Professional Engineering Registration

Information on Becoming a Licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Washington

LICENSING REQUIREMENTS

1. Eight Years of Education and/or Experience as described below:

2. Taking and passing a Washington State administered Test in Engineering Fundamentals. To take the Fundamentals Exam you have to have four years of education or experience as outlined above.

3. Taking and passing a Washington State administered Test in the Branch of Engineering in which the engineer is practicing.

PRACTICING ENGINEERING IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON AND ALL OTHER STATES IN THE USA

To advertise and offer to practice engineering in all of the states in the USA requires having an engineering license. To offer to practice and then accept engineering jobs is against the law punishable as a misdemeanor.

OFTEN ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS COVERING ENGINEERING PRACTICE

Q. Do I need a license to practice engineering is a corporation such as Boeing?

A. No. There is an Industrial Exemption that allows engineers to work without a license with the assumption that the Corporation has a licensed engineer responsible for all engineering done in the name of the firm.

Q. Can I legally do engineering work without a license in a firm that does not have a licensed engineer?

A. Yes. But, your work will not be accepted by any government agency that requires that a licensed engineer stamp all documents.

OFTEN ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS COVERING ENGINEERING PRACTICE

Q. What if I work for a firm that doesn't have a licensed engineer working in the firm?

A. Then none of your experience will be counted as working under the supervision of a licensed engineer in responsible charge and will not be counted in meeting the experience required in getting to take either the Fundamentals or Branch Exams.

WHY SHOULD AN ENGINEER GET THEIR LICENSE

There may be no apparent advantage in getting a license in the firm in which you work, no pay increase, no additional perks or vacation. However, there is always the possibility that the firm will have the need for a licensed engineer to stamp documents that are required by the government. The licensed engineer is at an advantage over the unlicensed engineer in such a scenario in being qualified and ready to take on that responsibility.

The self-satisfaction of knowing that you are recognized as a professional among your peers. And that you publicly demonstrated your initiative in sticking your neck out by taking and passing the tests in getting your license.

OBSERVATIONS OF A RETIRED ENGINEER WITH OVER FORTY YEARS OF PRACTICE

I noticed over the years that the engineers that made the effort to get a license were the ones that moved up in management. Of course others without a license were promoted to management also but not with the same high percentage of engineers that I observed as those with licenses. That was true even though the majority of those observed were not licensed. However, I am not sure if those advancements were due to an individual's greater initiative as shown by making the effort in getting a license or because having the license was the reason for the advancements.

Another advantage I found in getting my license was that I then could join the National Society/ Washington Society of Professional Engineers. There I associated with an outstanding group of engineers. Engineers that encouraged me to take on leadership positions not only in NSPE/WSPE, other Engineering Societies but in other areas of interests such as the arts and local political groups. Being a leader in these activities improved my speaking, writing and general management abilities that were very useful in my job.

Dan R. Waltz PE

Washington State's Professional Engineer site: http://www.dol.wa.gov/engineers/engfront.htm