design codes to pull from (one of which is literally like 18" think) and is notoriously hard and unpredictable, even for those who practice (civil) structural engineering. The mechanical-mdm exam sounds like it's much more up your alley.

Good point about the transition from pencil-and-paper format to CBT. A lot of people are freaking out about it. My opinion, it will be fine in the long run, but I'd prefer not to be an early taker. I think it will take a year or two for the prep materials and courses to catch up. That being said as a Mechanical Engineer-Stress Analyst, I'd be a CBT PE guinea pig any day before I try to learn all of civil engineering. :)

Edited by jean15paul_PE
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4 minutes ago, jean15paul_PE said:

I'd be a ME PE guinea pig any day before I try to learn all of civil engineering. :)

Honestly, if I had to choose between them, I might take the Mechanical-MDM exam over the structural depth... I guess I'm just glad I don't have to. 😁

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6 hours ago, jean15paul_PE said:

There are 3 different Mechanical Engineering PE exams. To me is sounds like you should take Mechanical: Machine Design and Materials. It sounds like your background is in mechanical, specifically vibrations. That's Mech:MDM all the way. Since they got rid of the breath+depth format, there is zero thermal or fluids on the exam. And Civil is going to involve a lot of building codes that you're probably unfamiliar with.

Here's the overview. https://ncees.org/wp-content/uploads/MDM_Apr-2020_CBT.pdf

Edit:
I'm a mechanical engineer that has specialized in stress analysis and FEA. In the mechanical field, people often refer to me as a structural analyst, but that has a VERY different meaning in the Civil field. I usually refer to myself as specializing in "mechanical structures" to distinguish from civil structures. I took the MDM exam and it was DEFINITELY the right choice for me.

Also, I'll plug Dr. Tom's MDM course. It definitely was integral in my passing the exam. I was good with all the statics and stress analysis. But I needed a lot of refresher (or first time) learning on the NVH and the machine design stuff. Good course.

Thank you very much for the clarification. Maybe I should take MDM.

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