Texas Board Expands Global Reach, Permits Early Exam Taking, by Arthur Schwartz, NSPE Deputy Executive Director & General Counsel

The Texas Board of Professional Engineers has signed a mutual recognition agreement with South Korea and also approved rules to allow licensure candidates to take the PE exam early. TBPE’s accord with the Korean Professional Engineers Association and the Korean ministry that manages and evaluates science and technology policy will allow engineers licensed in Texas to work on projects in South Korea and vice versa. On March 10, TBPE Chairman Daniel Wong, P.E., and TBPE Executive Director Lance Kinney, P.E., joined the ministry’s Director General HongTake Young and KPEA’s Executive Vice President ChangWoo Kim to sign the agreement.

The mutual recognition agreement is the first of its kind specific to providing engineering services under the US– Korea Free Trade Agreement, signed in March 2012. TBPE, which regulates more than 60,000 PEs in 27 engineering disciplines, also has agreements with Australia, Canada, and Mexico and a memorandum of understanding with Japan.

Additionally, beginning with the October PE exam administration, EITs in Texas will be allowed to take the exam prior to gaining four years of professional experience. Candidates who pass the PE exam must still meet the experience requirement before they can be licensed in the state. The new model will give candidates three attempts to take the exam within a four-year period.

TBPE approved this new rule to allow more flexibility for licensure candidates, recognizing that individual engineers have varying career and life paths. Texas joins Arizona, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming in allowing candidates to take the exam prior to earning four years of experience