NCEES revising structural engineering exam

NCEES will introduce a new 16-hour Structural Engineering exam in April 2011. The exam will replace the current Structural I and Structural II exams, which will be administered for the last time in October 2010.

NCEES Director of Exam Services Tim Miller, P.E., explained the need for the revision: “NCEES currently offers two 8-hour structural exams, and some licensing boards also use state-specific exams. NCEES wanted to provide one exam that could be used by any state requiring specialized structural licensure, even a state with high-seismic activity.”

To develop the new exam, NCEES surveyed licensed structural engineers from across the United States to find out what knowledge areas are most relevant to current professional practice. NCEES brought together representatives from state licensing boards and national structural engineering organizations to analyze the survey results and set the specifications, or content areas, for the new exam.

Miller is confident that the exam will be an effective measure of minimal competence for any state. “We’ve gone through a deliberate and rigorous process to develop the specifications, and the state boards that currently license structural engineers have been included in this process,” he said.

The new 16-hour Structural Engineering exam is divided into two 8-hour components, which will be offered on successive days. The Vertical Forces component focuses on gravity loads and incidental lateral loads. The Lateral Forces component focuses on wind and earthquake loads.

Each component of the exam has a breadth module that contains questions covering a comprehensive range of structural engineering topics. Each component also has a depth module that focuses more closely on a single area of practice. Examinees will choose whether they want to concentrate on buildings or bridges for this module.

To pass the exam, examinees must receive acceptable results on both the Vertical Forces and Lateral Forces components, but these components may be taken during different exam administrations.

The specifications for the new exam are posted on the NCEES Web site. NCEES will also publish a book of sample questions and solutions in 2010 to familiarize examinees with the new exam’s format and content areas.

“The changeover is still two years away, but it’s an important transition,” Miller said. “We want to give people as much advance notice as possible.”

Contact: Bruce Martin, P.E., Exam Development Engineer

Revised February 15, 2010


Executive director’s update on additional education requirement for engineering licensure

The issue of higher education requirements for engineering licensure candidates continues to be the focus of the Council’s deliberations as we move toward this spring’s zone meetings. The Engineering Education Task Force has completed an analysis of the impacts of the master’s or equivalent requirement and will be distributing this document to attendees of the zone meetings.

This document is a response to the resolution passed by the Council at last year’s Annual Meeting which asks the task force to analyze the professional, economic, educational, and regulatory impacts of the master’s or equivalent requirement set to go into effect in 2020. It also provides a list of several alternatives to the requirement that do not involve raising the minimum level of academic coursework.

The Council’s decision to introduce stricter education requirements has a long history of deliberation. Various committees and task forces have been involved in the consideration of the education requirements for licensure going back to 2001. In 2006, NCEES delegates passed a motion to draft Model Law language requiring candidates to complete 30 academic credits beyond an accredited bachelor’s degree (or earn a master’s degree) as a prerequisite for engineering licensure. Since then, members of the Council have wrestled with the specifics involved in implementing this requirement at the state level; they concluded that a stronger emphasis on requiring a master’s degree or its equivalent would be more practical for licensure candidates and the licensing boards.

While the Council is nearly unanimous in its desire to strengthen the education requirements for engineering licensure, many within the organization and throughout the engineering profession have expressed concern with the specifics of the master’s or equivalent requirement. The Engineering Education Task Force exists to address these concerns through consensus-building and consideration of many opinions from across the engineering community. I encourage everyone with a stake in these decisions to remain aware of the ongoing developments regarding this requirement.

Jerry T. Carter
NCEES Executive Director


FAMU-FSU wins 2009 NCEES Engineering Award

NCEES is pleased to announce that the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of Florida A&M University–Florida State University is the grand prize winner of the 2009 NCEES Engineering Award for Connecting Professional Practice and Education. The award jury met March 12, 2009, in Clemson, S.C., to select the $25,000 grand prize winner.

The department received the prize for its submission, Senior Design Capstone Course: Collection of Projects with Featured Everglades Restoration Project. Through its capstone course, students learn about nontechnical professional issues, such as ethics, teamwork, and communication skills, and complete a design of a civil or environmental engineering project. Professional practitioners participate by giving classroom lectures, providing real-world design projects, mentoring students, and evaluating students’ results. The featured senior design project included student teams working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on two restoration projects in the Florida Everglades.

The jury praised the project for demonstrating “strong interactions of practitioners with the engineering faculty and students.”

The jury selected five additional prize winners, who will each receive an award of $7,500.

  • University of Arizona 
Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics 
Submission: Practitioner-Led Engineering Experiences
  • University of Missouri–Kansas City 
Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering 
Submission: Redcone Civil Design Group: A Practitioner-Centric Capstone Experience
  • Seattle University 
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering 
Submission: Structural Design Package for the Replacement of a County Bridge
  • University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 
Department of Civil Engineering 
Submission: Intermodal Transit Center
  • Virginia Tech 
Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering 
Submission: Land Development Design Initiative
  • The University of Iowa’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering received an honorable mention for its submission, Pilot Program for Expanding Connections between Professional Practice and Education.

The NCEES Engineering Award recognizes engineering programs that demonstrate meaningful partnerships between professional engineers and students. All EAC/ABET-accredited engineering programs were invited to enter projects that demonstrated such a partnership.

The 28 submissions were judged by NCEES members and representatives from academic institutions and professional engineering organizations.

“This is the first year we’ve offered the award,” said NCEES Executive Director Jerry Carter. “We’re very pleased with the interest we’ve had so far, and we look forward to building on these efforts to bring professional engineers and students together.”

Read profiles of the winning projects.


Licensure Exchange February 2009

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

Licensure Exchange February 2009 (PDF)

  • Records growth persists during economic downturn
  • The President’s Message: Improving licensure requires dialogue, cooperation
  • Headquarters Update: Council prepares for future needs of licensure
  • 2009 Board Presidents’ Assembly
  • Exam reminders for 2009
  • October 2008 pass rates
  • NCEES seeks volunteers for chemical PAKS
  • Chinese delegation visits NCEES headquarters
  • Engineers encouraged to attend college fairs

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Licensure Exchange December 2008

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

Licensure Exchange December 2008 (PDF)

  • Licensure of engineering faculty—a difficult proposition?
  • Committee Update
  • The President’s Message: NCEES looks to expand role in promoting mobility for licensees
  • CBT Task Force already deep into information-gathering phase
  • Advisory council brings experience, expertise to Center operations
  • Headquarters Update: Meeting brings together MBAs and NCEES staff
  • NCEES proactive in defending assets during financial turmoil
  • National EWeek launches Million Hours Campaign

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Council Votes to Increase Amount of Education Required for Engineering Licensure

At the 2006 Annual Business Meeting of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), delegates voted to modify the NCEES Model Law requirements for licensure to require additional education for engineering licensure.

The approved language states that an engineer intern with a bachelor’s degree must have an additional 30 credits of acceptable upper-level undergraduate or graduate-level coursework from approved providers in order to be admitted to the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) examination.

NCEES committees have been studying this issue for more than five years, first through the Engineering Licensure Qualifications Task Force (ELQTF) and then through the Licensure Qualifications Oversight Group (LQOG). ELQTF, which was made up of representatives from NCEES, engineering professional societies, government, industry, and education, was established in 2001 to evaluate the U.S. licensure system. The task force concluded in 2003 that additional education would be necessary in the future to prepare students for engineering practice at the professional level.

LQOG, which was made up of NCEES members only, was formed the next year to study the ELQTF report, assess the recommendations from NCEES and Member Board perspectives, and prepare recommendations for Council action. LQOG supported the ELQTF conclusion that additional engineering education was needed. Both groups cited the decrease in the number of credits required to earn an undergraduate degree—from 150 a few decades ago to an average of 128—as one of the reasons for supporting this change to the Model Law.

The Council approved the concept during the 2005 Annual Meeting when it voted to charge the Committee on Uniform Procedures and Legislative Guidelines (UPLG) with incorporating language requiring additional education into the Model Law. At this year’s meeting, UPLG recommended specific language to be added to the Model Law for this requirement (see below). The effective date of this provision is January 1, 2015.

The Council also passed a UPLG motion adding language to the Model Rules stating that, effective January 1, 2015, a graduate with a bachelor of science degree in engineering requiring more than 120 credits may request that credits earned in excess of 120 credits be applied to satisfy the requirement.

Now that the Council has approved the concept and approved incorporating it into the Model Law, NCEES will define what the additional education should be. This coming year’s UPLG Committee has been charged with defining some of the terms and considering issues related to implementation.

New Model Law language

The following language was added to the NCEES Model Law definition of what will be considered minimum evidence satisfactory to the board that an applicant is qualified for licensure as a professional engineer.

Licensure by Examination (Effective January 1, 2015) The following individuals shall be admitted to an 8-hour written examination in the principles and practice of engineering:

  1. An engineer intern with a bachelor’s degree, with an additional 30 credits of acceptable upper-level undergraduate or graduate-level coursework from approved course providers, and with a specific record of an additional 4 years or more of progressive experience on engineering projects of a grade and a character which indicate to the board that the applicant may be competent to practice engineering.
  2. An engineer intern with a master’s degree in engineering from an institution that offers EAC/ABET-accredited programs, or the equivalent, and with a specific record of an additional 3 years or more of progressive experience on engineering projects of a grade and a character which indicate to the board that the applicant may be competent to practice engineering.
  3. An engineer intern with a doctorate in engineering acceptable to the board and with a specific record of an additional 2 years or more of progressive experience on engineering projects of a grade and a character which indicate to the board that the applicant may be competent to practice engineering.
  4. An individual with a doctorate in engineering acceptable to the board and with a specific record of an additional 4 years or more of progressive experience on engineering projects of a grade and a character which indicate to the board that the applicant may be competent to practice engineering.

The NCEES Annual Meeting was held September 13–16 in Anchorage, Alaska.


Licensure Exchange October 2008

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

Licensure Exchange October 2008 (PDF)

  • Communication and public protection are focus for 2008–09
  • MBA meeting to bring together administrators and NCEES staff
  • Annual Meeting highlights
  • Board approves exam item costs
  • NCEES seeks volunteers for Structural PE exam PAKS
  • Annual Meeting debate adds insight to higher education issue
  • Introducing the 2008–09 NCEES Board of Directors

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Message from the Executive Director regarding the education requirements for engineering licensure

Last week at the 2008 NCEES Annual Meeting, Council delegates and representatives of many engineering organizations gathered in Minneapolis to help shape the future direction of engineering licensure. One of the major items of discussion was the ongoing initiative to strengthen the education requirements for licensure.

In 2006, NCEES delegates passed a motion to draft Model Law language requiring candidates to complete 30 academic credits beyond an accredited bachelor’s degree (or earn a master’s degree) as a prerequisite for engineering licensure. Since then, members of the Council have wrestled with the specifics involved in implementing this requirement at the state level. This requirement has gone by several names, most commonly the “bachelor’s plus 30.” NCEES will now begin referring to this requirement more simply as the master’s or equivalent. To promote consistency and simplicity, I encourage all of you to do the same.

While the Council is nearly unanimous in its desire to strengthen the education requirements for engineering licensure, many within the organization and throughout the engineering profession have expressed concern with the specifics of the master’s or equivalent requirement. This prompted a close examination of the work done by the 2007–08 Bachelor’s Plus 30 Task Force, which was charged with investigating potential obstacles to implementing the new requirement. Among the task force motions that passed was a motion to change the date of the requirement’s implementation to 2020.

During this year’s meeting, people on all sides of this debate were able to take a closer look at the higher education issue during various forums and workshops that took place prior to the business sessions. It was an excellent example of engineers working together to solve complex challenges, and it resulted in a decision by the Council to pass a resolution that calls for NCEES leadership to assign a task force to provide the Council with a written analysis of

  1. The potential educational, professional, regulatory, and economic impact of the master’s or equivalent; and
  2. Any alternative solutions besides the master’s or equivalent that could potentially address the challenge of better preparing engineering licensure candidates to enter the profession.

As we are still in the beginning stages of responding to this resolution, you can expect more information to come in the future about the specific charges that President Henn Rebane, P.E., will assign to the 2008–09 Engineering Education Task Force. On behalf of the entire Council, I applaud your ability to address a potentially delicate issue in such a decisive and efficient manner and look forward to your continued and active involvement.

Jerry T. Carter
NCEES Executive Director


Licensure Exchange August 2008

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

Licensure Exchange August 2008 (PDF)

  • From the President: Council must continue raising the bar for licensure
  • Headquarters Update: Annual Meeting workshop brings international focus
  • April 2008 exam pass rates
  • 2008 Annual Meeting motions
  • Q&A: Whitman, Jans share vision for future of NCEES
  • Document verification the key to academic fraud prevention
  • Civil PE candidate pleads guilty in exam theft case
  • Committee Update: Adopting the new NCEES Bylaws
  • NCEES completes ANSI standard for Model Law Engineer
  • Member board updates
  • Parliamentary procedure guides for Annual Meeting business sessions

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Licensure Exchange June 2008

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

Licensure Exchange June 2008 (PDF)

  • CBT Task Force considers shifting NCEES exams to computer format
  • The President’s Message: Council to vote on new governing document at Annual Meeting
  • Headquarters Update: Preparations for Annual Meeting underway
  • NCEES to launch branding campaign
  • Bachelor’s plus 30 timeline
  • EPE, EPS, EPP committees work to ensure fairness, continuity in exams
  • Scheduled workshops: 87th NCEES Annual Meeting
  • NCEES announces changes to Electrical and Computer PE exam

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