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Why Do I Need a PE License?

  • 11 February, 2021

It is true that a primary role of a Professional Civil Engineer is to sign and seal construction documents. It is also true that many Civil Engineering jobs may never require you to stamp plans. If you are not going to be required to stamp documents, do not let that stop you from getting your PE license!

There is much more to a PE license than using your stamp. Many engineers in the public sector (working for cities, counties, states, or the federal government) will likely never be required to use their stamp. However, many of the engineering positions in these organizations require or highly encourage a PE license. If you are a project manager and work on projects with state or federal oversight, those organizations may require a project manager with a PE license to have direct charge over projects.

A PE license also gives you a certain amount of authority when discussing your profession and civil engineering topics. It is an indicator that you know your profession and can speak intelligently about civil engineering. It is also an indicator that you are held to high standards with regard to ethical conduct and keeping public safety as a fundamental priority. When speaking with members of the public, a PE license says quite a bit about your knowledge and qualifications.

Earning a Professional Engineer license will also open opportunities for you during your career. In many instances, it is expected that a civil engineer earns their PE license early in their career. If this does not happen, it may raise questions about why the engineer has not earned their license. Remember that it is never too late to earn your license. You may have been out of school for several years and are thinking that you have forgotten so much of the information necessary for the PE exam. Don't skip such an important career milestone if you have been out of school for a long time. There are many effective review courses you can take. With intentional preparation and planning ahead, you can confidently take the P.E. exam no matter what stage of your career you are in.

Why Do I Need a PE License?

Taking the Professional Engineer exam can be expensive. Reach out to your employer and see if they can pay for all or part of the costs associated with taking the exam. Many employers will pay for or reimburse associated costs such as review courses, reference material (if your office does not already have current editions), application fees, and registration fees. Remember, your employer probably wants you to take this step in your career as much or more than you do. It speaks very highly of organizations when their engineers have professional licenses.

There are many reasons to get a PE license. Being able to stamp documents is definitely an important one, but there are a lot of reasons to be licensed besides getting a stamp. Don't let the fact that you currently won't use a stamp stop you from getting your PE license!

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