How to Get a PE License?

If you are looking for ways to discover how to get a PE License, you landed at the right place. To continue your trajectory on the right path to becoming a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) in the US requires a commitment to high-end engineering and academic competence, leading to both success and continuous thriving in the career after getting a PE license.

Acquiring the PE license involves a series of strategic steps, with the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam as the initial milestone you must achieve.

Let’s look at the key steps you must go through before going into the technicalities of how to get a PE license.

  1. Obtaining a 4 years engineering degree from an ABET-accredited program or institute.
  2. Pass the FE exam.
  3. Work as an engineer for 4 years.
  4. Pass the PE exam.

Let’s unwrap these steps in the following section to understand how to get a PE license.

4 Steps to Get a PE License

Steps to Get a PE License

Some secondary PE license requirements by the state may differ in accordance with your state regulatory guidelines and principles, but the general requirements for licensure are absolute. Below is a simple roadmap, listed on Engineering Licensure NCEES®, which explains how can get their PE license.

  1. Obtaining a 4 Years Engineering Degree From ABET-Accredited Program or Institute
  2. Pass the FE Exam
  3. At least 4 Years of Work Experience Under the Supervision of PE Licensed Engineer
  4. Pass the PE Exam

Let’s discuss each step in detail.

1. Obtaining a 4 Years Engineering Degree From ABET-Accredited Program or Institute

Your ABET-accredited engineering degree is one of the most significant milestones and certainly the perfect investment you will ever commit to making your way toward a PE license in the US.

The depth of knowledge and expertise you get with your ABET-accredited engineering degree gives you some exceptional exposure and skillset to become eligible for a PE license.

ABET-recognized degrees is intended to give more licensing engineers by allowing students to cover engineering course that fulfills some exceptional standards. These standards are vital to equip students with high-end theoretical and practical knowledge of the engineering discipline required globally.

If you don’t have an ABET-accredited engineering degree and just wondering how to get a PE license, start your journey with an ABET-accredited degree program or institute.

Before getting enrolled in any 4 years degree, you need to check whether your degree or institute is recognized by ABET or not at ABET Accredited Programs website.

 Some of the state licensing boards in the US allow you to get a PE license without a degree. Read our detailed step-by-step guide about how to get a PE license without a degree for more details.

2. Pass the FE Exam

The next most crucial step is to pass the FE exam and get an FE license to become eligible for the PE exam. FE exam is a more detailed and complex computer-based licensure exam that covers more broad and general academic areas than PE.

You need to plan your study map to efficiently complete your FE Electrical exam preparation. Then choose from four examination windows opened each year at the start of the quarter.

  • Jan – Feb
  • April – May
  • July – August
  • Oct – Nov

If you failed to crack the FE exam by making 3 attempts per year, you are not eligible to appear in the fourth window and need to wait for the next year round. To maximize the chances of your success on the first attempt it is recommended to:

  • Go through the entire syllabus before starting your preparation
  • Stay relevant to the FE course outline throughout the preparation journey
  • Check the FE exam passing ratio of last year specifically for your Engineering domain

These practices will put you on the right preparation track to ace the FE exam and complete one more milestone toward your final journey to PE licensure.

3. At least 4 Years of Work Experience Under the Supervision of a PE Licensed Engineer

Once you get your ABET-accredited engineering degree and pass your FE exam, the next step is to complete at least four years of working experience under the supervision of a PE-licensed engineer. This 4 years of work experience will give you an insightful experience in your engineering field.

You will get to know about the standard industry procedures, industry-accepted KPIs, QA strategies and compliances, etc. PE license requirements demand a market-ready, qualified, and experienced professional and this step is a significant building block in this regard.

4. Pass the PE Exam

Here comes the final puzzle piece to get your PE license. Now you are eligible to attempt your PE exam and crack it to get your PE license. The PE exam is meant to assess your skills and evaluate if you are equipped enough to become a professional licensed engineer in the US.

With an effective and smart PE exam preparation strategy, you can easily pass your PE exam and complete all the requirements of licensure. The PE exam course outline covers core theoretical and practical areas that you covered during your entire academic period and work experience.

The PE online course is much more focused and concise than the FE exam preparation course which covers a broad academic area. But you still need to cover all the topics in detail to maximize your chances of success on the first attempt. To learn more about what to expect on the PE exam day, we suggest reading our detailed blog.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive resource for your Electrical Power PE exam preparation, explore our PE Exam Preparation Program for PE Power.

Our proven, on-demand content and live training have successfully helped thousands of students pass their PE exam.

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State-Specific Requirements for Your PE License  

While this guide has outlined the general roadmap to becoming a PE, it’s crucial to remember that the engineering licensing landscape in the USA operates on a state-by-state basis. Each state has its own engineering licensing board that establishes and enforces specific requirements for PE licensure, which may go beyond the national standard steps we’ve discussed.

To ensure a smooth and efficient licensing process, you must familiarize yourself with the specific regulations of your state’s board. Here’s how to navigate the state-specific details:

Identify Your State’s Engineering Licensing Board:  A quick web search should lead you to the official website of your state’s engineering licensing board. Most state boards have user-friendly websites designed for engineers seeking licensure information.

Explore the Licensing Requirements Section:  Once on your state’s board website, locate the designated PE licensure or applications section. This section will typically detail any additional requirements beyond the national standards, such as:

Reference Requirements: Some states may require you to submit professional references who can vouch for your experience and ethics.

Jurisprudence Exams: A few states mandate passing a jurisprudence exam to demonstrate your understanding of engineering laws and ethics.

Experience Verification Forms: Your state board may require specific forms for your supervisor to verify your engineering work experience.

Fees and Application Procedures: Application fees and submission procedures can also vary by state. Carefully review this information to ensure you submit the correct documents and fees with your application package.

Contact the Board for Clarification:  If you have any questions or uncertainties regarding the specific requirements in your state, don’t hesitate to contact your state’s engineering licensing board directly. They are there to assist you throughout the PE licensure process.

By taking the time to understand and comply with your state’s specific PE licensing requirements, you can avoid delays and ensure a successful application process.

If you’re looking for an all-inclusive resource for your PE Power exam preparation, explore our PE Power Examination Prep Resource.

Our proven, on-demand content and live training have successfully helped thousands of students pass their PE exam.

Preparation for the FE Exams

The FE and PE exams are significant gateways on your path to PE licensure. Let’s break down these exams and equip you with resources to conquer them:

Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam: This computer-based exam assesses your grasp of fundamental engineering concepts across various disciplines, regardless of your chosen specialty. Passing demonstrates a solid foundation in mathematics, ethics, engineering economics, and other core principles. 

The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) administers the FE exam and offers a comprehensive website with resources to prepare you effectively. ([National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying FE exam ON ncees.org])

Exam Format and Content: The NCEES website details the FE exam format, typically consisting of multiple-choice questions. Content areas covered can include probability and statistics, engineering mechanics, thermodynamics, and material science.

Preparation Resources: NCEES provides a wealth of resources to help you excel on the FE exam. You can find practice exams to gauge your readiness, a recommended reference handbook outlining essential formulas and concepts, and links to exam preparation materials from reputable publishers.

Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) Exam: This comprehensive exam delves deeper into your chosen engineering discipline (e.g., Civil, Mechanical, Electrical).  It assesses your ability to apply your engineering knowledge to solve real-world problems encountered in your field. Unlike the FE exam, the PE exam format and content areas vary depending on your discipline.

Exam Specificity: Each engineering discipline has its own unique PE exam. The NCEES website provides exam specifications outlining the format, content areas covered (e.g., structural analysis for civil engineers, fluid mechanics for mechanical engineers), and the recommended experience level for each exam.

State Board Resources: Besides NCEES resources, your state’s engineering licensing board website may offer discipline-specific information and links to additional study materials relevant to your chosen field.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1 - How much does it cost to get a PE license?

Acquiring a Professional Engineering (PE) license is a significant career milestone. The PE Exam fee is around 300 to 400 USD. But this is not the standalone cost as you must consider the PE exam preparation course. So, your total cost of getting a PE license is around 1300-1500 USD.

2 - What are the different engineering disciplines that I can get licensed in?

There are different engineering disciplines recognized by NCEEs for which you can obtain a Professional Engineering (PE) license. These include:

  1. Civil Engineering
  2. Mechanical Engineering
  3. Electrical Engineering
  4. Chemical Engineering
  5. Industrial Engineering
  6. Environmental Engineering
  7. Structural Engineering
  8. Petroleum Engineering
  9. Metallurgical and Materials Engineering
  10. Control Systems Engineering

Exploring the best engineering careers and the skills required in major engineering domains is recommended before choosing the right career.

3 - What are some good career paths for licensed engineers?

Licensed engineers enjoy diverse career paths across various engineering domains. Below are some prominent engineering careers you must consider in 2023 and beyond.

  1. Aerospace Engineering
  2. Biomedical Engineering
  3. Electrical Engineering
  4. Civil Engineering
  5. Nuclear Engineering

Conclusion

Getting a PE license is the top benchmark that you need to match before starting to serve as a professional engineer in the US. All the perks and privileges linked with getting a PE license make it a dream for students who are going to start their academic journey in any engineering discipline.

This blog post covered the entire roadmap that answers the most heated question of ‘how to get a PE license. Completing an ABET-accredited engineering degree followed by passing the FE exam, completing 4 years of work experience, and passing the PE exam is your roadmap to becoming a professional engineer in the US.

Still confused about anything? Connect with StudyForFE to get answers to all your questions and prepare for your FE or PE exam under the supervision of PE-licensed professionals.

wasim-smal

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.