How to get a Professional Engineer (PE) license in the US?




Earning and maintaining a Professional Engineer (PE) license has multiple advantages for your career. Even if it is not mandatory for your target job, it is prestigious to have, allows you to earn a higher salary, and is essential for your career development as an engineer. Below, we will discuss the process of obtaining your PE license and the exam you will need to take. 

What is the process of becoming a Professional Engineer (PE)?

A candidate for a PE license needs to complete a four-year ABET-accredited engineering program and take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Examination first. After graduation, you need four years of qualifying engineering experience in most US states before taking the PE test. 

What kind of experience counts as qualifying? Firstly, you need experience in the same branch of engineering in which you claim your proficiency. Secondly, you will need one or more qualified engineers to supervise your work. Finally, this should be a high-quality experience that enables you to apply engineering principles and use sound judgments. 

Once these criteria are met, you can start preparing for the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam to get a license as a Professional Engineer.

What is the FE (EIT) exam?

The FE exam is a comprehensive exam for engineers that covers topics from a typical undergraduate curriculum. There are different exam types (civil, mechanical, industrial, and other engineering disciplines) for various specializations. 

The exam is computer-based and you can take it year-round at Pearson VUE centers. Taking the exam will cost you $225.

To prepare for this engineering exam, review the exam specification, read the reference materials and related literature. Start preparing in advance. You might want to review materials from your university to freshen up your knowledge. Plus, there are FE exam prep services available online, so you might want to explore them, too. 

A successful FE exam completion and obtaining a license gives you a competitive edge over other candidates. In particular, you will be able to sign and submit engineering drawings to public authorities for approval. Moreover, higher-level responsible positions in government and municipal agencies are taken by licensed engineers. Therefore, obtaining a license will open countless opportunities for your further professional growth. 

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