What PE Experience Is Needed to Obtain the PE License?

The Professional Engineer (PE) license is a significant milestone in your engineering career. It’s the point where you transition from a novice to a professional.

To qualify for the PE exam in the US, you’ll need an ABET-accredited engineering degree and four years of work experience under a licensed professional engineer.

In this blog, we’ll provide valuable insights to discover what PE experience is needed to obtain the PE license. Whether you’re a recent graduate looking for guidance or an experienced engineer aiming to advance your career, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive deep into the details.

Qualifying Engineering Experiences Needed for the PE License

Qualifying engineering experience required for the PE license

Just like you need to meet certain eligibility criteria to take the PE exam by state, you need to checkmark all the engineering experience to obtain your PE license.

Following are the prerequisites that must be fulfilled to earn qualifying engineering experience for the PE license:

  1. Worked Directly Under a Licenced Professional Engineer
  2. The Experience Must Be Broad Enough
  3. Keep a Record of Your Experience

1. Worked Directly Under a Licenced Professional Engineer

The experience you accumulate must be accomplished while working within the absolute supervision of one or more certified engineers. Engineers who are usually certified must hold a professional engineering license.

But as PE experience requirements by state differ from one another, certain states will approve experience under the supervision of a certified unlicensed engineer in industrial scenarios where engineering services are not provided to the general population.

Needless to say, only engineering-related experience is considered. For instance, working for an engineering company as a clerk or any other engineering position does not add to your PE experience.

As a result, the number of months of relevant experience that the state approves of might be fewer than the number of months you served there.

The supervising engineer must be actively involved in the duties that you perform. It means that they would be able to provide accurate information if someone contacts them and inquires about what activities you are carrying out.

It also implies that they will assess your work and provide direct feedback on your tasks. On the flip side, direct involvement does not include only having a mobile conversation once weekly or monthly with a person who resides in another city.

2. The Experience Must Be Broad Enough

The engineering experience you garner must be broad enough to equip you with a comprehensive and well-balanced knowledge of various aspects of professional engineering.

You should obtain not only highly specialized competencies in a particular discipline of engineering but also a sufficient level of proficiency in your fundamental engineering area. Together with that, you must also develop the ancillary abilities required for satisfactory execution as an expert.

3. Keep a Record of Your Experience

You must keep track of your experience as you earn it so that you can use it for your Experience Record when applying for a license to your respective state board. This document describes your engineering experience from the initial day of employment to the date of your submission.

It assists in proving to the licensing board that you have acquired sufficient practical experience to qualify as a licensed professional engineer.

We suggest noting your activities in a record book. For example, an impeccable record file would contain the following details:

  • The beginning and completion dates of the projects you engaged in.
  • Name and address of each employer.
  • The names, locations, and contact numbers of every hiring manager you worked with.
  • Job position.
  • The name, present addresses, and phone numbers of the engineers and other persons with which you worked can serve as a reference to substantiate your experience.
  • Identification of the project.
  • The names, existing addresses, and contact details of the engineers and other people you collaborated with who can act as potential references to vouch for your professional experience.
  • The engineering tasks you carried out on your own.

The details listed above will be valuable to you and enable the procedure to go much more swiftly and effectively when the time arrives to develop your Experience Record and seek referrals.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

1 - Is work experience necessary for engineering?

Yes, an individual must gain four years of practical work experience before becoming a professional engineer. However, applicants will be required to earn 8-12 years of experience to qualify for an engineering license if they didn’t complete their graduation from an accredited engineering institution.

2 - Can I show my experience with a regular degree?

Yes, you can show your experience gained while completing your regular degree. In fact, doing so will boost the value of your resume. However, you must demonstrate your aptitude and practicability to the organization by mentioning the job you did while pursuing your degree that will assist you in serving the recruiting firm.


We hope this guide has clarified what PE experience is needed to obtain the PE license and what should be your roadmap to get your Professional Engineer (PE) license.

Remember, the PE license is not just a testament to your technical skills but also a commitment to upholding the highest standards of professionalism and ethics in engineering practice. 

Read our detailed guide on how to get a PE license to understand the overall hierarchy of steps and all prerequisites in detail. To learn everything you need to know about the PE exam, discover the PE exam preparation course and a wealth of study resources at Study for FE.


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.