At their quarterly Board meeting held June 16 -17, 1998 in Ft. Worth, Texas, the Texas Board of Professional Engineers adopted software engineering as a distinct discipline under which engineering licenses can be issued. Until professional software engineering examinations are available, only those applicants with sufficient engineering experience to qualify for waivers of examinations will be eligible to apply.
The Board also approved the procedure to grant licensing exam waivers to qualifying individuals that apply under the software engineering discipline. Applicants who meet the requirements to receive exam waivers must wait until August 1, 1998, to apply under the software engineering discipline. The reason for this short delay in applying after August 1 is to allow for the legal and administrative elements of the Board action to take effect. Unfortunately, applications received before this date must be returned without being processed. The requirements that applicants must meet to receive an exam waiver are listed below.
Software Engineering Professional Examinations
Although the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers - Computing Society (IEEE-CS) have made preliminary agreements to produce a Principles of Practice Examination (PE) for software engineering, the exam preparation process is in its infancy. No date has been set for the first exam. The joint effort will also address the possible need for a Fundamentals of Engineering Examination (FE) especially geared for software engineering. The Texas Board has indicated its intent to request the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying to officially recognize software engineering as a discipline and to work with ACM and IEEE-CS as necessary to utilize the proposed exam(s) nationally.
Eligibility Requirements for an Exam Waiver
As a result of legislation that became effective September 1, 1997, some individuals applying for a Texas PE license may now request an exam waiver for the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination (FE) and/or the Principles of Practice Examination (PE) depending on their level of experience and several other factors. At the time a licensing application is filed with the Texas Board, applicants may also submit their request for an exam waiver. Sending a request for an exam waiver without a completed application will result in the applicant's file becoming invalid for processing. Applicants requesting an exam waiver(s) must not pose a threat to the public health, safety, or welfare, and must have:
- an accredited degree (currently defined as an accredited engineering degree by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering Technology, Inc., (EAC/ABET) or certain specific Washington Accord degrees) acceptable to the Board and 12 or more years of engineering experience, or
- a non-accredited degree and 16 years of engineering experience, or
- a Ph.D. in engineering from a recognized college or university that offers an EAC/ABET-accredited undergraduate or master's curriculum in a related branch of engineering, or a Ph.D. in engineering or other related field of science or mathematics that is individually assessed and approved by the board during the evaluation process; and taught in an EAC/ABET program for at least six years, or have at least six years of experience consisting of an acceptable combination of other creditable engineering experience or EAC/ABET teaching experience.
How to Apply for an Exam Waiver
To apply for an exam waiver, applicants must:
- write a letter citing their specific eligibility for the waiver(s) to Victoria J.L. Hsu, PE, Executive Director of the Texas Board of Professional Engineers,
- include the letter in your completed Texas PE application packet,
- provide additional reference statements as required under Board rules (a total of nine references, five of which must be from licensed professional engineers)
- document sufficient engineering experience in their supplementary experience record to provide evidence that the minimum experience required for the waiver has been met.
- No abbreviated applications or special forms are required of individuals requesting a waiver.
The board's draft statement on software engineering provides further information concerning the board's position on software engineering licensing. The draft, titled "Software Engineering Statement", can be found under the heading "Drafts on Foundations, Software & Trusses" on the board's home page at http://engineers.texas.gov
Click on the italicized heading below for: The Texas Board's Software Engineering Statement dated 10/12/98.
(This article is in the process of being rewritten. It will be available at a later date.)
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