Career Advances

To advance your career, as well as your discipline, producing a product that is reviewed by other experts and which credits you, is an optimal thing to accomplish.  This is because this is regarded as an independent, unbiased assessment of your professional activities.  For many disciplines, this can be a publication with you as first author*.  There may be other ways to do this depending on your specific discipline.  For example, for engineers, a patent is a similar accomplishment.  Many disciplines also have certifications, etc. which donate expertise in a specific subject.  For example, as outlined on the next page, engineers can be certified as a Professional Engineer ( and the bonus is that you get an official seal; I have my Dad’s).  Very few engineers actually take this step.

Obviously obtaining any of these require time and effort.  Planning, as we have discussed, is an excellent way to help you achieve goals.  Ideally in your career development plan you have identified points in your career where you will be doing something that creates a product that can receive this outside, independent review and verification.

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Remember that when it comes time to be promoted or look for the next job, there will be lots of people who have worked diligently and performed well.  While the type of projects, etc. you have done are, of course, important, this is another way to distinguish yourself.



*While there are different conventions about how to do an author list, the plain fact is that people remember papers by the name of the first author.  Who remembers the fourth author besides your parents?

What is a PE?

To a client, it means you’ve got the credentials to earn their trust. To an employer, it signals your ability to take on a higher level of responsibility.  Among your colleagues, it demands respect. To yourself, it’s a symbol of pride and measure of your own hard-won achievement.

To become licensed, engineers must complete a four-year college degree, work under a Professional Engineer for at least four years, pass two intensive competency exams and earn a license from their state’s licensure board. Then, to retain their licenses, PEs must continually maintain and improve their skills throughout their careers.

Yet the results are well worth the effort. By combining their specialized skills with their high standards for ethics and quality assurance, PEs help make us healthier, keep us safer and allow all of us to live better lives than ever before.

A century ago, anyone could work as an engineer without proof of competency. In order to protect the public health, safety, and welfare, the first engineering licensure law was enacted in 1907 in Wyoming. Now every state regulates the practice of engineering to ensure public safety by granting only Professional Engineers (PEs) the authority to sign and seal engineering plans and offer their services to the public.

To use the PE seal, engineers must complete several steps to ensure their competency.

  • Earn a four-year degree in engineering from an accredited engineering program
  • Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Complete four years of progressive engineering experience under a PE
  • Pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam

What makes a PE different from an engineer?

PEs must also continuously demonstrate their competency and maintain and improve their skills by fulfilling continuing education requirements depending on the state in which they are licensed.

  • Only a licensed engineer may prepare, sign and seal, and submit engineering plans and drawings to a public authority for approval, or seal engineering work for public and private clients.
  • PEs shoulder the responsibility for not only their work, but also for the lives affected by that work and must hold themselves to high ethical standards of practice.
  • Licensure for a consulting engineer or a private practitioner is not something that is merely desirable; it is a legal requirement for those who are in responsible charge of work, be they principals or employees.
  • Licensure for engineers in government has become increasingly significant. In many federal, state, and municipal agencies, certain governmental engineering positions, particularly those considered higher level and responsible positions, must be filled by licensed professional engineers.
  • Many states require that individuals teaching engineering must also be licensed. Exemptions to state laws are under attack, and in the future, those in education, as well as industry and government, may need to be licensed to practice. Also, licensure helps educators prepare students for their future in engineering.

PSM 650                                                                                                                                                        F2020

Demonstrating Quality Plan

Name  _________________________

What is an example paper in your field?  Use google scholar or another search tool and attach the first page of the paper.

What is an example of a patent in your field?  Find the patent using one of the search tools and attach the first page of the patent.

What is an example of another accomplishment in your field like a certification, license, etc.?  If you attach a screenshot attach that OR right a short description and the web link below.


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