Articles

FAQ Regarding Georgia's SE License

As a professional service, SEAOG has compiled a list of FAQ regarding the new Professional Structural Engineer license. This list of FAQ is based on the panel discussion SEAOG hosted in September 2020, with representatives from SEAOG's SE Licensure Committee, ACEC-GA's Political Action Team, and the PELS Board. 

Readers are reminded that Professional Structural Engineer licenses are issued by the PELS Board. Individuals wishing to obtain an SE license must meet the requirements of the PELS Board and submit an application directly to the PELS Board. 

If you have a question to add, please contact SEAOG's Publicity Committee.

 

1. Where is the affidavit I need to fill out for "grandfathering"?

Please visit the PELS Board website: https://sos.ga.gov/index.php/licensing/plb/22. On 12/14/2020, SEAOG was able to view the form under "Application/Form Downloads", titled "Structural Engineer Affidavit". 

 

2. I've already passed the 16-hr PE Structural exam. When can I legally put "SE" after my name?

You must apply to the PELS Board for a Structural Engineer license. You are not licensed as a Structural Engineer in Georgia until you have been assigned your SE license number by the PELS Board. You can search for active licenses on PELS' website: http://verify.sos.ga.gov/verification/. When you have received your license, you may add the "SE" credential to your name. 

 

3. Is there a fee to obtain the new SE license? 

Yes. The PELS Board anticipates requiring a $120 fee to accompany all applications for the Structural Engineer license, including those submitted via the aforementioned affidavit. 

 

4. Is the SE license fee in addition my PE fee?

In 2020, SE license fees were in addition to PE renewals. However, moving forward, the PELS Board has indicated it plans to only charge a single free for the initial awarding and subsequent renewals of the PE and SE license pair. 

 

5. I’m currently licensed as a PE in Georgia. What happens to that license when I am issued a SE license?

In short, nothing. You will hold two individual professional licenses: a PE and an SE. You can use either your PE or SE stamp to sign and seal non-Designated Structures; the PE is simply retained in order to maintain continuity with entities that are not familiar with the SE license. While you will hold two separate professional licenses, you will pay a single renewal fee and fulfill continuing education requirements as if you held a single license.

 

6. Are there different PDH requirements for PE vs SE license holders? 

No. Whether you hold a PE alone or both a PE and SE license, you need only fulfill current continuing education requirements for a single license.

 

7. I don't design high-rises. Do I still need an SE? 

A SE is required to sign and seal Designated Structures, as defined by Georgia's PELS Board. All other structures can be signed and sealed by either a PE or SE.

 

8. Is a SE required for specialty engineers (i.e. those designing components, like cold-formed metal framing or retaining walls) for Designated Structures?

No. Provided that the Structural Engineer of Record is a licensed SE, specialty engineers on a designated structures project are only required to have a PE license. Note also that the PELS Board does not consider geo-structures to be "Designated Structures". "Geo-structures" are structures consistent with those described in the consensus agreement reached between the Geotechnical Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineerings, signed on February 16, 2016. See Board Rule 180-6-.03 for more information. 

 

9. Do firms need a separate Certificate of Authorization (CoA) to provide Structural Engineering services?

No, a CoA for Engineering Services is sufficient.

 

10. How do I obtain a new SE stamp? 

Please see https://sos.ga.gov/index.php/licensing/plb/22/board_stamp__seal

 

11. When will Georgia require drawings to be signed/sealed by a SE? 

SB 310 states the credential be in effect on January 1, 2021.

 

12. I’m applying for my initial PE license. How can I indicate I want to take the 8-hr PE Civil-Structural exam instead of the 16-hr PE Structural? 

Complete the PE Exam Application on the PELS Board website, designating "Civil Engineering" as the "one brand of engineering in which you propose to practice. 

In contrast, applicants desiring a SE license would respond with  "Structural Engineering" in this field. Note that all SE licensees will also receive a PE license upon successful completion of requirements and Board approval. See FAQ #11 for more information.

 

13. I have an active license in another state that I obtained by passing the SE I and SE II exams, but do not currently hold a Georgia PE license. Do I need to take the 16-hr PE Structural exam if I want to sign/seal Designated Structures drawings in Georgia? 

No. The PELS Board rules state applicants must “pass a written examination in the principles and practice of structural engineering in the areas of which shall be determined by the board“, and the PELS Board has indicated it will mimic the NCEES Model Law Structural Engineer examination requirements, i.e. one of the following:

  • 16 hours of NCEES structural examinations, 8 hours of which are the Structural II exam, taken prior to January 1, 2011
  • 16 hours of state-written structural exams, taken prior to 2004 (see FAQ #19 for more infomation)
  • NCEES Structural II exam plus one 8-hr state-written structural exam, taken prior to January 1, 2011 
  • NCEES 16-hour PE Structural Engineering exam, taken after January 1, 2011

 

Therefore, anyone who passed both the SE I and SE II would qualify by option 1, and be eligible to apply for Georgia’s SE license by comity.

 

14. I have an active Professional Engineer license in another state that I obtained in 2015 by passing the PE-Civil-Structural 8hr exam.  Georgia PELS Board previously required that I sit for the 16-hr exam in order to receive a Georgia PE.  With this new bill, will reciprocity be allowed for a Georgia PE license?

Reciprocity denotes that a license from one state is valid in another. There is no reciprocity for engineering licenses in the state of Georgia. However, you may apply for a Georgia Professional Engineer license by comity and without additional examinations, since passing the 8-hr PE Civil-Structural exam meets the current examination criteria for a Georgia PE.

 

15. I am applying for my initial professional license in Georgia, and taking the 16-hr PE Structural exam. Will I get a PE or an SE license?

You will be awarded both a PE and an SE license upon successful competiton. 

 

16. What will the process for obtaining an SE be after the grandfathering period ends? 

The PELS Boad has indicated you would need to submit an application for licensure as a Structural Engineer. This form is still being developed by the PELS Board and is not currently available.

 

17. I hold both PE and SE licenses from the state of California, but do not have a current Georgia license. What form do I fill out on the PELS Board website to obtain my Georgia SE License?

The PELS Board will be making an application for the SE license available soon. 

 

18. Who is eligible to apply for the Structural Engineering license via affidavit/grandfathering?

Refer to our flowchart. Note that this flowchart only indicates eligiblity to apply for the SE license via affidavit, not to receive the license itself. The PELS Board, not SEAOG, determines the criteria for granting licenses. 

 

19. I passed the 16-hr Western States exam. Which box do I check on the affidavit? 

Check Option 3: "I did not pass the NCEES 8-Hour PE Civil Exam or PE Structural I Exam prior to January 1, 2011 but I have submitted along with this affidavit a brief description and summary of my experience in the practice of structural engineering, including a minimum of three projects I have worked on and my role on each project (see attached Designated Structure Project Description)." In "Other Supporting Information" on the Designated Structure Project Description, note the exam you passed and mention this meets NCEES' Model Law Structural Engineer examination requirements.