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Thread: Entry level career questions

  1. #1
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    Entry level career questions

    Hi to all

    I'm new on this wonderful site, I'm here because I need your help.
    To be easy for you guys to understand my concerns I will make the story shorter.
    I recently graduated Polytechnic University of Bucharest (ROMANIA - 2009) and I emigrated to US. Now, I live in Sacramento, California and I have a Bachelor of Science in Transportation Engineering (equivalent) and also I have a Master Degree in Transportation & Logistics (equivalent)

    My questions:

    1) Where can I find a entry level Transportation Engineer position? I am seeking from the beginning of 2010 and I cannot find any position that match my education.
    I cannot apply for a government position cuz right now I'm a green card holder.(permanent resident not citizen)

    2) What's a FE exam? Can I take the PE license without taking the FE Exam?

    3) I wanna take the PE license, but I wanna know if it's worth, in me case. If the answer is yes, what should I do for the first step? How much will cost that exam? I heard that you cannot find the right preparation books and courses for those exams. Where is the best place to find that comprehensive studying material?

    4) I've worked as a Mechanical Engineer in Brooklyn, NY for about 5 months (contract job) and I have a previous experience working with CAD software like Solidworks, Catia V5, Autocad. My question is: Can I obtain a Mechanical Engineer PE license, even though I'm a Transportation Engineer?

    5) What's the difference between a Mechanical Engineer and a Civil Engineer (generally speaking)

    Thank you for your time and consideration! Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Moderator note:
    Career related. Moved from transportation planning forum. Vague title changed

  3. #3
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Please first work on your spelling. While this type of spelling may be okay for e-mails or text messages, it says the world to perspective employers.

    For transportation planning and engineering a great number of jobs may be found through the ITE, NARC (National Association of Regional Council), or AMPO (Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations).

    Unfortunately with the economy being so bad and there being no transportation bill you may not find much right now.

    The engineering certifications I can't help you with.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  4. #4
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    Unfortunately, not being able to apply to gov't positions will really hinder your search as good one third to half will be public sector jobs. You will have to look at private sector only which means, private development firms for the most part. I don't know much about engineering, however it sounds like the more you can put on your resume, the better. Best of Luck!
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Professional registration as a PE ...

    Hi there, just a little help for you from a planner that has worked with civil engineers for the last 10 years in private industry ...

    Licensure as a Professional Engineer (PE) is regulated on a state by state basis by the Board of Professional Engineers. The typical path to becoming a PE includes both an educational component (Bachelor's and/or Master's degree), and work experience. Each state has different rules about how they qualify candidates to sit for the exam, and licensure in one state only applies to that state. It is often true, however, that in any given state, once you are registered as a PE, you may be granted what is called "reciprocity," whereby you obtain a license to work in another state by virtue of having passed the PE elsewhere. Often this means you must complete more continuing education to maintain the additional license(s).

    A link to the California Board of Professional Engineers FAQ about the necessary qualifications for sitting for both the EIT (FE) exam and the PE exam in California is:

    http://www.pels.ca.gov/applicants/faq_eng.pdf

    The EIT exam (called the FE exam) is the first step in the process, but it appears that there are circumstances under which taking the EIT (FE) exam may be waived. Consult the guidelines on the above referenced link.

    Note that civil engineers have additional requirements to meet, including additional testing that includes land surveying.

    As for your question regarding civil engineers, I assume that you are asking what is it that a civil engineer typically does. Civil engineers are essentially infrastructure engineers, handling "horizontal" or "on the ground" engineering. For instance, they can design utility systems, stormwater management systems, and roads or road networks for a given piece of property that a private developer might wish to develop (such as for a residential subdivision, a commercial shopping center, or a large industrial park). They can also design these systems for the general public, where the facilities are used by the public at large, such as interstate highways, state roads, water or wastewater treatment plants, water main or sewer main extensions onto new roads, etc.

    They may also be involved with street and highway design, airfield design for airports, and design for other mass transit systems, such as subways, streetcars, railroads and similar. This is where civil engineering meets transportation engineering, and may be a good place for you to focus yourself assuming that this is the type of engineering you wish to practice. Generally speaking, a transportation engineer is often a type of a civil engineer -- they just specialize in transportation systems.

    If you are interested in staying in mechanical engineering, there is also a lot of variety in that career path, and may lead you to places like biomedical engineering, an area that will rapidly grow in the US due to our aging population and future needs for new medical advancements to deal with diseases and the aging process. Here's a link to a description of the variety of work a mechanical engineer could possibly find himself or herself in:

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_does_a_mechanical_engineer_do

    You may already have a grip on the potential paths a mechanical engineer can take, but thought I'd throw that in there for your consideration.

    I hope this helps. Bottom line is visit the State of California Board of Professional Engineers website, read through the criteria needed to sit for your exams, then work with your employer to determine how you can best move forward with earning your professional registration.

  6. #6
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    Thank you all for your suggestions and in particularly thank you Gartagal93 for your help.

    I read on there website http://www.pels.ca.gov/applicants/eit_lsitapp.shtml something that scares me a bit:

    2 EXAMINATION REQUIREMENTS:
    EIT applicants must have completed:
    Three years of course work in a Board-approved engineering curriculum (any curriculum approved by the Engineering Accreditation Commission [EAC] of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology [ABET]). (Foreign degrees are not ABET accredited unless they are from Canada. If you have a degree in Canada, please check on its accreditation.)


    It means that if I went to school in Romania, even though I have a 5 years degree I can not meet there requirements. Hmm that's sounds weird and also not fair. Can anybody has a word to say in this matter?

    Thanks again for your advice!

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by crilex View post

    It means that if I went to school in Romania, even though I have a 5 years degree I can not meet there requirements. Hmm that's sounds weird and also not fair. Can anybody has a word to say in this matter?

    Thanks again for your advice!
    It is not weird or unfair. It cost a lot of money for the board to accredit school, as well as schools to be accredited. It is just like AICP. If you school isn't accredited, then you have to work a little bit longer. The basic and mechanics of transportation planning/engineering are the same world wide, but the execution is vastly different, especially in California versus Europe.

    Get your work experience in and take the test, even if this means a relocation out of jobs defunct California.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    If you have 3 or more years of professional work experience, that will also qualify you to sit for the EIT FE exam. That experience can be anywhere in the world as it indicates just below the section you are quoting.

    With a degree from a non-ABET accredited program, it appears that work experience will be required in order to qualify to sit for the exam.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by crilex View post
    Thank you all for your suggestions and in particularly thank you Gartagal93 for your help.

    I read on there website http://www.pels.ca.gov/applicants/eit_lsitapp.shtml something that scares me a bit:

    2 EXAMINATION REQUIREMENTS:
    EIT applicants must have completed:
    Three years of course work in a Board-approved engineering curriculum (any curriculum approved by the Engineering Accreditation Commission [EAC] of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology [ABET]). (Foreign degrees are not ABET accredited unless they are from Canada. If you have a degree in Canada, please check on its accreditation.)


    It means that if I went to school in Romania, even though I have a 5 years degree I can not meet there requirements. Hmm that's sounds weird and also not fair. Can anybody has a word to say in this matter?

    Thanks again for your advice!
    The rules for obtaining an FE/EIT vary by state. You need to check with the state you are interested in. There is definitely a way to obtain the certification without having gone to an ABET accredited school. I know many people who have their engineering degrees from Asian and other places who have PEs. I'm not sure what you have to do, but it can be done...

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