Frequently Asked Questions
Is certification by the SECB the same as licensing by States? No. The SECB certifies an engineer, already licensed, in the practice of Structural Engineering. Certification will not affect anyone's present structural engineering registrations/licenses, nor will it make it easier to obtain licensing in other states at this time. The hope is that, in the future, it may do so.
Will certification make it easier to become licensed in one of the 19 states that presently license structural engineers either by practice or title? No. But, it is anticipated that states will recognize the certification process by SECB in the future and allow SECB certification to eliminate much of the verification processes required by State Licensing Boards.
Do I have to be licensed as a Structural Engineer to be certified by the SECB? No. But a license as a professional engineer is required.
I am already a licensed Structural Engineer. Why should I become certified by the SECB?
- Certification by the SECB is yet another testament as to the level of skill you possess. The certification requirements may exceed the requirements of your State Licensing Board. Also, national certification may be more recognized and required by stakeholders in other states where you work, if those states do not license structural engineers. Receiving certification through the Structural Engineering Certification Board aids in:
- Establishing an identity for structural engineering, as a distinct and separate professional practice from civil engineering, in much the same was that neurologists, cardio-vascular surgeons, and other medical specialties have established professional certification programs to identify practice in the various medical practice fields.
- Assisting the broader efforts by NCSEA and SEI and NCEES to work with the various states to promote the adoption of uniform structural engineering practice legislation, so that our licenses will be more transportable from state to state in the future and also, so that structural engineering practice is restricted to those who have the appropriate education and experience to practice it competently.
- Providing the practicing profession a direct voice in establishing what the appropriate standards of primary education, continuing education, and experience are for structural engineering licensing.
- Attempting to re-establish structural engineering as a profession, rather than as a technical avocation, and in so doing enhance the perceived value of our services to our clients.
What is the justification for the application/annual certification fees? Fees are established based on the following considerations:
- Administrative staff time and costs
- Direct reimbursement for actual costs incurred by board and committee members who are volunteering their time for the program and the betterment of the profession
- Support the visibility of the program to assure it meets the intended goal and vision of the program
- Unlike licensing programs administered by states, this program is fully self-supporting and does not receive subsidies from states or other local/national organizations.
What is the appropriate acronym and title to use in acknowledging my certification? Engineers certified in the practice of structural engineering through the SECB are encouraged to use “SECB” following their name and titles (Joe Smith, PE, SECB). The correct terminology to use in describing certification is the following: “Joe Smith, Certified in the Practice of Structural Engineering.” No alternate usages are acceptable. The SECB cannot be held liable for the misuse of this terminology.
What will I receive upon being approved for certification? Individuals will receive a plaque and a wallet card upon being approved for certification. Each renewal cycle, a renewal certificate with the appropriate expiration date will be sent along with an updated wallet card.
How do I document my PDH’s for each renewal cycle and what hours are appropriate to use toward certification? Certificants should use the SECB dashboard to document PDHs, keep their information up-to-date, and make their annual payments. Please refer to the “Recertification” button on the home page of the website, or visit the dashboard's FAQ page for more information.