What You Need To Know About Professional Engineer (PE) Certification

Jan 29, 2019 by

Engineering is a field that changes rapidly with new advancements making their way into the mainstream industry often than any other field of science. Look around you, engineering marvels are everywhere. Transportation, construction, development of chemicals and machinery, the growth of up-and-coming technology like hardware and software everything was made possible because engineering aspirants like you took on the challenges of the world.

Here we will be sharing information of Professional Engineer license with you, but we recommend before foraying into the engineering field you understand the outlook required from STEM graduates.

The field of engineering is usually considered by some to be predictable, stable and inevitable to run the world.  In the United States, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is the focus of many industries including the government and this is why opportunities are endless for engineers. If you consider yourself to be the right fit to be in the field of science and engineering then you can make a bright career out of it. According to the Economics & Statistics Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce STEM graduates make 26% more money than non-STEM degree holders.

How to get into engineering

To be a high-earning and skillful engineer in the fields of engineering like mechanical, chemical, construction and agriculture you need to earn the PE certification. Your first steps towards a PE license is to get an education and experience in the respective branch of engineering. There are specializations within the Professional Engineering certification, but generally speaking the path to making a successful career as a practicing engineer involves:

  1. Pursue an entry-level degree course

You will need a bachelors or associate degree in engineering to start with, you cannot attend to PE license with non-STEM degrees.

This is why you need to first pick a good engineering college.

  • You will be required to do an internship or a co-op

Within the United States, 80% of the employers use internship opportunities to hire full-time employees. Regardless, whether you want to earn money during your college or not, getting real-world experience is important. An internship or co-op while you are pursuing your engineering degree or soon afterwards will help you gain experience that will help your engineering profession.

  • Prepare for initial licensure

There are multiple routes to follow from here towards earning the PE certification. You have two choices to make-whether you want the engineering license or the surveying license. The requirements for both are different-For surveying license you will be required to take Fundamentals of Surveying of FS exam, while for Professional Engineering license you will need to pursue Fundamentals of Engineering exam route.

  • Prepare for the FE exam to get engineering licensure

Although you will need your engineering degree when appearing for the PE exam, you can take the FE mechanical exam during your senior year as well. Start preparing for the FE exam while you are still at school. As this exam is designed for recent graduates, you will have an advantage if you take this exam in your senior year, when information is still fresh in your mind. Engineering students who passed FE exam in their first attempt recommend studying at least for 300 hours for the exam. We strongly recommend you start preparing 3 months before the exam date.

  • Take FE exam for earning “FE” designation

The first step towards the PE license is passing the FE examination. However, we want to make you aware of the fact that FE is no easy feat and it is usually considered tougher than the PE exam. You will get 110 multiple choice and you will have six hours divided into two segments to complete the exam. We advise you to visit the NCEES website to know more about the exam. During the exam you are allowed to use the NCEES Reference Handbook, which is a collection of tables, formulae and data. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the handbook.

  • Get an engineering job

Once you graduate your engineering course and pass the FE exam you will be one of the strongest candidates in the market that most companies will want to hire. Although your first job will be an entry-level position still you will be well compensated as engineers are among the highest paid professionals in the US.

To retain your FE license you will be required to continue your education. The continuing education requirement for FE license varies by state. Check what are the requirements for retaining FE license in your state.

  • Work for 4 years then apply for PE (Professional Engineer) certification

The PE exam will be 8 hours long and the test is going to be difficult but it is worth the hard work. But you can expect more trust from clients, more responsibilities, more respect among peers and most importantly a higher salary.

An FE certification and four years of working experience are mandatory to be eligible to apply for PE certification.

Once you successfully secure the PE license, keep attending workshops and work your way up the ladder to have a fulfilling career as a PE engineer.

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