NCEES approves expanding computer-based testing to PE, PS exams at 2012 annual meeting

The state licensing boards that compose NCEES, the organization that develops and administers the exams used for engineering and surveying licensure throughout the United States, have voted to begin converting the PE and PS exams to a computer-based format.

The unanimous decision was made during the 2012 NCEES annual meeting, held August 22–25 in St. Louis, Missouri. It follows a 2010 decision to convert the FE and FS exams to computer-based testing, a transition that will be completed in January 2014.

The PE exams will be converted to CBT in 2015 at the earliest, but as NCEES Executive Director Jerry Carter explained, the transition will be paced for each exam. “We offer 25 different PE exams in 17 different engineering disciplines, and NCEES will review each exam individually to determine what it needs to move to CBT,” he said. “The language approved by the Council is ‘at the earliest feasible date,’ and NCEES will move carefully and deliberately with each conversion to ensure that the exam continues to reliably measure professional competence.”

There is no set time for converting the PS exam to a computer-based administration, but Carter explained that NCEES wants to gain experience with computer-based testing for the FE and FS exams before it moves another exam to the new format.

While recognizing the effort involved in converting an exam to computer-based format, Carter also noted the advantages, including greater scheduling flexibility for candidates, more uniformity in testing conditions, and enhanced security for exam content.

The PE or PS exam is typically the last step in the engineering or surveying licensure process. Licensure candidates who pass the FE or FS exam and meet education and work experience requirements must pass the PE or PS exam to become eligible for licensure as a professional engineer or professional surveyor.

Over 25,000 candidates took the PE exam in the past year, which included October and April administrations. Over 1,200 examinees took the PS exam during the same period.

NCEES focuses on industrial exemptions

Among other actions taken at the annual meeting, NCEES member boards expressed their support for strengthening licensure’s protections by applying them toward engineered products and systems. They approved an amendment to the NCEES Model Law to require responsible charge of a licensed engineer over the engineering design of buildings, structures, products, machines, processes, and systems that can affect the public health, safety, and welfare.

The amendment is a response to provisions in many state laws, known as industrial exemptions, that exempt firms that manufacture products from requiring a P.E. to oversee their design.

“The newly added requirement is subject to implementation at the state level,” Carter said. “But adding it to the Model Law—which serves as a best-practice model for state laws—demonstrates the boards’ commitment to protecting the American public.”

Newly installed president Gene Dinkins, P.E., P.L.S., has appointed a task force for the coming year to study which U.S. jurisdictions have industrial exemptions and to develop discussion points that state licensing boards can use to begin talks with their legislators about eliminating these types of exemptions.

Full details on all motions considered during the annual meeting will be included in the official minutes, which will be published later this year.

Contact

For more information, contact NCEES Executive Director Jerry Carter at 864-654-6824.


Dinkins begins term as NCEES president

Gene Dinkins, P.E., P.L.S., began his term as 2012–13 NCEES president at the conclusion of the organization’s annual meeting, held August 22–25 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Dinkins has been a member of the South Carolina State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors since 2004. A resident of Columbia, South Carolina, Dinkins is president of Cox and Dinkins, Inc., a civil engineering and land surveying firm. He replaces outgoing president Dale Jans, P.E., of South Dakota, who will remain on the NCEES board of directors as immediate past president.

Also during the annual meeting, NCEES members elected Patty Mamola, P.E., of Nevada president-elect for the 2012-13 term. She is the first woman to hold this position since the organization was founded in 1920.

NCEES welcomed Michael Conzett, P.E., of Nebraska and Von Hill, P.S., of Utah to its board of directors as well. Conzett and Hill will serve two-year terms as vice presidents of the Central Zone and Western Zone, respectively.

Rounding out the board of directors are three members serving the second year of their two-year terms: David Widmer, P.L.S., of Pennsylvania continues as treasurer; Howard (Skip) Harclerode II, P.E., of Maryland returns as Northeast Zone vice president; and Theodore Sack, P.L.S., of Oklahoma returns as Southern Zone vice president.

Detailed information about NCEES governance can be found here.

PDF downloads:
Gene Dinkins, P.E., P.L.S.
Patty Mamola, P.E.
Michael Conzett, P.E.
Von Hill, P.S.


Licensure Exchange August 2012

Read the latest issue of Licensure Exchange, the NCEES publication dedicated to opinions and ideas regarding the licensure of engineers and surveyors.

Download the August 2012 issue (PDF)

  • Florida Atlantic University wins NCEES Engineering Award
  • From the President: Volunteers have different roads to advance licensure
  • Headquarters Update: International licensure applicants are changing the paradigm
  • President-elect nominee and incoming zone vice presidents discuss vision for NCEES
  • Licensing boards face increased interest from foreign applicants as barriers to U.S. licensure are overcome
  • American Association of Engineering Societies: the Strength of a Million Voices
  • Enforcement Beat: Discipline for one can become a lesson for many
  • Exam news: April 2012 pass rates
  • Member board news, upcoming events, and NCEES outreach
  • Future City needs volunteer mentors

Browse the Licensure Exchange archives.


NCEES announces changes to FS exam

The current specifications for the Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) exam will change in January 2014 in conjunction with the exam’s transition to computer-based testing (CBT). In 2010, NCEES announced a move toward CBT. The final pencil-and-paper exam will be offered in October 2013. All FS exams administered before CBT will use the exam specifications currently available on the Exams portion of the NCEES website.

This notice of new domains follows a previous call for volunteers to participate in a content review. The cross-section of participants included licensed professional surveyors, academics teaching surveying courses, and surveying interns. These individuals were surveyed about the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary for a surveying intern to work in a manner that protects the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

NCEES has posted the major domains for these exams online, and the complete specifications will be available in 2013. For a list of the new FS exam domains for the January 2014 administration, go to ncees.org/cbt.


All April 2012 exam results have been released

April 2012 exam results were released to NCEES member boards on the following dates.

  • SE exam: June 14
  • PE exam: May 29
  • FE exam: May 16
  • FS and PS exams: May 1

How and when examinees receive their results will vary by state. Some boards use NCEES Exam Administration Services to release the results directly to examinees; some release them through another testing service, such as PCS; and other boards release the results themselves. In addition, some state boards must validate the results at a board meeting before they can release them to examinees.

To find out how you will receive your results, go to the Exams page, select your state from the drop-down menu on the right, and look for the Results subhead.

Read more about the scoring process here.


PS to become closed-book exam

The NCEES Principles and Practice of Surveying (PS) will become a closed-book exam in April 2013. At this time, examinees will use NCEES-supplied references during the exam and will no longer be allowed to bring other reference material into the exam room.

This change is a result of a motion NCEES passed at its 2011 annual meeting. The motion was presented by the NCEES Committee on Examination Policy and Procedures, which is responsible for reviewing the effectiveness of NCEES exams.

“There were two reasons to go to a closed-book exam: to increase the security of the exam and to prepare for the possibility of the PS transitioning to a computer-based format,” explained NCEES Director of Exam Services Tim Miller, P.E. “A closed-book exam will prevent candidates from copying exam content into their references or bringing in prohibited items. It will also make for an easier transition if the PS exam moves to a computer-based format at computer testing centers, where space for references is limited.”

A new edition of the NCEES Principles and Practice of Surveying Sample Questions and Solutions will be available for sale in November 2012. It will reflect the new exam specifications and include the supplied references. The supplied references will also be available online for free download at ncees.org.


Jans named Distinguished Engineer by South Dakota State University

NCEES President Dale Jans, P.E., was named Distinguished Engineer at the 2012 South Dakota State University College of Engineering awards banquet. This annual award is presented to SDSU alumni with outstanding professional marks.

Jans graduated from SDSU in 1974. Less than eight years after graduating, Jans was operating his company, Jans Corporation. Today, Jans Corporation continues to be one of the larger commercial construction companies in the state of South Dakota. It was awarded a National Build America Award from the Associated General Contractors of America in 2004 and 2010.

“It is truly an honor to be presented with this award and to have my name among so many other standout individuals on the college’s Wall of Fame,” said Jans. “It was great to share in this moment with my entire family of SDSU graduates.”

The award was presented on May 1. Curtis Brudos and Beth Kaspar were also recognized as Distinguished Engineers at the ceremony.


NCEES announces changes to FE exam

The current specifications for the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam will change in January 2014 in conjunction with the exam’s transition to computer-based testing (CBT). At that time, the FE exam will be seven freestanding, discipline-specific exams: Chemical, Civil, Electrical and Computer, Environmental, Industrial, Mechanical, and Other Disciplines. NCEES has posted the major domains for these exams online, and the complete specifications will be available in 2013.

In 2010, NCEES announced a move toward CBT. The final pencil-and-paper exam will be offered in October 2013. All FE exams administered before CBT will use the exam specifications currently available on the Exams portion of the NCEES website.

This notice of new domains follows a previous call for volunteers to participate in a content review. The cross-section of participants included licensed professional engineers, academics teaching engineering courses, and engineer interns from all engineering disciplines. These individuals were surveyed about the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary for an engineer intern to work in a manner that protects the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

For a list of the new FE exam domains for the January 2014 administration, go to ncees.org/cbt.


Florida Atlantic University wins 2012 NCEES Engineering Award

NCEES is pleased to announce that the Florida Atlantic University Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geomatics Engineering is the grand prize winner of the 2012 NCEES Engineering Award for Connecting Professional Practice and Education. The award jury met May 31, 2012, in Clemson, S.C., to select the $25,000 grand prize winner.

The department received the prize for its submission, Dania Beach Nanofiltration Plant Expansion. For the project, civil engineering students collaborated with faculty, professional engineers, and city officials to find innovative and cost-effective solutions to designing a new water treatment facility for the city, resulting in the construction of the world’s first LEED Gold-certified water treatment plant.

The jury praised the project for incorporating many aspects of civil engineering and renewable energy, noting the student contributions from concept through construction and obtaining LEED Gold certification.

The jury selected five additional winners to receive awards of $7,500 each:

  • Oklahoma State University School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Roadway and Water Feature Design at the Botanic Garden
  • Seattle University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Design of an Orphanage, Learning and Community Center in Ethiopia
  • Seattle University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Historic Dam Guard Rail and Vehicle Barrier Retrofit for Public Safety
  • University of Texas at El Paso Department of Civil Engineering
    Multidisciplinary SMART Design of Fire Station 513
  • Valparaiso University College of Engineering
    Maji for Masaera: Rehabilitation of a Man-Made Irrigation Canal

The NCEES Engineering Award recognizes engineering programs that encourage collaboration between students and licensed professional engineers. EAC/ABET-accredited programs from all engineering disciplines were invited to submit projects that integrate professional practice and education.

The winners were selected by a jury of NCEES members and representatives from academic institutions and professional engineering organizations.

“We’re excited to see such innovative approaches to teaching students about professional practice,” said NCEES President Dale Jans, P.E. “Emphasizing the importance of technical competency and ethical practice is critical to educating the next generation of professional engineers; we hope this award will inspire other colleges to introduce similar collaborations.”

Read profiles of the winning projects.


Licensure Exchange June 2012

Read the latest issue of Licensure Exchange, the NCEES publication dedicated to opinions and ideas regarding the licensure of engineers and surveyors.

Download the June 2012 issue (PDF)

  • Assessing deficiencies in credentials evaluations is not black and white
  • Recent webinars put CBT in the spotlight
  • New developments in aftermath of Deepwater Horizon disaster emphasize role of licensure in ethical engineering practice
  • Enforcement Beat: Honesty is the essential element of public trust
  • Headquarters Update: New technology, communication outlets help NCEES advance licensure
  • NCEES introducing new PE exam in software engineering
  • NCEES moving administration date, updating specifications for PE Industrial exam
  • NCEES emeritus member voted 2012-13 ABET president-elect
  • Member board news, upcoming events, and NCEES outreach
  • Register for the NCEES annual meeting by July 13

Browse the Licensure Exchange archives.