Professional Engineer PE Certification

A professional engineer provides project guidance to colleagues and vendors.

A professional engineer provides project guidance to colleagues and vendors.

A professional engineer certification, or PE licensure, marks you as a talented engineer who's tops in her field. You can earn this highly valued credential regardless of your engineering discipline. Display your PE license right next to your civil, electrical, industrial, petroleum or nuclear engineering degree. Once you satisfy the demanding PE requirements, relish your well-earned career prestige and personal satisfaction.

Licensing Requirements

Begin your PE licensure path by completing a four-year engineering degree from an accredited program. If you've already jumped that hurdle, be prepared to document four years of increasingly challenging work experience with a professional engineer. You must also pass the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam and Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam. Finally, you must meet your state engineering board's licensing requirements, which may include an additional exam.

Multistate Licensing

If you plan to establish a multistate professional engineering practice, or perform PE work with a multistate company, you must obtain PE licensure in each state. Fortunately, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, or NCEES, has nicely streamlined this application process. Once you register your primary PE license with NCEES, this nonprofit organization electronically stores your engineering exam results, references and other relevant data. When you apply for an additional PE license, NCEES submits the required information to that state's engineering board on your behalf.

Professional Education

You might think earning a PE license marks the end of your engineering education. To the contrary, many state licensing boards require professional engineers to keep their skills sharp through continuing professional education. The National Society of Professional Engineers also recommends that members enhance their knowledge through web seminars, independent study projects and attendance at local or national engineering conferences

Licensing Benefits

You'll definitely get a good return on your PE licensure investment. First, you'll be a sought-after professional commodity, because only a licensed professional engineer can sign and seal all types of engineering drawings. Financially speaking, your PE licensure will likely lead to higher income opportunities. As a corporate employee, your PE license can open the door to higher-level engineering or management positions. Many government agencies also prefer to hire licensed professional engineers. If you strike out on your own, your PE license enables you to establish an engineering consulting firm or perform expert witness work.

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About the Author

Based in North Carolina, Felicia Greene has written professionally since 1986. Greene edited sailing-related newsletters and designed marketing programs for the New Bern, N.C. "Sun Journal" and New Bern Habitat ReStore. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Baltimore.

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