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|July 20, 2005 - Volume VI, Issue 29|
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In this Issue
From One Techie to Another:
More information on NIWeek 2005
The results of our Professional Engineers License Survey are in...and I also received a lot of great feedback regarding the P.E. License issue (some of which is posted below). Be sure to check out the comments below, along with my summary, because they may help to shed some light on the survey results. 177 people responded to the survey. Here's the breakdown:
Question 1. Do you currently have a P.E. - Professional Engineers License in one or more states?
Question 2. Are companies requiring a P.E. License for control system design?
Here are some other results of the survey that may interest you. Of the 95 people who responded "No, and I'm not planning on getting it", only 5 indicated that companies are requiring the license for control systems design. Of the 36 who responded "No, but I'm working towards getting it", almost half (17) indicated that companies are requiring the license. Of the 46 who have a P.E. License in at least one state, only 9 responded that companies are requiring the license.
Here is what some engineers have said regarding the P.E. License:
"Control system design is a big category. PE requirements are common for process automation applications, especially those that deal with hazardous materials, e.g. HF, IPA, Ultra-pure water where used in semi-conductor fab world. In OEM/machine building, it [PE License] is not [required]." Martin Jay Hansen - Design and Assembly Concepts, Inc.
"When I designed panels for hazardous areas (explosive gases, Class I, Div 1&2, Group ABCD) a few years back, the NEC code was starting to change to include the requirement that control systems had to be designed under the supervision of a PE. Our group was always troubled by that requirement because our panels where shipped all over the world - where should the PE be licensed? Does the PE even have any experience in designing electrical control systems for hazardous areas. "Qualified PE" was not a requirement. Does the customers project PE meet this requirement for supervision?
As far as I know the PE exam doesn't cover hazardous areas at all (Its been a while since I've seen a practice test). Some states require specific knowledge for each type of PE (an electrical PE can't stamp structural drawings...) some don't. P.S. I got my EIT after college but never took the PE test." Name Withheld
"PE licensing requirements fall under State regulatory boards and standardized laws governing PE's in 'most' states. Most of the western states conform to Uniform Commercial Code for licensing Engineers and Land Surveyors. What I have found is only companies that perform work for public projects, government projects and municipalities will require a PE if the work will directly affect the public at large, and then only the engineer who has the full 'responsible charge' for the project. Specifically, Civil projects, buildings, dams, streets, bridges, roads, power plants, etc. It can and has been argued of course that 'all' engineering affects the public so 'all' engineering and each engineer should be licensed. Generally as the law is written, if you use the term 'engineer' anywhere on your professional documents, cards, etc., one must hold a PE License to say you are an 'engineer'. I know this from personal experience.
'Control System Engineer' has just recently been added in the State of Colorado as a specific regulatory license and has its own Licensing test. These requirements to license engineers exclude certain areas such as but not limited to: 1. where a company is performing engineering for themselves; 2. where an engineer is working under the direction of another PE.
Generally if you perform any type of engineering for or available to or affecting the General Public; hold yourself out to the General Public as an 'engineer' (that is, hang out a shingle - sign - advertising etc.); or perform engineering as the sole responsible person in charge then you must be licensed by law." Glenn Merrell - Freelance Consulting
"Thank you for running the P.E. license survey. I will be quite interested in the results due to recent developments in the controls field. I am referring to ISA's push to get Control Systems Engineering (CSE) added as a licensable engineering discipline. I was against that move from the beginning, feeling that they should have inaugurated a certification program instead as other Professional Societies have done for their area of interest. Now they have done that with a Certified Automation Professional (CAP) program. I wonder about their thinking in doing this. Was the CSE program unsuccessful? Being already licensed as a PE, it would have been no help to me to go for the CSE except to show competence in my current field. I do, however, plan on taking the exam for their CAP. I have had dialog with several Controls Engineers about this issue. It seems to me that the only CS Engineers who needed the ISA CSE program were from states like California which issue licenses based on a specific engineering specialty (a sad state of affairs and not in line with other licensed professions)." John Schott, P. E. - Timeshare Technical Services
I am a UK based Chartered Engineer (MIEE) and am chairman of the professional network within the IEE. For 30 years I was a technical manager in one of the biggest water companies which now owns American Water. I was responsible for the automation systems integration services contract. It was tough to select companies because there was no means of measuring personal competency of the staff working for the SI. We had to take it very much on trust as to what the management told us. I now work as an independent consultant and am considering developing a competency standard for control systems engineers. I have done some work in this field already and have been looking around at what standards already are in place. Laurie Reynolds - Laurie Reynolds Associates (UK) Ltd.
In summary, 46% of respondents either have the P.E. license in at least one state or they are working towards it...that's a higher number than I expected. Only 18% of companies are requiring a P.E. License for control systems design. But, from what I understand, in order for anyone to put the word "engineer" on their business card or in print, they must have a P.E. License to back it up.
After a little more poking around, I found some more information on the CSE. According to the ISA, the CSE (Control Systems Engineer) exam is now offered by 44 U.S. states as one of the P.E. licensing exams. For those of you who already have a P.E. license, I'm not sure it makes sense to also take the CSE exam...your hands-on experience probably speaks for itself. Maybe the ISA CAP (Certified Automation Professional) is the way to go?
Judging from all the great feedback, this appears to be a hot topic. So, I've set up separate discussion forums on the PE/CSE License and the ISA CAP Program. If you have any more feedback you'd like to share with the Automation.com audience, please feel free to post your comments online. You can get to our discussion forum from the Resources & Tools navigation button on the site.
I'd like to thank everyone who completed the survey and especially those who took the time to send me some direct feedback on the P.E. license.
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