Thursday, 12 July 2018

Why Structural Engineering Licenses are on the Rise

As an engineering exam review course provider, we often get asked about structural engineering vs. civil engineering. It can be difficult to understand the differences between Structural Engineering (SE) and Professional Engineering (PE) Civil with the structural depth, but apart from the exam specifications and general licensing differences, the main differences primarily involve state board jurisdictions and career goals. 

According to the National Council of Structural Engineers Association, the concept of structural engineering was derived from civil engineering as a whole. “Originally engineering was a military activity. As time passed, the benefit of engineering in non-military activities was recognized and engineering subsequently divided into two disciplines: Military Engineering and Civil Engineering. Soon other disciplines—Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Structural Engineer, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, and others—developed from Civil Engineering.” i

The SE license from NCEES has become increasingly popular as state boards are beginning to require the license for certain structural engineering projects. Within the last decade, there has been a nationwide initiative to create safer and sturdier structures, which therefore encourages state boards to take action to require a structural engineering license before one can practice structural engineering. For instance, the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Minnesota resulted in extra precautions and a reevaluation of design standards for future structural bridge projects. 

California, Hawaii, Illinois, and Nevada are some states that specifically require engineers to have their SE license for certain projects. Hawaii and Illinois require a structural engineering license for any structural engineering jobs; California and Nevada have more specific regulations. In California, a SE license is required for educational buildings and hospitals, while an engineer with a PE license can practice structural engineering on any other structures. Nevada requires a SE license for structures that are taller than 100 feet and for buildings taller than 45 feet or three stories.ii As time progresses, the need for a structural engineering license seems to be getting greater with state engineering boards.

Those interested in structural engineering are encouraged to check with their state engineering boards for practicing regulations. For those that reside in a state that does require a structural engineering license, SE courses that include SE exam practice problems are a great way to prepare for the SE exam.


i National Council of Structural Engineers Association. A Day in the Life. Retrieved from 

ii Structural Engineer (SE) Licensure Explained. Retrieved from 

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Architectural Engineering: The Field of Multiple Trades

Why is architecture so difficult yet such a rewarding field to get into? Architectural engineering is a vast and diverse field that requires knowledge of various other field-specific engineering subjects. Those who go into the field of architectural engineering utilize both technology and science to design buildings to improve overall living conditions, accessibility, and quality of life. 

When comparing architectural engineers to other professional engineers in differing specialties, architects really do stand out considering the amount of knowledge that is needed to become licensed. For instance, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) Professional Engineering (PE) Architectural license exam includes multiple subjects that can be found on other professional engineering exams. 

Below are the architecture engineering subjects that are found on NCEES’ architectural licensing exam:

· Building Systems Integration
· Electrical Systems
· Mechanical Systems
· Structural Systems 
· Project Management and Construction Administration

NCEES administers individual exams for a majority of the subjects above. For example, PE Civil, PE Mechanical, PE Electrical, and Structural Engineering (SE) exams are offered as licensing exams through the organization.

Why do architectural engineers need to master so many subjects? The answer is relatively simple. When designing a building, it is necessary to consider not only the structure but also the mechanical and electrical aspects of the building. 

If you have an interest in designing buildings and love a challenge, obtaining a PE Architectural license may be right for you. As a professional architectural engineer, you will have bragging rights to say that you are knowledgeable in multiple trades.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Engineering Review Courses During Work: How Lunch and Learns Can Increase Career Development, Morale

Career development through education is often thought to be difficult for working professionals with a full-time 9-5 job. Whether a working professional wishes to take college classes or a discipline-specific exam review course, there is a common misconception that any educational activity must be done in the evenings after work. 

Lunch and learns have become a popular solution for educating full-time working professionals. Lunch and learns are typically organized by a company to help further increase employees’ skills and career development and can even increase employee morale by creating an atmosphere promoting employee appreciation. 

Career development is perhaps the biggest reason working professionals participate in lunch and learn programs. A Harvard Business Review article analyzed career development opportunities by examining more than 1,200 professionals. 

“Workers reported that companies generally satisfy their needs for on-the-job development and that they value these opportunities, which include high-visibility positions and significant increases in responsibility,” reported Jie Cao, Monika Hamori, and Burak Koyuncu, the article’s authors. i 

Working professionals often wish to advance into more challenging job roles the longer they work for a company, and with the correct training tools, they can typically progress into higher positions at a desirable rate. 

Employees love when companies provide extra benefits, such as company outings or career development opportunities. By offering different perks to employees, companies can build a more trusting management-employee relationship, which therefore increases overall employee morale and decreases turnover. According to a LinkedIn article, “[E]xtra fringe benefits can improve morale. [Lunch and Learns] create an atmosphere of appreciation, kindness and caring for employees.” ii 

In the engineering field, continual career development is essential for success. Technically, by law, one cannot refer to themselves as an engineer without being properly licensed. To become licensed, people typically have to take and pass both the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam and the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE). These exams are considered rigorous and have been reported to require approximately 200 hours of preparation for each. After becoming licensed, many engineering state boards require licensed engineers to participate in continuing education courses by earing professional development hours. 

For engineering companies or for individuals who wish to take an exam review course during the day, School of PE offers a PE Civil Live Online exam review course during weekday afternoons. This time slot is perfect for corporate training

Corporations, what are you waiting for? Let School of PE help your employees prepare for and pass the PE Civil exam! 


i Why Top Young Managers Are in a Nonstop Job Hunt. Retrieved from /2012/07/why-top-young-managers-are in-a-nonstop-job-hunt 

ii Lunch and Learn Benefits. Retrieved from /pulse/lunch-learn-benefits wendy-rose/

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Petroleum Engineering: An Exploration of Job and Industry Trends

Petroleum is an essential aspect to everyday life with oil being sourced to transportation, industrial and residential sectors. Even with renewable energy emerging and becoming more prominent in today’s society, the oil industry is expected to grow. Petroleum continues to be the most widely used energy source in the United States. In 2017, 36.2 quadrillion Btu of petroleum were used, followed by 28 quadrillion Btu of natural gas, 13.9 quadrillion Btu of coal, 11 quadrillion Btu of renewable energy (biofuels), and 8.4 quadrillion Btu of nuclear electric power.i

The increase of petroleum popularity may be because new renewable energy technology has not advanced enough to provide adequate energy for an ever-growing population and city infrastructure. For example, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that the global demand of oil will significantly increase by 2040. In 2010, the global demand per day was averaged at 86 million barrels. IEA forecasts an average of 105 million barrels of oil per day being used in 2040, which is a 22% increase in 30 years.ii 

The growth of the petroleum industry is evident when evaluating petroleum engineering jobs as well as a higher demand of licensed professional petroleum engineers. In fact, the number of petroleum engineering jobs are expected to increase 15% by 2026, which is much greater than the average job growth in other industries.iii 

The number of examinees who have taken NCEES’ PE Petroleum exam has significantly increased over the years. Only 17 examinees took the licensing exam in 2001, and 187 examinees took the exam in 2017. With the consistent increase of petroleum engineering jobs, the PE Petroleum exam may soon reach the popularity level of the PE Control Systems and the PE Chemical exams.iv 

To accommodate the increasing popularity of the PE Petroleum licensing exam, School of PE offers a PE Petroleum exam review course for those who are interested in pursuing a career in the industry. The course provides 60 hours of lectures as well as practice problems. 

Pursuing a career in a rapidly growing industry has many perks, such as job security, career advancements, and salary. Secure a career in petroleum engineering by getting licensed. With School of PE, you can prepare, practice, and pass. It’s that easy!


i U.S. primary energy consumption by source and sector, 2017. Retrieved from totalenergy/data/monthly/

ii  A World in Transformation: World Energy Outlook 2017. Retrieved from

iii Occupational Outlook Handbook: Petroleum Engineers. Retrieved from

iv PE and SE Exam Results. Retrieved from

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Pursuing Surveying as a Career: Why Become a Professional Surveyor

When evaluating job security and career prospects in the engineering and architectural fields, surveying continually proves to be a strong career choice. Generally, surveyors are responsible for precisely measuring property boundaries as well as determining and delivering data specifying the contour of the Earth’s surface for various construction projects. 

The demand for surveyors is expected to drastically increase within the next decade. Below are career statistics for surveyors per the Bureau of Labor Statistics: 

· Employment of surveyors is projected to grow 11 percent by 2026 
· Currently, there are 44,800 surveyor jobs in the U.S. 
· The median salary for surveyors is $29.40 per hour, or $61,140 annually 
· California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania have the highest surveyor employment level 

To become a professional licensed surveyor, an individual must acquire a bachelor’s degree from an ABET accredited university and pass the Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) and Principles and Practice of Surveying (PS) exams. 

Due to the increasing demand for surveyors, School of PE has recently launched exam review courses for NCEES’ FS and PS exams to assist those in becoming professional surveyors. These two courses combined provide a total of 132 hours of comprehensive lectures and practice sessions. School of PE has strategically designed the two courses to align with NCEES’ exam specifications to fully prepare students for the exams. 

Pursuing surveying as a career has many advantages for working professionals. If you are interested in becoming a professional licensed surveyor, check out School of PE’s FS and PS exam review courses.

Monday, 14 May 2018

How Tutoring Increases Chances of Passing Engineering Exams

Various academic studies have been performed to evaluate the effects of online tutoring. Tutoring has been shown to not only increase exam scores but also has been proven to help students grasp difficult topics at a faster rate compared to students who were not tutored on a specific subject, increase confidence while taking an exam, and improve overall studying skills. 

It has been proven that online instruction has immensely helped the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) exam applicants prepare for their engineering exams. For example, the national pass rate for the October 2017 PE Civil exam was 66 percent for first-time takers while School of PE’s pass rate was 90 percent. 

To provide further exam review assistance to its students, School of PE has launched a new tutoring program for its FE Civil and PE Civil students. 

Studies have shown that tutoring, in addition to other routine exam prep methods, has had a significant and positive impact on overall performance. The American Education Research Journal compared findings from various tutor-related studies and concluded that students who were tutored significantly outperformed students who did not participate in tutoring. Nearly 90 percent of the compared studies found that tutoring positively impacted overall exam performance.i 

Preparing for an NCEES exam can be overwhelming to many examinees, as many exam applicants attempt to manage working full time and preparing for the exam. Past examinees report spending 200 to 300 hours preparing for NCEES exams, which includes attending exam review courses, reading supplemental material, and taking practice exams. Tutoring has been shown to reduce the average time needed to complete a learning objective by up to 30 percent.ii Learning objectives are completely learner-based but could include understanding a specific concept or being able to solve a problem in a specific amount of time. 

Typically when adults place themselves in a learning environment, they tend to lack confidence, experience anxiety, and encounter other barriers that would have detrimental effects on their overall exam preparation approach.iii Tutoring is often believed to be a tool for building confidence and self esteem during studying and test-taking.iv Therefore, tutoring can significantly help adults prepare for NCEES exams and increase their chances of passing. 

Tutoring is often viewed as a tool to help students understand and grasp difficult concepts. A well-rounded tutoring program offers more than instructional teaching; it also includes initial diagnostics, study/learning plans, and guidance for strong study habits.v A study performed by the American Society for Engineering Education showed those subjects who participated in a tutoring program rated tutoring 4.17 out of 5 when asked how effective the tutoring was in improving overall knowledge of a subject and 3.56 out of 5 when asked how effective the tutoring was in aiding study skills such as time management and study 

School of PE has recently launched a new tutoring feature for its FE Civil and PE Civil students in order to provide them with as much guidance and support in exam preparation as possible. Tutoring sessions will be one hour each and will be led by School of PE’s instructors. Sessions will revolve directly around a student’s exam preparation needs, and the tutor will create a structured, individualized study plan for each student. 

Check out our FE Civil tutoring or PE Civil tutoring pages to further learn how School of PE’s review courses and tutoring sessions can help you pass an NCEES exam. 


i. VanLehn, K. (2011, Oct 17). The relative effectiveness of human tutoring, intelligent tutoring systems, and other tutoring systems.” Educational Psychologist. 
ii. Kuhne, G. Dr. 10 Characteristics of Adults as Learners. 
iii. The Power of Tutoring Infographic. Retrieved from 
iv. Lincoln Land Community College. (2014, Oct). Online Tutor Training Module. 
v. Cohen, P., Kulik, J., & Lulik, C. Educational Outcomes of Tutoring: A Meta-analysis of Findings. 
vi. Paljug, B., DR, & Lampe, L. (2017, Aug.). Assessing usage, satisfaction, effectiveness, and learning outcomes for an engineering peer tutoring program.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Basic Characteristics of Wastewater


Wastewater is defined as any water that has been negatively affected in quality by humans. Wastewater is comprised of liquid and solid waste that is discharged from domestic residences, commercial properties, industrial plants, and agriculture facilities or land. Wastewater contains a wide range of contaminants at various concentrations. 

Characteristics of Wastewater 
The three main characteristics of wastewater are classified below. 

1. Physical Characteristics 
· Turbidity 
· Color 
· Odor 
· Total solids 
· Temperature 

2. Chemical Characteristics due to Chemical Impurities 
· Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) 
· Total Organic Carbon (TOC) 
· Nitrogen 
· Phosphorus 
· Chlorides 
· Sulfates 
· Alkalinity 
· pH 
· Heavy Metals 
· Trace Elements 
· Priority Pollutants 

3. Biological Characteristics due to Contaminants 
· Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) 
· Oxygen required for nitrification 
· Microbial population 

Wastewater characteristics, as well as water treatment processes, are important for environmental engineers to understand. Our FE Environmental exam review course thoroughly reviews the characteristics of wastewater. 

Physical Characteristics of Wastewater 
· Color - Fresh sewage is normally brown and yellowish in color but over time becomes black in color. 
· Odor – Wastewater that includes sewage typically develops a strong odor. 
· Temperature - Due to more biological activity, wastewater will have a higher temperature. 
· Turbidity - Due to suspended solids in wastewater, wastewater will have a higher turbidity, or cloudiness. 

Chemical Characteristics of Wastewater 
Wastewater contains different chemicals in various forms as mentioned below. 
· Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) - COD is a measure of organic materials in wastewater in terms of the oxygen required to oxidize the organic materials. 
· Total Organic Carbon (TOC) - TOC is a measure of carbon within organic materials. 
· Nitrogen - Organic nitrogen is the amount of nitrogen present in organic compounds. 
· Phosphorous - Organic phosphorous (in protein) and inorganic phosphorous (phosphates, PO4- ) 
· Chlorides (Cl-) 
· Sulfates (SO4-2) 
· Heavy metals 
  1. Mercury (Hg) 
  2. Arsenic (As) 
  3. Lead (Pb) 
  4. Zinc (Zn) 
  5. Cadmium (Cd) 
  6. Copper (Cu) 
  7. Nickel (Ni) 
  8. Chromium (Cr) 
  9. Silver (Ag) 

Analyzing the physical and chemical characteristics of wastewater plays a critical role in the wastewater treatment process. Our FE Environmental review course greatly emphasizes wastewater treatment methods based on the physical and chemical characteristics of the water. 

Biological Characteristics of Wastewater 
· Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) - BOD is the amount of oxygen needed to stabilize organic matter using microorganisms. 
· Nitrogenous Oxygen Demand (NOD) - NOD is the amount of oxygen needed to convert organic and ammonia nitrogen into nitrates by nitrifying bacteria. 
· Microbial life in wastewater - Wastewater contains the following microbes: 
  1.  Bacteria 
  2.  Protozoa 
  3.  Fungi 
  4.  Viruses 
  5.  Algae 
  6.  Rotifers 
  7. Nematodes 
· Oil and Grease - Oil and grease originate from food waste and petroleum products. The amount of oil and grease in raw wastewater varies from 10 to 109 mg/L. 

It is important that those who are striving to obtain their FE certification fully understand how to regulate the biological characteristics of wastewater through appropriate treatment methods.