In this article (and video above), I talk with Alex Lee, Staff Civil Engineer at Burns & McDonnell, about the common misconceptions about licensure in large firms. She’ll also reveal her inspirations for pursuing the FE and exams, and why she believes every engineer, regardless of firm size, needs to take the FE exam (and PE exam).
Here Are Some of the Questions I Ask Alex:
- Can you walk us through your career journey since graduating in civil engineering from Kansas State about six years ago, including when you decided to pursue getting your license?
- Have you ever thought that working in a big company might make a professional license unnecessary due to the misconception that many colleagues already hold one, can you share your thoughts or experiences on this idea?
- Going back to company support, can you briefly discuss how Burns and McDonnell aided you in the licensing process?
- Looking back at your exam preparation experience, are there significant takeaways or key insights that were particularly helpful for you?
Here Are Some Key Points Discussed in This Episode:
- Upon joining a consulting engineering firm, Alex saw the need for a professional engineering license as crucial for career growth. Despite doubts, Alex valued the recognition it brought for her hard work and commitment. The goal was to solidify achievements after years of study, planning to work for at least four years to accomplish this personal milestone she pursued for eight years.
- Burns and McDonnell disagrees with the notion that company size eliminates the need for a professional license. Despite the PE license’s limited relevance to the specific role of transmission engineering, it serves as validation of accomplishments and provides added authority, particularly beneficial for young female engineers in professional settings.
- Burns and McDonnell supports employees preparing for PE and FE exams with courses, a collaborative culture for advice, and help with paperwork, including the Engineer in Training (EIT) license. They offer study resources, creating a supportive environment for successful exam preparation.
- Studying for the exam is tough, but you must persist and keep studying, even when the topics are unfamiliar. Practice tests, particularly the one provided upon sign-up, proved extremely helpful. Staying until the end of the exam allowed for last-minute discoveries that could make a difference. The main takeaway is to be persistent, manage stress, and focus on doing your best.
About Alexandra Lee, P.E.
Alexandra Lee, P.E., is a dedicated civil engineer specializing in the Transmission and Distribution division at Burns & McDonnell. With an educational foundation from Kansas State University, Alexandra earned dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Civil Engineering and Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences between 2013 and 2017. Her academic journey laid the groundwork for her expertise in the field.
At Burns & McDonnell, Alexandra’s role is pivotal in designing high-voltage transmission lines throughout the United States. Her work primarily focuses on generation tie and competitive transmission projects, where she excels in supporting her engineering team. Alexandra’s contributions are vital in shaping the infrastructure and efficiency of power transmission systems across the country. Her combination of environmental sciences knowledge and engineering skills uniquely positions her to make an impact in her field.
This Episode Is Brought to You by PPI, A Kaplan Company:
PPI has helped engineers achieve their licensing goals since 1975. Passing the FE and PE exams can open doors to career advancement and new opportunities. Check out PPI’s wide range of prep options, including Live Online courses, OnDemand courses, and digital study tools to help prepare you to pass your licensing exam here.
In upcoming articles, I will answer more FE Exam questions and run through more practice problems. We publish videos bi-weekly on our Pass the FE Exam YouTube Channel. Be sure to visit our page here and click the subscribe button as you’ll get expert tips and tricks – to ensure the best success – that you can’t get anywhere else. Believe me, you won’t want to miss a single video.
Lastly, I encourage you to ask questions in the comments of the videos or here on this page, and I’ll read and respond to them in future videos. So, if there’s a specific topic you want me to cover or answer, we have you covered.
I’ll see you next week.
Anthony Fasano, P.E.
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success