Eligibility Requirements for The PE Exam by State

Now that you want to chart your voyage to professional engineering licensure, you’ll need to have all the requirements and checklists ready. It’s best to be prepared in advance to avoid any last-minute surprises – and delays – in your career plans.

When it comes to the professional engineer exam, you need to meet certain criteria and requirements for eligibility. Typically, it involves demographic requirements such as an age of 21 years and a lack of criminal record as well as passing the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam.

However, there are certain requirements that differ by state. For example, certain states have an Experience Record Requirement and Residency Requirement while certain states don’t – and differences such as these are significant enough to make a difference on your career journey.

In this article, we’ll look at the PE exam requirements by state.  We’ll make sure to go into detail about everything that we discuss today.

Eligibility PE Exam Requirements By States

Eligibility PE Exam Requirements By States

It’s crucial to know your state requirements for the PE exam beforehand. Whether residency and experience are a requirement or not, can alter your eligibility status. Moreover, each state has its own ethics exam as well. What we’re trying to say is that a candidate must be fully aware of the PE exam requirements

While we’ll definitely discuss the major differences in this article, you should definitely check out the linked website to different state boards below for complete detail.

Now that you know the respective state websites you should be taking a look at before preparing for the PE power exam, let’s walk over the entire process to be eligible for the PE Exam step by step.

Step-By-Step Process to Be Eligible for the PE Exam

Step-By-Step Process to Be Eligible for the PE Exam

To meet the mandatory eligibility criteria for appearing in the PE exam, you need to go through the following hierarchy of steps.

  1. Meet the NCEES® PE Exam Degree Requirements
  2. Successfully Pass Your FE Exam
  3. Meet the Minimum Experience Requirement Under a Professional Engineer
  4. Submit an Endorsed Experience Record (ER)
  5. Pass the Background Check
  6. Submit the Application to Your State Board
  7. Pass the State-specific Ethics Exam

Let’s go through each of these crucial steps in further detail.

1. Meet the NCEES® PE Exam Degree Requirements

For the PE exam eligibility, you would need to have an accredited bachelor’s degree in engineering or related science from an EAC (Engineering Accreditation Commission) / ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) partnered institution. However, some states allow you to give the PE exam without any agreement if you meet the experience requirement – however, those can be stricter.

2. Successfully Pass Your FE Exam

There are many reasons why you should pass the FE Exam. The most important reason is that it is required in order to become licensed as a professional engineer. In order to obtain your license, you must first pass the FE Exam. We have enough resources dedicated to the FE exam separately, which you can check out. The FE exam requirement can be waived off in case of additional work experience, more on that later.

3. Meet the Minimum Experience Requirement Under a Professional Engineer

Almost all states require a minimum of 4 years worth of experience in the following engineering capacity:

  1. Engineering Design
  2. Engineering Calculations
  3. Planning for Engineering Works
  4. Preparation & Review of Engineering Plans
  5. Preparation & Review of Engineering Specifications
  6. Engineering Analysis

4. Submit an Endorsed Experience Record (ER)

You’ll have to write and submit your Experience Record (ER) as well as obtain references from a licensed PE in your state. These transcripts will be sealed and sent to the board.

5. Pass the Background Check

This is a step where you can’t really prepare or do much. There will be a background check on your records to ensure that you have not committed any criminal activity.

6. Submit the Application to Your State Board

The exact application requirements may vary by state, but the typical application involves submitting your personal details, work experience, and other relevant paperwork. You may or may not need to take prior approval from your state to sit in the PE exam.

7. Pass the State-specific Ethics Exam

Apart from the 8-hour PE examination, the state may require you to take an ethics exam before it deems your candidature competent enough to be licensed.

NCEES® PE Exam Degree Requirements

Every state in the US restricts the PE exam candidates to fulfill different requirements but the general requirements for the P.E. exam as per NCEES® official website are as under:

  • A Graduate or Undergraduate degree in engineering recognized by ABET
  • A candidate must have passed the FE exam (A prerequisite to the PE Exam)
  • At least 4 years (can be more depending upon the state requirements) of proven work in your engineering domain under the supervision of a licensed PE Engineer

Work Experience Requirements for the NCEES® PE Exam

Work Experience Requirements for the NCEES® PE Exam

You know by now that certain states require work experience for the NCEES® Exam. But what sort of work experience qualifies? The NCEES® PE exam is designed to test your competency. For this reason, only the engineering experience actually counts. Your graduate research, engineering teachings, and relevant military experience are a few examples.

Researching in an accredited school definitely counts if you worked in a lab. If you were teaching at the college level, some states give partial credit. And lastly, in the military, if you performed true engineering work – not a ‘combat engineer’, that experience would count as well.

NCEES® PE Exam Cost

While the PE Exam cost differs state-wise, it generally costs about $375 to take the exam. However, if you want to know the exact fees for your discipline, follow the steps below:

  1. Venture to the NCEES® engineering website.
  2. Select the ‘PE Exam’ and the specific discipline you are interested in.
  3. Scroll below to understand the exact fees and charges.

Remember, the licensing board may require a separate application fee.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1- Do all states have the same professional engineering license?

Not entirely. Some states allow and accept PE license from different states, but not all. Every license is valid only in the state where it is granted usually – this depends on the state itself. Usually, the registrations are conducted on the basis of discipline and state. If that is the case, then the engineering license is different as well.

2- Will I have to take the PE exam again to become licensed in a different state?

If you gave the NCEES® PE exam in one state, you don’t have to retake it to be licensed in a different state. This is the short, easy answer, however, there are a few exceptions. You will have to retake the PE exam again for licensure if your PE exam was non-NCEES® accredited, in a different discipline, or your license was granted with some alternate examination method such as an interview.

Basically, if you gave the 6-hour long NCEES® PE exam, you don’t have to give it again in another state.

3- Can I take the PE exam without FE in California?

California PE exam requirements allow you to take the PE exam without passing the FE exam. Of course, it comes with its own conditions. Firstly, you should have around 12 years of work experience in the field of engineering which would be acceptable to the board. Secondly, of the 12 years, you should have spent 5 years “responsible in charge” of the engineering work. Thirdly, the prospective candidate should have not failed the FE exam in the past two years.

If you meet these criteria, all you have to do is file a waiver application to the State Board, which has its own procedure that you can find here.


If you are serious about your career path to becoming a professional engineer, you should have this entire journey mapped out. Your state requirements should be at your fingertips to prepare in advance and to prevent any last-minute surprises. We definitely hope our article on PE exam requirements by the state has helped clear some doubts for you, enough to help you prepare for your PE exam.


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.