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Practical Information -
What is a P.E. License?

Updated:  Friday, October 30, 2015 03:24 PM

What is a Consulting Engineer?  -- What is a P.E. License?  -- Correspondence to other Consultants     
So You Want to Be a Consultant    --    Consulting Methods & Practices   --     Dave's Business Journal

When an engineer receives a professional engineer's license (P.E. license) it is a stamp of approval of credentials by the state. In order to receive a P.E. license, an individual must first meet rigid requirements established by the state.
Each state has established its own legal qualifications for individuals desiring to practice engineering for the general public. When an engineer satisfies these qualifications, the state is then confident that the life, health, property and general public welfare will be protected by the P.E.

Picture Dave's PE LicenseRegistration as a professional engineer through a state board of registration is the only legal basis for public practice of engineering. The qualifications for the professional engineer's license in Colorado are typical of other states. The candidate must first submit detailed personal records to the state engineering registration board. These records include: verification of U.S. citizenship, college transcripts, five character references (three of whom must be P.E.'s) and detailed employment records demonstrating eight or more years of progressive engineering experience.

The state engineering board reviews the applicants' records and requests additional information from each of the applicants' character references to verify the sophistication and/or complexity of the work; the degree of individual judgment and initiative required; the amount of individual responsibility and authority required; and the level of supervisory authority exercised. In addition, the board verifies that the moral and ethical judgments of the applicant are of the highest order.
The first exam, Fundamentals of Engineering, covers mathematics, chemistry, physics, and engineering sciences. The second exam, Principles and Practice of Engineering, requires the applicant to solve engineering problems in his discipline plus problems in four other disciplines. The difficulty of these tests have been equated to passing ten final exams on the same day. The data covered on the tests requires the applicant to draw upon knowledge that has been accumulated over an entire college and professional career.
If the candidate passes both exams, he is then granted the P.E. license and a registration number. He may also obtain a seal with his name, number and the legend, "professional engineer, state of Colorado". A P.E. license gives the engineer the authority to provide consulting engineering services in the state of registration. He is obligated to perform such services under the provisions described in laws regulating the practice of professional engineering. A P.E. license also establishes his professional standing on the basis of legal requirements. In many cases all final plans, of which designs, drawings, specifications, and reports may be a part, are required to bear the seal and signature of the P.E. in responsible charge. In these incidences, the state holds the engineer professionally responsible for his work. This requirement, however. is more prevalent in the construction industry.
Receiving a P.E. license is a personal commitment on the part of the engineer to his profession and career. He is an individual who has put theory into practice. He is further committed to maintaining high ethical and work standards.
The P.E. license indicates that the engineer has had his qualifications and references thoroughly check by the state. He has a college education in an engineering science, has progressed logically through his career doing responsible engineering work, and he is knowledgeable in disciplines outside his own. A P.E. license is a mark of quality professional standards and workmanship.


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