What Happens After You Pass the NCEES® PE Exam

The NCEES® PE exam is one of the most challenging exams to clear. Now that you have abided by all the rules and cleared the exam, it’s time for some more rules and regulations to follow. As there was a procedure followed before the exam, there is one for after. If you haven’t cleared the exam and are have lost hope, no need to worry.

In this article, we will discuss all the procedures to be followed after the exam is cleared and tips on them. For those who unfortunately didn’t clear, they don’t need to worry as well, and there are tips for you as well.

Next Step for the NCEES® PE (Professional Engineering) Examination

Following are the steps after you pass or fail the NCEES® PE Exam:

1. For those who failed the PE Exam

The PE Exam Scoring

It is essential to know that the NCEES® scoring is not done the way you have been graded in universities or colleges. The NCEES® takes your test scores as raw scores; standards generated by expert engineers then evaluate these raw scores. The PE exam tests the minimum ability level of someone in a task; it does not look at the score but rather the ability level. This is the reason why the PE exam scoring is highly fluctuating. We can take 70% as the minimum passing score for a rough general percentile. Please note that all the scores will change periodically with the individuals.

The Diagnostic Report

Now that we have gotten the scoring out of the way, the next step is to analyze where you went wrong. The best thing about the NCEES® PE exam is that they give you a detailed diagnostic report. This is crucial in finding out what areas you lack and where you can improve. The information has details like different knowledge areas, the number of items, a scaled score, and a bar graph.

The items that you got right are not represented in the scaled score. The bar graph is the average you did across all the areas. The dashed line is the passing score, while the solid line is your result. With the diagnostic report in hand, it is time to see which items you got wrong and the weakest area. There are no shortcuts to clear the PE exam, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible to remove. Now that you know where to improve, let’s talk about how to improve.

How to Prepare

Hit the books, go back to the preparation mode and improve what you were weak at. Revise and practice; this time, your practice will be even better tapered for the PE exam. You already know the different processes criteria and, most importantly, the pattern. You will also be aware of the exam environment. Focus on practicing more and more as concepts need to be applied in the PE exam. Make sure to use the manuals and materials provided by the NCEES®. I have covered a comprehensive guide on PE exam prep you can check.

A Word of Advice

Do not linger on the failure because it isn’t that. It’s a learning process; make sure you don’t drag yourself down and hinder your performance further.

2. For those who passed the PE Exam

First of all, congratulations. Clearing the exam was the hard part. Now it’s time for the documentation process to be done.

Applying for the License

Yes, passing the PE exam doesn’t make you a licensed engineer directly. You have to apply to the state for the license. This is a vital next step as it will give you your engineering license. The NCEES® results that you have received need to be submitted to the state. The state will then process these records and verify them further.

You will get your engineering license after everything is cleared. The state criteria require you to have cleared the FE exam and PE exam. The applicant should be a graduate of an ABET school. The applicant must have completed four years of work under the supervision of a qualified engineer. The applicant has paid the admission fee or not.

Time to Display your Designation

The first things to understand are that PE and P.E mean the same thing. Modern connotations are the reason for the written difference; however, PE is widely used. R.E and C.E mean registered engineer and consultant engineer, respectively. While both R.E and C.E can be used in some states, their meanings are largely unknown, so it’s better to use PE.

No need to list your disciplines or specialties; just a small indicator for them will be enough on the card. You should mention the state where you got the license from and practice. If you work for a company that puts you in different states, please make sure to get reciprocal licenses for all the to defend states. If you don’t want to do all that work, omit the PE altogether.

The Wall Certificate

In most cases, the state will deliver the wall certificate after you get your license a few months. They do not give it with the license. In some cases, you may have to put in a request to obtain it. Very rarely, in some states, you may have to pay a small fee to get it. Both ways, if you have a cubicle or an office, the wall certificate makes an excellent impression, and in some states, you are required to display it.

One thing to note is that if a company is exempted, its employees do not need to show it. The EIT certificate is another thing you can display, and there is no harm in doing that. After all, clearing these exams is a significant accomplishment.

PE Stamps

The stamps and seals are both ways of locking documents and making known the person’s designation doing so. These seals or stamps are of various types; while implementing the seal or stamp is unnecessary, it is a handy tool. The seals need to follow a format given by the state. The format requires you to mention the word “Professional Engineer” followed by your state name, your name, and finally, your license number.

3. The Caveats

It is important to note that the license and certificates are all state-dependent. Different t states have different rules and regulations. While you may be a working professional engineer after clearing the PE exam, you may not receive the license or the EIT certificate. Reasons could include un-met experience criteria, in some cases because you have just a BS degree.

To stay safe and abide by the law, make sure you do not consult on work that is out of the area of expertise you consult in. Refrain from using your stamp or seal on designs you have not been a part of. These general safety guidelines will help you go a long way.


Whether you cleared the exam or not, you have a lot to do. But don’t worry, all of these things can be done with time. If you cleared the exam, focus on getting your license and certificate. If you haven’t cleared, prepare again and give the exam more practice.

Wasim Asghar – P.E, P.ENG, M.ENG

Licensed Professional Engineer in Texas (PE), Florida (PE) and Ontario (P. Eng) with consulting experience in design, commissioning and plant engineering for clients in Energy, Mining and Infrastructure.

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