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P.E. Stamps: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly plus other randomness

September 7, 2013

Here we go with a topic near and dear to my heart, P.E. Stamps.  It is not some prize that your gym teacher gave you because you ran the mile faster in May than you did in September. Did anyone else hate the day you had to run the mile at school?  Ugh. Torture. I remember in junior high, I was tied with another girl for the fastest 7th grade girl. My teacher wanted to get me out of one of my classes, so I could attend during THAT girl’s class and we could race.  Um…no. Wasn’t interested at all, but that girl & I became friends and when we started high school, she tried to convince me to join cross country.  My reaction was something like “Are you nuts?! They run like THREE MILES!”  It’s kind of ironic now, since I’ve completed 6 half marathons, a triathlon and a handful of other running events.

So. PE in this context stands for Professional Engineer. First, being a PE is really only a requirement for Civil Engineers. Something about wanting to make sure the freeways don’t fall down, buildings stay standing and other such nonsense.  However, it is very common to a have a fulfilling career in the other engineering disciplines without being licensed. The other disciplines can get licensed if they choose, it’s just not as necessary.  For Civils, it’s a requirement if you want to move up the food chain. The career ladder at most places I’ve worked or applied to looks something like this: Engineer I – New graduate; Engineer II – a couple years of experience, plus your degree; Engineer III – PE, plus a few years experience and your degree.

The requirements for becoming a Professional Engineer is fairly similar in most states, with just a few exceptions (like California). In most states, the road to registration starts with taking the FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) exam, which most people do during their final year of college. When you pass, you’re known as an E.I.T, which stands for Engineer In Training. Then you graduate and start working. You can even have Jen, E.I.T. on your email signature and/or business cards. When you’ve acquired the required years of experience (most states require 4, California requires 2), you can apply to sit for the P.E. exam which is also known as the Principles and Practice Exam. This is an 8 hr exam split into a morning and afternoon session, 40 questions in each session. The exam is the same nationwide but administered by each state. In most states, that’s where it ends. You go home, have a drink and wait for the results. In California, that’s just the first day. You come back the next day and take their special Seismic exam in the morning and the Surveying exam in the afternoon.  THEN you can leave, have a drink and wait for your results. Mine took 2.5 months. And I didn’t need to have a drink. I was so profoundly brain dead by the time I left, I got on the wrong freeway going home.  And for an added bonus, I took my PE exam at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. Not in the exhibition hall, but in the livestock buildings.  Two days of state testing IN A BARN. In California, the pass rate of just the 8hr exam is just under 50% and the pass rates for the Seismic and Surveying each are at about 30%. Passing the PE exam, is similar to what passing the Bar exam would be for a lawyer.  Thankfully, I passed all 3 tests on my first try because wow. I would NOT want to do that again. Brutal.  And the pre-test studying wasn’t fun either, not to mention the Seismic exam review course I took over 4 weekends that was 2.5 hrs from home. But, I was officially Jen, P.E.

That was all way back in Oct 2007.  Fast forward to now, I applied to become a Missouri PE based on my California PE. I had to fill out a bunch of forms and ask my colleagues to fill out forms. I did this before we left CA, knowing that these boards take a long time to process paperwork. Plus, it would have been much more difficult to get the paperwork I needed from my boss and co-workers if I was already in Missouri.  In mid-August,I got a big envelope from the Missouri Board with my certificate! I’m officially licensed in two states!

Now, being a PE, requires having a PE stamp.  Each state has their own requirements for PE stamps, so I have to buy a MO PE stamp, and need a new CA PE stamp since my old one has my old name. I was in the process of ordering my new stamps when I realized something:  Some states have really cool looking stamps! California is really boring.

Philo T. Farnsworth was an inventor. I think he invented the television.

Missouri is only slightly less boring.

Isn’t the decorative rope border a nice touch?

Here are others that caught my eye for one reason or another:

Rope border and a star?! Those Alaskans! Such a crazy bunch.

Georgia wants to make sure you can read it.

Maryland is a little cluttered for my taste.

I wouldn’t have guessed that any state could be more boring that CA, but New Mexico seems to have accomplished it!

This one looks a bit similar to Alaska, doesn’t it?

Washington has a picture of some old guy. Probably Thomas Jefferson.

I told Jake that if we ever move to a new state, I’m going to check out their PE Stamp before make a decision and if I don’t like it, it might be a deal breaker.

Okay, now for random pictures from the week!

The Landing in Branson.

Our car hit 5,000 miles!

And yes, it always tells me the distance to empty. I’ve been known to push it, which Jake doesn’t appreciate.  I was driving home from Vegas when he was still on the truck and was getting close to empty. I decided to keep going and ended up stopping for gas in a not-so-nice area of Fresno in the middle of the night. That meter had been on zero for at least 3-4 miles at that point. Jake wasn’t amused. He was probably in Texas or something.

I was inspecting a project near this sign early one morning. You don’t realize how big those signs are until you’re standing right next to it.

Isn’t the farm pretty?

This song came on the radio and Jake asked which Disney movie it was from. I said it was from the Little Mermaid and asked if he knew the story. In my mind, if you know the story, it’s obvious which movie it’s from. He said that he did. She wants feet and likes forks. Clearly, those were the key points of the movie.

There are lots of bugs here, way more than Central CA. I’ve never seen so many lady bugs or butterflies! We’ll ignore the less than desirable bugs. I brought this dead bug home to Jake. He once woke me up with a dead bug (cicada). My dead bug is so much better.


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