I’m not an engineer but I’m guessing you’re referring to a Professional Engineer and Fire Protection Engineer. My understanding is that once you become a licensed professional engineer you can specialize in a particular field, fire protection, mechanical, electrical, etc. All fire protection engineers are professional engineers but not all professional engineers are fire protection engineers, yes?
State licensure is most places is as a "PE", then are you are expected to operate only within your area of expertise (by law). Only in certain states is your license specifically associated with a given discipline.
You can also hold the title "Fire Protection Engineer" within a company without actually being professionally licensed by a state. They are separate (but related) concepts.
Yes, "PE" stands for Professional Engineer, and refers to someone with a State License which might be in Mechanical, Civil, Structural, Fire Protection, etc.
"FPE" just means Fire Protection Engineer, and while you can get your "PE" license in Fire Protection, and therefore call yourself an FPE, people with bachelors/masters degrees in fire protection may also refer to themselves as FPE's, although one must be careful not to advertise or market yourself as an engineer if you don't have a license, as this goes against the regulations in most states.
In California, Professional Engineer licenses are discipline-specific. Mechanical, civil, and electrical engineering are the only practices that are specifically restricted, though other titles are limited as “title act” or “title authority” restrictions. The practice of fire protection engineering is not itself restricted, but the public use of the title Fire Protection Engineer is restricted. An employer may use any title it wants for internal classification purposes, but using the FPE title on your business card or email signature with a member of the public on copy without having a P.E. license as an FPE is a misdemeanor under California law.
Great question. I recently did some pretty deep digging on this topic recently after being told so many different answers (most of which were way off). NSPE (National society of professional engineers) has two good documents regarding this topic that I would highly recommend. 1) "What is a PE?" https://www.nspe.org/resources/licensure/what-pe and 2) NSPE code of ethics excerpt "Use of the Title "Engineer"" https://www.nspe.org/sites/default/files/Ber97-6-app.pdf . Honestly it's a little confusing at first because people tend to use the terms interchangeably but its pretty clear after reading these two documents.
I may be completely off, but my understanding is that those Professional Engineers who specialize in Fire Protection and are awarded/distinguished as "Fellow" by the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, are those allowed to use the acronym of FPE, as it recognizes them for their significant stature and accomplishments in our industry.
I've seen this designation, but I believe it's FSFPE (Fellow of Society of Fire Protection Engineers). If you check SFPE's recent board of directors and elected officials they use the designation FSFPE.
You're absolutely right.
A PE is a professional Professional engineer. In all states, th as t means they have an ABET accredited degree, 4 years working experience as an engineer under the guidance of another PE, have references from at least 3 PEs, have passed an 8 hour fundamentals of engineering exam, and an 8.5 hour professional engineering exam. They are required to complete 30 hours of qualifying continuing engineering and maintain practice of engineering annually to maintain the licence . In most states, once you are a PE, you may stamp documents in your field of expertise, and what you stand can be built. In most states, the PE is free to stamp any document where they self determine competence- the exam they took is irrelevant. In a few states, the law perscones that they can only stamp documents in their discipline of formal educatin and PE test. Notably Florida, California and most of the west coast states are discipline specific. Regardless of which state they practices in, they can also lose their license be sued for their mistakes. A few disciplines have historically been an exception- structural engineering has historically required a more in depth 2 day test [19 hrs] and is still more strictly regulated at the state level, the structural requirements in Alaska are vastly different than those in Florida.
Fire protection engineering has never been regulated to that level in my professional career that I am aware of. Also some employers add discipline specific criteria to certain positions, for example you will find many federal jobs that advertise for fire protection engineering say a degree in fire protection engineering OR a PE in fire protection engineering are minimum qualifying criteria.
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