One of the most important decisions you can make early in your engineering career is to place yourself on a professional course and plan to become licensed as a professional engineer. The licensing of engineers is important to the public sector because of the significant role engineering plays in society. The profession regulates itself by setting high standards for professional engineers. The high standards help protect the public's safety and welfare.
Engineering licensure is regulated by jurisdictional licensing boards in each state and U.S. territory. The independent licensing boards compose the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).
STEP 1: ENGINEERING DEGREE
Most licensing boards require a bachelor's degree from a four-year program that has been accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET
STEP 2: FUNDAMENTALS OF ENGINEERING EXAMINATION
NCEES produces the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination for use by licensing boards. It covers material that an engineering student will study in college. The examination is administered each year in April and October, but the registration process begins as much as three to four months earlier. In many jurisdictions, eligible college students can take the examination prior to graduation.
STEP 3: ENGINEERING EXPERIENCE
After passing the FE examination, you will be recognized as an engineer intern (E.I.). You complete four years of progressive, acceptable, and verifiable engineering experience. Some boards require that the experience be gained under the supervision of professional engineers.
STEP 4: PROFESSIONAL ENGINEER EXAMINATION
You usually take the Professional Engineer examination after completing four years of acceptable engineering experience as an E.I. Application fees and deadlines vary from state to state, but start early to be safe. In order to qualify to take the examination, you must show college transcripts, engineering references, and progressive engineering experience that is acceptable and verifiable.
PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIAL SERVICES INC.
The Professional Credential Services Inc. focuses on providing examination development, examination administration and licensure and certification services to state, national and international organizations responsible for the regulation and management of occupations and professions.
All applicants for the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination (FE) must submit the required materials by the postmarked deadline of December 1 for the April examination and July 1 for the October examination.
PENNSYLVANIA STATE BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS, LAND SURVEYORS, AND GEOLOGISTS
The State Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists regulates the practice, licensure, and registration of engineers, land surveyors, and geologists in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in order to safeguard life, health, and property and to promote the general welfare. The Board also certifies engineers-in-training and surveyors-in-training. The functions of the Board include investigating and approving or disapproving engineering, surveying, and geology applications for those desiring to be licensed in Pennsylvania.
PENNSYLVANIA SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS - PITTSBURGH CHAPTER
The Pittsburgh Chapter of the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers regularly sponsors two sessions of refresher courses a year, one in the spring and another in the fall, for both professional engineers (mechanical and civil disciplines) and engineers-in-training exams. Courses meet one evening or day per week at the Robert Morris University in Moon Township and are scheduled to coincide with the semiannual examinations administered in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The cost of each course is $350.