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EIT/PE ten years out of school?
July 23, 2008 7:54 AM   Subscribe

How to pass a PE license exam after ten years?

I earned a BSME in 1998. Professional engineering licensure was mentioned in one class, as an afterthought - most of the graduates went on to be consultants, where a PE doesn't do you any good. I never took the EIT (engineer in training) test. I worked for a railcar company for 4+ years out of college, then did construction and teaching, when I couldn't find an engineering job, for another four years. I"m now at a company that strongly encourages me to get my PE license so the old PE can fully retire.

I've looked online, but I have no sense of how hard the EIT test is, firstly, and how likely the license board is to let me take the PE test without four years' time after the EIT test.

I'm not dumb, but looking at the reference materials, I barely remember any of this stuff. When I taught math, even high-level calculus and DiffEQ came back like it was yesterday, but I'm pretty sure I didn't learn a lot of the engineering stuff. My recollection of college, the engineering part, was that of a lot of professors' egos, criminal levels of apathy (one professor didn't let me turn in an assignment an hour late because I was at a classmate's funeral!), professors who didn't speak intelligibly, and ridiculous workloads on material that didn't actually teach us anything. Tests were either a joke (everyone had scores of 80% or better) or ridiculous (one person got a 90, the rest got under 40%). I don't seem to have learned a lot of the material. How hard are the tests?
posted by notsnot to Education (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
For what it's worth, the EIT is quite a joke. There is a reference guide. Every question (at least on the General portions of the test) relates directly to an equation in the reference guide.

Some details that might help other commenters: Your state, and your field of engineering work.
posted by muddgirl at 8:00 AM on July 23, 2008

My husband was in a similar situation and took a short-term refresher course for the PE. Is that an option for you? Maybe check with the licensing bureau of your state and see if they have any recommendations on something similar?
posted by SuperSquirrel at 8:07 AM on July 23, 2008

Depending on what state you're in, sometimes the FE can be waived in lieu of work experience. I can't remember if it's 10 or 15 years, but you might look into it.

Again, I guess it depends on the state, but you don't need 4 years after the FE. You just need 4 years of experience and the FE. You can even take both exams on the same weekend in Illinois.

A co-worker had to do both at the same time, and he had much more trouble with the FE than the PE. The material is much more broad in scope, and it's things that you briefly learn in school. I didn't think either of the exams were tough (I took PE Civil 2 years ago), but then again, I took the FE while I was still in school and the info was fresh.
posted by hwyengr at 8:08 AM on July 23, 2008

Ah, sorry...I'm in Missouri, and it's in Mechanical Engineering.
posted by notsnot at 8:09 AM on July 23, 2008

I found the EIT to be harder than the PE, mostly because the EIT includes a lot of stuff you don't do on a day to day basis. (For me, as a civil engineer, things like metallurgy, circuits, etc). The PE I found to be a lot easier because the problems were ones I worked regularly.

I recommend registering for an EIT review class and recommend against trying to knock out both tests in one weekend. Are you under any pressure to get both things quickly?
posted by electroboy at 8:10 AM on July 23, 2008

Oh, I wouldn't do them in one weekend - I wanted to know if it's ever ok to take the EIT, then the PE - say, in consecutive test periods - without the four years experience in between. (I guess I could call and ask the board, but I'm fearful of getting and "are you fucking kidding me?!?").

Also, how does one go about getting references? The guy I work for is an obvious one, and if the engineer I worked with at the railcar plant is still alive...but I don't know or work with any others. I only need this PE license to stamp plumbing drawings, which are plug-simple. I don't use any formula more complicated than A=LxW day-to-day.
posted by notsnot at 8:16 AM on July 23, 2008

Yeah, as mentioned before, it's 4 years of experience from the time you graduate, not in between the PE and EIT.

As for the references, that's a little trickier. Ask the guy you work for if he can put you in touch with some other PEs. The non-employer recommendations don't have to verify your experience.
posted by electroboy at 8:51 AM on July 23, 2008

Requirements vary by state, but before you go too far with in this process you first need to find out for sure if your state board will accept your work experience. In most states, in order to qualify, your work experience must take place under the "supervision" of a registered PE. Supervision can be range from direct reporting to just having one PE somewhere on staff in the company. At any rate you will need to have your work experience verified by the signature of the supervising PE from your work years ago. If you can't pass this hurdle, passing the FE and PE tests is moot. So I would recommend carefully checking out the requirements before putting too much time in this.
posted by JackFlash at 1:15 PM on July 23, 2008

Have you researched the PE anymore? Some states do allow work experience to substitute for FE/EIT. TX is 8 to 10 years. GA is 16, but only allows GA residents to take the test. Arkansas requires FE and if you try to reciprocate from another state, you must go back and take FE.

I am in a similar situation, but I am older. Graduated U of Arkansas BSME in 1982. Worked in industry 20 + years, mostly but not all in engineering. Never needed PE except short time at engineering firm in Georgia. Interestingly enough, half the staff did not have a Georgia PE, but were PEs in other populated, windy states instead (TX, NC, FL, SC, MS). (We did a lot of testing, evaluations against hurricane codes.) Just having one GA PE on staff always seemed enough.
What is my point?
1) PE test seems easier than FE if you have been out of school a while.
2) If your stamp work is PE in general (railroad or other national product) and not state specific, apply to take the test in a state that will accept your 10+ yrs experience. That will only work if the state allows you to sign up and take the test as a non-resident. Georgia won't work...I tried. Must be living in GA.
3) If you figure out a state, let me know. I would like to seek my PE directly in another state without FE, and then worry about taking the FE later if I actually needed a PE here in Arkansas.
posted by HOGENGR at 12:31 PM on October 13, 2008

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