In this article, (and video above), I solve an engineering ethics problem that you may encounter as part of the Ethics and Professional Practice section of the FE Exam.
An Engineer-In-Training (EIT), is asked to review and stamp a set of civil engineering drawings by his or her supervisor. The EIT is working under a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) and has met the state requirements to obtain licensure. The EIT may seal the contract documents if :
(A) He or She has been given permission by their supervisor who is a licensed Professional Engineer (PE).
(B) He or She has a PhD in the area of Civil Engineering.
(C) Stamping the drawings is a requirement for his or her job within their company.
(D) He or She is a Licensed Professional Engineer (PE) and is competent in the area of Civil Engineering.
According to the Model Rules, Section 240.15 Rules of Professional Conduct under Licensee’s Obligation to Employer and Client (please refer to the second statement). Even though the Engineer-In-Training (EIT) has met his or her state’s requirements for licensure and work under licensed Professional Engineer (PE) , he or she is not yet a PE.
The correct answer is D.
The tricky part of this question is this phrase: has met the state requirements to obtain licensure. In some states, even after you complete all of the requirements to become a licensed professional engineer, there is still a period of time where you have to wait to officially receive your PE license number, and stamp. As per the guidelines referenced above, you may not sign or seal anything until you are officially licensed. This question could be especially confusing to undergraduates taking the FE exam.
This question was supplied by Geder Mena Jimenez, E.I.T, an environmental engineer II at GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc. Mr. Mena received a Bachelor of Engineering in Earth Systems Science and Environmental Engineering from The City College of New York (CUNY) – Grove School of Engineering, 2017. Mr. Mena’s experience includes a variety of environmental site investigation and remedial activities: Environmental Site Investigation (ESI), Subsurface Remediation, Community Air Monitoring Programs (CAMP), Soil/Groundwater/Vapor sampling, Site Inspection, Data Analysis, Groundwater Modeling, GIS, Hydrology and Hydraulics Analysis, Underground Storage Tank (UST) Management and Closure, and Characterization of Soil and Groundwater for disposal. You can connect with Geder here.
I hope you found this week’s engineering ethics question helpful. 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 your 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