Like Passing A Stone

I found out today that I passed my Pro­fes­sion­al Engi­neer exam, which is great news! Odd­ly, I don’t feel any dif­fer­ent. It’s been 11 long years since I start­ed col­lege, just to get to this point. I sup­pose this has all been the pre­am­ble to some much larg­er and longer set of events. At the end of the day, I was still doing about the same stuff I was doing before. Now, I have a seal, though, that says at least I’m not a total idiot. Okay, I still actu­al­ly have to pur­chase the seal, but whatever.

I still have this nag­ging sus­pi­cion that this is all just some mix-up, and that once the Com­mon­wealth of Vir­ginia gets every­thing sort­ed out, they’ll send me my let­ter stat­ing how I real­ly did­n’t pass. Know­ing me (and I do), I’ll have that same feel­ing even after they send me any let­ter stat­ing that I passed. I’ll prob­a­bly feel that way until the statute of lim­i­ta­tions has run out on such let­ters, and even then I may always won­der… (Well, that’s about enough self-doubt for one paragraph.)

Just as a side note, I have some oth­er pro­fes­sion­al goals that go beyond this point. How­ev­er, this is a big deal to me. Vir­ginia isn’t a state that seems to care much one way or the oth­er about pro­fes­sion­al licen­sure among engi­neers. How­ev­er, in Ten­nessee (where I grew up and went to col­lege), they real­ly made it a big deal. The word “engi­neer” is reserved for only those peo­ple who have passed a sim­i­lar exam (well, it would have been the exact same exam in my case). I think that’s pret­ty cool. The fact that I’ve held the title of Struc­tur­al Engi­neer for the past 3–1/2 years kind of takes some of the air out of actu­al­ly pass­ing an 8‑hour exam (which required 4 years of expe­ri­ence to even apply for). I sup­pose now I’ll actu­al­ly say what my job is in more than a pass­ing mum­ble and with­out the aster­isk in my mind that says *not real­ly, not yet anyway.

By Jason Coleman

Structural engineer and technical content manager Bentley Systems by day. Geeky father and husband all the rest of time.


  1. Awe­some, con­grab­u­la­tions, and all that. Glad to see you remem­bered some­thing (every­thing?) from college.

    One day I’ll fin­ish college.

  2. I’m real­ly glad for you. Of course I nev­er had a doubt at all you could do it. That’s very cool. 

  3. Con­grat­u­la­tions! Woooo-hooo! (con­fet­ti throw­ing, wine drink­ing, danc­ing, and all kinds of mer­ri­ment in your hon­or) Yea!!!

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