Sarah Appleton, PE, SE
Sarah received her Bachelor of Architectural Engineering and Master of Architectural Engineering from Kansas State University. She is a licensed Professional Engineer in nine states…View Profile
The first and foremost responsibility of any engineering professional is to hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public. As a structural engineer we take this very seriously. The main focus of our career is on this one responsibility. In order to keep this commitment foremost in our profession, Structural Engineering (SE) licensure is required and states should adopt a partial practice act requiring the SE licensure (larger and more complex structures would require the SE license, while small, simple structures could be designed by an engineer with a PE license). Below are a few of the reasons why the SE licensure is now required in order to maintain the high standards to which we have always held ourselves:
Personally, I passed the Civil Professional Engineering (PE) exam in California in October 2007, and recently passed the 16-hour SE exam in October of 2012. As much as I dreaded the studying for and taking of this exam, I feel it is much needed in our profession. The SE exam was MUCH more difficult than the PE exam, as it should be. The SE exam is designed to set the bar higher than the PE exam. It is designed to require you to use your experience and full understanding of structures in order to solve problems. This way of thinking is used every day on complex buildings. Based on my personal experience and the reasons outlined above, I believe that partial practice acts should be implemented at the state level in order to require that an advanced understanding of structures (which is tested in the 16- hour SE exam) is utilized in the design of larger, complex structures.