When? the answer is to Start Getting Ready For Your PE "As Soon As You Start Work"
Since I started my first internship I’ve gotten a lot of advice on how to get ready to apply for my Professional Engineer (PE) License. I’ve listed below a lot of the advice that I’ve gotten. It’s all from Engineers that are licensed in Texas, but will probably apply to most states.
Check Your State’s Professional Engineer Licensure Requirements
Find out the specific list of what is required. That way you know ahead of time what’s expected and you aren’t scrambling at the last minute. Your states board of professional engineers or other PE governing organization will have the list.
Create a Log
Log what you do each day or at least each week. Keep track of the projects that you worked on and what you were responsible for on that project. Most states will have you document the engineering work you’ve done since you graduated. That’s a lot easier to do if you have a log of all of your work.
Keep a Copy of Your Projects
You don’t have to keep every sheet. I was told to keep the following sheets from a plan set: project title sheet, quantity sheet, cost estimate.
In addition to those sheets, also keep a list of specific things you were responsible for on the project, the client name and contact info, design fee, dates you worked on the project and anything else that you think is important.
Go After Challenging Work
You generally will need to show an increase in responsibility and quality of your work between the time that you graduate and the time that you apply for your PE license. A great way to do that is to go after work that is increasingly more difficult. Don’t over extend yourself, but look for opportunities to learn more and take on more responsibility when you’re ready.
Try Out Several Fields Then Pick One
This is one I also hear contradicted sometimes. The afternoon PE exam is specific to one area of civil engineering. When you get your PE License you are probably working your way to becoming an expert in one of those fields. It’s good to specialize. The civil engineering industry is way too broad to become an expert in everything. However, when you become a project manager you will need to have at least a basic understanding of how the other fields of civil engineering work and interact.
This is some of the advice I’ve heard most often. Since I don’t have my PE yet I can’t add much of my own to the list. What sort of advice have you been given or what sort of advice to you have to offer?
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