PE Registration "Round Trip" To Retirement and Back

Recently I had the opportunity to go through something that most engineers don’t experience… reinstatement of an (intentionally) lapsed PE license. I’m posting so others can see what this is like… in case it happens to them:

Last spring I decided that it was time to “retire” my PE license. Applied to the South Carolina Engineering Board and was promptly awarded strictly honorary “PE Emeritus” status (no fees, no PDH requirement).

Last month, changed my mind (home owner’s association where we live needs engineering advice from time to time). Contacted the Engineering Board about active license reinstatement. Was sent forms and told I had 6 weeks to complete them AND I would be treated like anyone else with a lapsed license. This includes the possibility of taking the written PE exam… again (last time was 1974, using a slide rule).

Forms required the following:

  1. Notarized statement that I had not practiced engineering without a license.

  2. Notarized statement regarding U.S. citizenship.

  3. Copy of driver’s license.

  4. Copy of social security card.

  5. Detailed documentation of 30 PDHs obtained over the past 2 1/2 years.
    I had 30 PDHs earned one hour at a time, mostly with free online webinars.

  6. Payment of back fees ($119 in my case).

Got everything together over the next 3 days and mailed it in (a total of 36 pages).

One week after the Engineering Board received my package, was notified PE license had been reinstated.

Takeaway from this experience is that the Engineering Board was just as interested in seeing if I could precisely follow explicit detailed instructions as they were with the content of my application.

My advice if you go through this, take the time to give your Engineering Board exactly what they ask for in the format requested. I have a strong “hunch” this will go a long way toward keeping you from having to retake the PE exam.


Thanks, good to know.

Was this reinstatement process explained or apparent to you during the retirement process?
Setting aside moments of your own disbelief (I’m never going back) at the time, did they make an effort to inform you?

Oh, yes, the path to license reinstatement is outlined in pretty good detail right on the application for emeritus status. No one could say “… but I didn’t know!”.

The part that was surprising was I could go back 2 1/2 years to document PDHs. Had assumed necessary PDHs would have to be earned starting on the date I retired the license. Also, was interested to see if the assorted free one hour webinars that I attended would “count”… they did, each and every one.

I’ve never been called on to account for each of my PDH (in my province they are Continuing Professional Development credits - not necessarily hours). I have once or twice come up short when they changed the rules and I didn’t read the fine-print.