PE license or licensure for Professional Engineers is the approval to an engineer to offer his/her services directly to the public. This certification is legally defined and protected by the United States government with the authority to grant PE licenses vested with the individual states. While the application procedure varies from state to state, the general criteria remains the same. A license issued by the state is valid only in that particular state. It is however easier to get a license in other states through reciprocal arrangements once you have a license through your primary state.
To apply for a PE license, you should be a 4-year degree graduate from an ABET accredited school. If the degree was obtained from another country, the program has to be evaluated by an independent evaluation body and certified that it meets the requirements before you can apply for your PE license. Some of the states have waived this requirement of evaluating foreign degrees while some states have a provisions to replace academic qualifications with work experience. It will be up to you to read on the requirements and provisions of your respective state to determine which requirements you will have to deal with. For a start, find out more from the professional engineering body which regulates the examination process.
Prerequisite – Fundamentals of Engineering Exam
In order to apply for PE license, you must have passed the Fundamentals of Engineering examination. The FE examination tests the broad level of understanding of engineering fundamentals of a wide range of subjects. Once an engineer passes the FE examination he/she is referred to as Engineer in training or Engineer Intern.
To qualify for applying for PE license, you should have accumulated a certain number of years of experience in the engineering field. The experience typically has to be under the supervision of another PE and has to be certified by him/her as part of the application process. Most of the states require you to have at least four years of experience from the date you passed the FE examination. Some states have even lower requirement of years. Some states could consider internships and other related experience as part of the 4-year threshold.
If you have not passed the FE examination and are planning to apply based on number of years of experience, the experience has to be certified by a PE.
The application procedure is time consuming and it is recommended to start the process well in advance. Most of the states conduct the exam twice a year and the application should reach the state board well in advance to be eligible to sit for the exam. The board verifies the applicants’ records and if required solicits additional information from the references of the applicant. In addition to verifying the academic records and work experience, the boards also ascertain that the moral and ethical judgment of the applicant is if the highest order.
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