Degree Accreditation - ABET

Discussion in 'Education' started by CDBarry, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. CDBarry
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    CDBarry Senior Member

    For what it is worth, two and four year (and masters) degree granting programs in engineering are accredited by ABET in the U.S. and some other countries. You can also look up accredited programs on this site.

    http://www.abet.org/

    For those states which have a degree requirement for a P.E. license (not all do), it must either be accredited by ABET or be a (generally) an overseas program that is specially evaluated (like the IIT naval architecture program).

    Note also that some NAME programs are either options under mechanical or civil engineering (and thus are not listed as NAME) or are called ocean engineering instead.
     
  2. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    My understanding is the degree requirement for a PE license is generally a degree from an accredited engineering program but the degree does not have to be in a specific discipline.
     
  3. CDBarry
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    CDBarry Senior Member

    That would be my guess too, but the requirements vary from state to state.

    Note especially that only a few states register by discipline in the first place; in most states, the license is just "engineering", without a particular specific discipline, so it makes sense that any degree counts. I know that California, Oregon and Washington license by discipline, and I have heard that Rhode Island does too, but I'm not sure. As far as I know only Oregon and Washington have NAME as a specific discipline, and I don't recall that the degree had to be in NAME, but Washington doesn't require a degree anyway (I don't recall the specifics - it was a while ago).

    In the rest of the states, you have to have a license in engineering (non-specific) to practice or offer to practice engineering, whatever that means (again, it varies from state to state). In California, which doesn't have a discipline statute for NAME, you can practice NAME (whatever that is) as long as you don't use the "e-word".

    It's a bit complicated - make sure you check the regulations in the specific jurisdiction. I don't know how this works in Europe and Canada, but I would be interested in hearing.

    Also, if anyone knows of an qualification with an acronym of "IUN", let me know, because I occasionally have considered getting a license in BC, and I would love to put P.Eng. IUN on my business cards.
     
  4. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

  5. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    I have been licensed in Engineering in two states since 1986, California and Washington. California licenses by discipline based on your engineering degree. My degree was in mechanical engineering, I took the "engineer-in-training" (EIT, I think now called the "fundamentals in engineering"-same for all disciplines) in my collage senior year and passed first try. Than after 3 years of qualifying intern experience I took the PE exam in ME. Also passed the first try (not that common I am told). When I moved to Washington state I received my license by reciprocity, but in WA they do not not license by discipline, but the laws regulating practice specifically state you must stay within your "area of expertise" (this is similar to a license to practice law and medicine as well). since much of my experience was in structural design I have done that, but also developed expertise in geotechnical and civil engineering as well. Washington also requires 4 years internship rather than the 3 in Calif. Almost all states will license someone with eight years qualifying experience that can also pass the exams, though that is pretty rare.

    I have not bothered to keep my California license current because they kept raising the fees and I was limited in what I could do there anyway (no larger than 2 story buildings, no "essential facilities", and other restrictions), and I have not lived there since 1986 anyway. I looked into renewing my license in Calif recently and they no longer have any records of me having a license, and Calif. does not recognize reciprocity from any other state, I would have to take all 16 hours worth of exams over, travel to Calif to take them, and fill out the reams of forms, and pay all the fees over again. I choose to stay here, or only to move to states that would recognizes my WA license.

    I also know that Alaska will generally issue a license by reciprocity but require a special "low temperature engineering" supplemental test. However much of Alaska is within no jurisdiction and you do not even need a building permit to build a home, restaurant, retail store, etc. despite the severe weather and seismic conditions. I guess they figure if you are dumb enough to build a house for yourself that will collapse on you with the first heavy snow, that is your problem. Also in Washington, and many other states, there is an additional "structural" license (SE) that you can take after you have a regular PE license, and 4 more years experience. It is specific to the building code. This licence allows you to approve designs for hazardous materials handling facilities, essential facilities (fire, police and hospitals), and things like hydro-electric plants. Since most of my work is in structural design I considered taking the SE, but it occurred to me that those types of projects are 1) government funded (which ALWAYS delays and complicates getting paid), 2) designed by committee, with a bureaucracy looking over your shoulder (which means you do not have much control over the design or construction), 3) represent very high liability. IOW, all the hazards and very serious liabilities, and not much up side (since the contracts are "awarded" based on minimum bid). I hate those types of project anyway, and decided i was not missing anything without it, even if I can pass the SE exam easy enough.

    In most states a professional engineer is required to approve any design that involves public health and safety. That ranges from factory equipment and buildings of all types, to food handling, HVAC, sewage handling and electrical equipment. Even toys can be hazardous though I think there are government agencies that monitor and regulate toy safety. Generally today, there are few things you handle, use or come in contact with that some engineer was not part of the design, development, or manufacture of that item. And generally most do not realize it, but it is pretty rare that a person gets injured or killed by buildings or day to day usage of most equipment or systems because of these safety and design standards that are in place.

    There are many items that escape this regulatory oversight, usually in the form of home-built cars, aircraft, boats, home cooked meals, etc (though they usually still get an inspection, no special licenses are required to design them).

    navel or marine engineering are usually just special cases of mechanical, fluid mechanics, and structural engineering design anyway (with different rules that are easy enough to review). I have a number of textbooks that I have studies on NA and marine engineering, all familiar stuff. Though I have found it much easier to stay continuously self employed, always busy and make a decent income by staying with the construction trades, only taking on projects outside this area when it interest me.
     
  6. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    In the US buildings, bridges, other structures, regulated mechanical systems such as boilers, etc are the primary items which may require approval by licensed professional engineer (PE).

    Most manufactured items in the US do not require PE approval. Automobiles do not require any PE approval and I don't think aircraft do either. My experience in the US auto industry was there was almost no incentive to become a PE and the vast majority of engineers including chief engineers and other engineering executives were not PEs. On the other hand my understanding is that engineering opportunities are very limited for someone who is not a PE in the construction industry.

    As far as I'm aware there is no requirement by the US Coast Guard for a PE to approve the design or construction of any marine vessel.

    Some states do require anyone advertising themselves as an "engineer" to be a PE.
     
  7. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    For aircraft, the FAA has an equivalent authorization known as a "Designated Engineering Representative" (DER) that has approval authority even though the DER is usually an employee of the manufacturer or an independent consultant. And the design and alteration of any production or commercial aircraft requires FAA approval before it is built, let alone test flown and than sold. Having an aircraft "type certificate" is like having the patent on a product, only the holder of the type certificate can build them.

    Automobiles have a similar approval process to demonstrate compliance with DOT safety standards, and are no less rigorous.

    the only exemptions from this are homebuilt aircraft or "specialty cars", and you can not build them for "profit" but education or recreation only.

    Most manufactured good such as appliances usually carry an Underwriters Lab (UL) approval, which is an industry standard for safety. Most government agencies recognize the UL approval as the equivalent of meeting a recognized safety standard.

    I have worked in several industries at one time or another where one or more of these standards had to be complied with.
     
  8. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    There is no requirement that the DER be a state licensed PE. There is no mention of the PE license in the FAA DER handbook's list of evaluation information to be submitted when applying to be a DER. http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Order/FAA Order 8100.8D.pdf http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Form/FAA 8110-14.pdf

    Automobiles in the US are self-certified by the manufacturer as meeting all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. No involvement by a PE is required. No approval by DOT is needed or given before a vehicle is sold.

    Certification as meeting Federal emission regulations is more complicated. Manufactures submit data to the EPA which then reviews the data and issues a certification letter. Most of the test data originates with the manufacturer though the EPA does test some vehicles. Again, no involvement by a PE is required.
     
  9. CDBarry
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    CDBarry Senior Member

    In general, products are not required to be designed by a P.E. This is sometimes called an "industrial exemption" and there is a great deal of confusion about it, but one area where it applies most strongly is boats.

    The commerce clause of the Constitution reserves regulation of interstate commerce to the federal government, so engineering efforts to design a product that is in interstate commerce are not generally subject to state regulation. This generally means that an engineer working for a firm making boats or repairing boats is not required to be licensed. Some states have also held, under "de minimus non curate lex", that the specific details of the employment contract are not important either, so this exemption has been extended to contractors vice actual employees.

    The Coast Guard, under NVIC 10-92, extends a fast track review to P.E.s, but it doesn't require a P.E. for most plan reviews. There may also be special requirements relating to OPA 90 or when such an analysis would be required for ashore certifications, such as boilers under ASME B31.1. Of course, recreational boats aren't subject to plan reviews anyway.

    The states mainly are concerned with activities that are part of a state or local process such as building permits, and with people who offer "engineering services" (whatever that is) to the public directly.

    One other test is that if a law requires an engineering analysis to protect the public, providing it to the public might be considered practicing engineering. The only case of this that I can think of is preparing stability instructions for fishing vessels under 46 CFR 28.500, which explicitly requires a person qualified in naval architecture. Most recreational boat certifications are test or specification based criteria, not analysis. This may be an issue in the future relating to ISO 12217 or 12215, if a person in the public (not a builder) asks for a separate review, but this remains to be seen.

    Note also that the Supreme court has held that the federal government can't license engineers, under the separation of powers clause.

    Note also that I am not a member of the bar and this opinion has exactly the same standing (and level of expertise) as that of my dog (who says, "forget it, let's play ball", which is probably the best advice).
     

  10. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Thanks for the summary of P.E.s and boats.
     
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