QUESTION: I was curious, in the state of New York, are internships considered credit toward P.E? Is there anyway to get a P.E soon after graduating from an ABET accredited University for Civil Engineering?

I also want to know if I should settle with a B.S/B.Eng, M.S/M.Eng or a Ph.D in Civil Engineering. I have an ambition to one day open a civil engineering firm.

Thank You

ANSWER: Hello Mohammad:

Most states require four years of experience in the field after graduation with your B.S. degree.  The experience must be "professional". That implies full time and paid.   If it's a paid, full time internship, it might apply.  The key is to get references from licensed engineers that will attest to your work.   One of them should be your supervisor.  All states require these reference letters - usually four.

The question of B.S./M.S. or PhD comes up often.   The practical answer is you do not need to be a PhD to start a firm.  It is certainly a necessity if you want to teach on the university level.  The PhD will help you get some very high level consulting jobs in specialty fields.   Some consulting firms will only hire a PhD.  This is not the norm.  Most consulting firms want the M.S. level engineer.  I have heard of firms not hiring a person because they have a PhD.  You must decide what's best for your situation.  A business or law degree might be a better combination.

In general, get your P.E., get experience, get at least a masters degree.  The B.S. in engineering is not enough today.   The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has been pushing for a 5 year entry degree for many years now.  I agree with them.

Good luck in your studies.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: A law degree? How would a Law degree help vs a Business degree?

And about colleges, how much does the ranking of the college's program matter in getting a job?

Thank You


You have me confused.  Your earlier post stated that you planned to open an engineering firm.  If that is your goal, a law degree is pointless.  A business degree is not necessary to start and run an engineering practice, either.

If your goal involves working for a firm or government agency and moving into management, then a MBA would be very helpful. If you look around, you'll notice that the engineers work for the businessmen (MBA types).  After 4-5 years in the profession, you should decide to either stay in a technical track or move into a management track.  If you choose management, a MBA is a better choice than a technical masters degree.

A law degree puts you on a totally different track. you have a question about mediation or arbitration?  


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James Abron, P.E., P.L.S.


I can answer questions about mediation and arbitration of construction, architectural, engineering, environmental, and land use disputes. I am not an attorney and can not give legal advice.


I have extensive experience (35 years)resolving claims and disputes within the public works, commercial and residential construction and design industry. I am a registered civil engineer and licensed land surveyor. I have designed, inspected and managed the construction of streets, highways, parking garages, asbestos, lead and hydrocarbon remediation projects, storm and sanitary sewers, bridges, and pumping stations. I have constructed subdivisions and residential homes. I've also managed the construction of apartment buildings and the renovation of a convention center. I served as an arbitrator for the California Contractors License Board. I have mediated contract, construction and other business cases for the Courts and currently serve on several national mediator panels specializing in the construction/engineering industry.

2nd Judicial Circuit Court of Michigan Panel of Mediators. CDRS National Panel of Construction Mediators. CDRS National Panel for the Construction Expert Witness. American Society of Civil Engineers. Association for Conflict Resolution. Engineering Society of Detroit ADR Committee.

Bachelor of Science, Engineering: Purdue University. Professional Development Degree, Engineering: University of Wisconsin, Madison. Master of Business Administration: Golden Gate University. Certificate Total Quality Management: California State University, East Bay. Certificate Conflict Resolution Specialist: Schoolcraft College

Awards and Honors
Fellow: American Society of Civil Engineers. Professional Engineer, State of Michigan. Registered Civil Engineer, State of California. Licensed Land Surveyor, State of California. General Building & Engineering Contractor, State of California. Construction Site Storm Water Operator, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Industrial Site Storm Water Operator, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Project Management Professional, Project Management Institute. Certified Floodplain Manager, Association of State Floodplain Managers. Certified Construction Contract Administrator, Constructions Specifications Institute.

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