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In the United States, the regulation of licensed professional engineers is handled at the state level. Thus, requirements for licensure can and do vary by state. The basis for most of the state legislation however is the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) Model Law.

There are four main components of obtaining professional engineering licensure:

1) Education
2) Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam
2) Work Experience
3) Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) Exam


In most cases it is required that an engineering program of 4 years or more be successfully completed (i.e. a bachelor’s degree is required). Usually the program needs to be accredited by the EAC/ABET, or the equivalent. Certified proof of graduation is generally required. Education received outside of the US can be evaluated and approved in some cases (NCEES Credentials Evaluations). Note that there is an effort underway to increase the amount of education required to include an additional 30 credits of acceptable upper-level undergraduate or graduate-level coursework from approved course providers or a master’s degree (Bachelor+30).

Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam

This test is an 8-hour written examination in the fundamentals of engineering. Some jurisdictions allow this test to be taken prior to graduation, however one is not an “engineer intern” or “engineer in training” until graduating and passing the exam. The FE exam covers a comprehensive range of subjects in engineering; subject matter that is typically taught in a EAC/ABET-accredited baccalaureate engineering program. The FE exam consists of 180 multiple-choice questions. During the morning session, all examinees take a general exam common to all disciplines. During the afternoon session, examinees can choose to take a general exam or a discipline-specific (chemical, civil, electrical, environmental, industrial, or mechanical) exam.

Work Experience

In most cases it is required that the applicant has 4 years or more of progressive work experience. This usually would need to be on engineering projects of a grade and a character which would indicate to the board that the applicant may be competent to practice engineering. In some states, the work experience must be under the direction of an active professional engineer. Also, the work experience requirement is often dependent on education level (i.e. a person with an appropriate doctorate degree may need less work experience). To confirm and validate the work experience, written references from associates and/or supervisors is often required, although the number of references and type of documentation varies by state.

Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) Exam

The PE test is an 8-hour written examination in the principles and practice of engineering. The Principles and Practice exams test academic knowledge and knowledge gained in engineering. Discipline specific PE exams cover a comprehensive range of subjects in that field of engineering. The engineering disciplines include Agricultural, Architectural, Chemical, Civil, Control Systems, Electrical and Computer, Environmental, Fire Protection, Industrial, Mechanical, Metallurgical and Materials, Mining and Mineral, Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, Nuclear, Petroleum, and Structural.

It is vital to carefully review your state’s specific requirements and carefully follow their directions. Completing the application form accurately and completely while providing the documentation requested is an important part of obtaining a professional engineering license in a timely fashion.

Select this link to see additional information and updates regarding PE REQUIREMENTS on this site:  REQUIREMENTS CATEGORY

And also please visit to get free trade journals and industry information that can help you as a licensed professional engineer!

23 Responses to “Requirements”

  1. david Says:


  2. Paulin Gandjui Says:

    Hello; I have a bachelor in construction management and I am pursuing a Master in civil Engineering. I a m wondering if it could give me the opportunity to sit for a FE or PE exam?

  3. Hasaun Says:

    i have a bachelor degree in civil engineering and i have done my master degree in transportation engineer and planning. i wonder if i could be able to have professional engineering license ?

  4. Jean Pierre Says:

    I plan to take to PE…concentrate on land survey…or structure Eng….
    I have a bachelor in Aviation Maintenance ( Aeronautical eng.)…I’m actually a general contractor in California…
    Can I apply for this PE exam?
    Please email me at
    Also what and where I need to have to prepare for this courses..



  5. Matt Says:

    Does anyone know if the work experience is tabulated from the date of the exam, or is it the date on theboard application?



  6. Insurance Jupiter Says:

    I am at a cross roads in my life, and this is one of the directions I am heading. Thanks for providing this information about the exams.

  7. west palm beach computer repair Says:

    I recently took these exams, and this site provided me great insight prior to that.

  8. Karla Coleman Says:

    I am Chemical engineer graduated in Peru, I just want to know what to do in order to work in this country. Now, the University of Utah evaluated my transcripts and transfer my degree in bachelor Chemical Engineering by the University in Peru. What else have to do?

  9. Most Popular Articles and Pages of 2011 | The Professional Engineer Says:

    […] Requirements […]

  10. oscar bozkurt Says:


    I have a PhD in mechanical engineering. Do you still have to take the FE exam prior to PE Exam?



  11. MRDPE Says:

    The short answer is “check with your state board.” Some states do have exemptions based on obtaining a degree from an approved institution and also having a number of years of professional work experience (i.e. 15 years).

  12. Brandon Lee Says:

    I remember reading that to become a Civil Engineer the board might require a Masters to sit for the test.

  13. M S Chauhan Says:

    I have bachelors degree in electrical engineering from India and have 39 years of experiance. I am also the Associate Member of Institution of Engineers(India) and also have a License from the State of Haryana in India to Supervise the electrical works up to the voltage level of 33kv. Do I have any exemption from PE in NJ.

  14. Nicole Says:

    I am a project estimator for an engineering firm for 3yrs, I have my BS in Civil engineer and I have my EIT will I be able to take the PE exam?

  15. rxh241 Says:

    Could the PE exam be taken outside the United States if I already have passed FE?

  16. Opeyemi Ajakaye Says:

    I have B.S in Building Construction Technology, I’m about to finish my M.S in Construction Mgt with concentration in Sustainability and Green Building. Can i apply for F.E or P.E exam, my present employer require that i am P.E before a desired position be granted me. Please respond to me.

  17. Sumanta Singha Says:

    I B.E mechanical engineer in 2007, I want to open HVAC Consultancy services, so I need a licences for that. How to get that licences & his procedure?

  18. Ed Halloran Says:

    I hold a Professional Manufacturing Engineer’s License in California.
    How do I go about becoming a PE in Washington State? What is an equivalent Manufacturing Engineers Professional License in WA?

    Thank you for your prompt response.

  19. MRDPE Says:

    Check out this Washington State web site on obtaining your PE license by comity:

    Best wishes

  20. Jonathan Says:

    I have a Bachelor of Architectural Engineering, Structural option. I currently have 2.5 years expience in that field, however I’m now in a place that has only a Mechanincal (HVAC) department. Can I finish out my 4 years or do I have to start over again?

  21. Neil Says:


    I am currently 1.5 years out of school (Bachelors Degree in Construction) and have been working for a GC out of Chicago upon graduation. I am working towards my MBA with an emphasis in project management, however would be interested in obtaining my PE in the future. With my construction background, is it possible to obtain a PE liscense without a full-on engineering degree?

    Please email me at


  22. El Jefe Says:

    I am the greatest engineer in the history of the world. Do I still have to take this test?

  23. Sunny Yin Says:

    I graduated with BSEE since 1992. I have been working in semiconductor and Computer Hard Disk Drive but now the new job (Control System) want me to get PE license. What are the requirement for me be able to get PE licence? Do I need to take FE exam first then PE exam and any other requirements? What is the cost for each exam?
    Please email me at

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