Is a Professional Engineering License really worth it? Do you actually need it if your employer does not require it? Are the “PE” initials after your name worth the time and effort?
I am here to tell you yes, yes, and yes. You absolutely need a P.E.! Here are my five reasons why:
Your employer will treat engineers who have their PE license differently. It shows your commitment to your career and demonstrates your abilities as an engineer. Many engineering firms only have licensed engineers as engineering managers. The PE is also proof of your ability to provide services directly to the public. The PE letters after your name is a career advantage that will last the rest of your life. What do you see in your career path? A PE should be at the top of the list!
A PE will set you apart from a crowd. Out of 100 job applicants, if ten are PE’s, which applicants think will get interviews? I am guessing five or six of the PE’s. During the hiring process, a PE shows that the engineer has met the national standards and this sets him or her apart from others. The more the engineering field grows the more valuable you will be. If you have a PE, think of all the opportunities you could find throughout your 40-year career. A license opens up career opportunities for growth and leadership.
PE’s are respected in their field just like other licensed professionals. It is like being part of an elite group. Your peers, community, managers, even customers will hold you in higher esteem. A license is an important distinction that can enhance your career. When I received my PE, I posted those two letters on everything; email signatures, business cards, LinkedIn, even Facebook. I wanted the world to know what I had completed.
“Basically being a PE means that you are at the top of your game, top of your profession. They don’t just hand that out to anybody.” — Randal E. Riebel, P.E.
Only PE’s can stamp engineering drawings. For consultants, structural engineers, and private practice, many government agencies requiring licensure for their engineers. It is a legal requirement for those who are designing to be responsible for their work. If you want to start your own business, licensure is a legal requirement.
PE’s tend to earn more than their non-licensed counterparts do. It pays to be in a position to compete with others who have a PE license. The more roles you can fill the more you are worth.
According to The Engineering Income and Salary Survey published in 2012, the median salary for a full-time salaried, licensed Professional Engineer was $100,000. The highest full-time salaried median income by major branch of engineering goes to those respondents working in ocean ($169,000), minerals and metals ($121,000), fire protection ($116,000), and electrical ($115,200) engineering.