At some point near the end of the university engineering program, we are faced with the choice of whether we wish to obtain the Professional Engineer (PE) license.

When I first graduated from college, I really wanted to get a PE license because it was the next requirement to get for an Electrical Engineering Major instead of going for my Master’s degree.  Due to financial issues of taking out more of a loan, I decided to get a job first before going for either PE license or Master’s degree.   

One day, I met an engineer like me, majored in Electrical Engineering, who has been working for BIG 3 for the last 30 years and has had the PE license for the last 20 years (when I met him in 2010). I asked him about his PE license and what benefits he received.   

What he said was shocking to me: in his experience, the only benefit was that he was able to negotiate an additional $10,000 a year in his salary. Also, doing mostly manufacturing and automation equipment, a lot of this equipment gets installed within the plant. Since this wasn’t being installed in the building structure, he didn’t need to use his PE license. It actually makes more sense for someone that majored in “Civil Engineering” to get a PE rather than an Electrical Engineering major.     

This kind of puzzled me because I was never told this in college and when I did my research, yes, he was absolutely right. I wouldn’t really benefit from a PE license because of the field I am in. In other words, unless you want to go into construction type work with updating new buildings or major in civil engineering.   

You really don’t need a PE License; it really doesn’t benefit someone like me who has more experience with installation of manufacturing and automation equipment.  This is funny to me because if it wasn’t for my co-worker all those years ago, I might have a PE license right now.   

Eventually, you don’t need a PE License to be a successful engineer and if you do want to get a PE, make sure you major in a field that will benefit you in the long run, in essence you should do your respective research.   

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