I knew I would have to face it someday, but I still can’t believe it’s actually here. This week I’ve just started to wrap my mind around the fact that I’ll be taking the PE exam this upcoming April. For those who may not know, the PE exam is a huge deal. You have to pass this exam in order to become a licensed Professional Engineer. For civil engineering, only a licensed Professional Engineer has the ability to design structures for public use.
Once upon a time, there weren’t really any qualifications necessary to design buildings. As long as it had four walls and a roof, people figured everything was ok. But after a few disasters, things obviously had to change. Now there is a very rigorous process to become licensed. First, you have to get a Bachelor’s degree in engineering. Then you have to pass the FE exam. It’s an 8-hour long exam designed to test you on everything you learned in college. Then you have to get a job and actually start doing some engineering work. But since you aren’t a licensed PE yet, you have to have someone who is licensed review everything you do for the next 4 years. After you get 4 years of legitimate engineering experience under the supervision of a licensed PE, you can apply to take the PE exam. The PE exam is another 8-hour long exam. If you pass the PE, then you are considered a licensed Professional Engineer, and considered qualified to design buildings, roads, bridges, and whatnot. If you fail it, then you apparently suck at being an engineer and have to either try again or give up all hope of ever doing your own designs.
I recently ordered a review book to help me prepare for the PE exam. The book is 1,456 pages long and weighs over 6 pounds! The author recommends that you spend at least 300 hours studying for the exam. April 8, 2011 is just 195 days away, so I should try to average at least 90 minutes of studying every single day for the next six months. I guess I’d better get cracking!