My long road to becoming a licensed Professional Engineer

Becoming a Professional Engineer in the States is quite difficult for foreigners, particularly in Florida. Thanks to the state of Texas, I was able to become a PE in Florida and this is my story of how I did it.

I studied Civil Engineering at the University of Brighton having been born and bred in Brighton. As is standard in the UK I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in three years.

While I was at university I met and fell in love with an American who lived in Florida (her name is Martina by the way). Since I was a little more easy-going than her I made the trek to the US rather than the other way around so I now found myself, recently graduated, living in the States.

Work permit and green card issues aside I finally got a job working as a Civil Engineer with Black & Veatch. It wasn’t long before I started investigating what needed to be done to become a professional engineer in Florida. After all, in order to get anywhere in your career it’s somewhat expected/required (as is becoming Chartered in the UK).

As I have a foreign degree the Florida Board of Professional Engineers makes you get your education evaluated, which as I recall, cost about $250. It required getting my university and even my A-level exam boards to send transcripts of all my results directly to the evaluator (they cannot come through you). Several weeks later, I got a letter from them describing all the courses I had taken and how they compare to an ABET degree, which requires 32 credit hours in higher mathematics and basic sciences, 48 credit hours in engineering science and engineering design, and 16 hours in humanities and social sciences.

As is typical in the UK, when you go to university, you strictly study the course you enroll for. So as a civil engineer, I studied engineering. Not philosophy. Not English. Not history. And certainly not religious studies.

So my evaluation essentially noted that I had more than enough hours is mathematics and engineering but that I was slightly deficient in basic science (this is the stuff we learnt in secondary school, which doesn’t count in your accreditation) and deficient in humanities and social sciences. Apparently history is a really important aspect of becoming an engineer!

After doing some research I found out that you can take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam (otherwise known as the FE exam, or EIT – a prerequisite to taking your PE exam) if your only educational deficiency is in the social sciences and humanities area.

So I bit the bullet and took the three classes in basic sciences that I needed to at least make myself eligible to take the FE and thankfully I passed first time around.

I had looked at other states, particularly Texas – and you’ll see why in a minute – to see whether they also required you to have all of these education requirements in place, but most states did. Texas did have some workarounds, but for some reason, you need to be a resident of Texas to take the FE in that state, so I just gave in and took the stupid classes.

With my EIT designation I was now hell-bent on getting my PE out of the way. With the appropriate work experience under my belt I started looking at all different states and how I could skirt the rules to take my exam in their state. Florida will not let you take the PE exam unless you fully meet their educational requirements including the humanities and social sciences which I really wanted to avoid having to do.

Then I stumbled upon Texas. For a state that most of us might see as relatively archaic they’re actually quite forward-thinking thinking when it comes to their board of Professional Engineers. The Texas rules have educational requirements just like every other state but the difference in Texas is that, if you don’t have a US degree, they abide by the Washington Accord which recognises degrees from accredited engineering programs in each signatory’s respective country – one of which is the UK (the others are Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Africa, Japan, Sri Lanka, Taipei, India, Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Turkey and Singapore, with more being added as standards improve). That means that any engineering course accredited by the Engineering Council in the UK is as good as a US degree in the eyes of the Texas Board of Professional Engineers. Result!! Since my course was accredited (you can check your UK degree here) I was then eligible to sit for the PE in Texas having met all of the other application criteria (this was the only real hurdle – everything else is relatively standard including 4 years of work experience).

With that I immediately applied to the Board and did a little dance when the email came in telling me that my application had been approved. I set about booking flights, a hotel and a car and preparing for the exam.

While I probably didn’t study as much as I should have and I wasn’t as confident as I would have liked, after a 6 week wait I finally got the good news that I had passed. As of that moment, I was a Professional Engineer registered in the state of Texas. For me that’s kind of the end of the story: my main motive for getting the PE was advancement in my career – I couldn’t get promoted any more without getting my PE and my company didn’t care that my PE was from a different state than the state that I work in so I have no particular need to go any further at least for now.

For others they may still need to get registered in their own state so that they can actually sign and seal documents and I can tell you that as far as Florida goes they don’t care how much work experience you have, if you’re a PE in another state, or if you designed the Aswan dam: you cannot apply for a PE in Florida unless you meet their educational requirements. This is something of a joke: I had a colleague who was a Chartered Engineer in the UK for 20 years and was a respected heavy-civil engineer, but none of that mattered: he had to go to back to school to pass stupid classes like trigonometry, take the FE and then take the PE. The system really is broken and while mine could have been made worse by having to take the humanities and social sciences in order to get licensed in Florida, it still was quite an effort to get licensed at all.

I remain eternally thankful to the Lone Star state.

dave-clements-professional-engineer-seal

Update: July 18th, 2013

This article caught the eye of one of the editors at Professional Engineer magazine and he asked if he could publish it in an upcoming edition. So I was only too happy to oblige.

See the published article

Since then, I’ve had a number of emails come in from various people, but I was most intrigued to receive one directly from the executive director of the Florida Board of Professional Engineers, Zana Raybon.

She indicated that despite everything I had been told by FBPE up to this point there is in fact a way to get licensed in Florida in my situation. According to her (and I haven’t looked into this too much yet) once you have had your license in another state for two years you can apply for endorsement which is similar to reciprocity but does not include the need to have the humanities hours.

So it seems as though I will be able to apply for a Florida PE by endorsement next December. Not sure if I’ll still be in the state by then or if I even want to bother pursuing this option at this point given how much I feel messed around by FBPE but we’ll see what happens I suppose.

Update 2: June 15th, 2015

Per the update above I was eligible to apply for licensure by endorsement in Florida after holding a PE in another state for at least 2 years. With my company’s support I filed the application in February this year and about 3 months later the Board approved my application for licensure in Florida so I am now officially a Florida PE (and a Texas PE).

fl-pe-certificate

I will likely give up the Texas PE as it was a means to an end and doesn’t offer up any professional benefits since I don’t perform work in the state of Texas.

I graduated 9 years ago, started working as an engineer more than 8 years ago and I’m finally licensed in my state as a Professional Engineer. It’s been a long road but I have finally arrived.

By Dave

Dave is the proud father of Ellie and Jack. There's nothing that makes him happier than spending time with his incredible wife and their amazing children. He's a civil/mechanical engineer and he also builds and maintains WordPress websites.

344 replies on “My long road to becoming a licensed Professional Engineer”

Dave,
I thought I would give you and all your readers an update on getting my Irish Mechanical Engineering degree evaluated. I initially sent all my paperwork to the NCEES to get my 4 years Mechanical Engineering degree evaluated.

My initial report found I was deficient in General Education and Math/ Basic Sciences. While I did meet the 32 hours in the Math/ Basic Sciences I didn’t have two of the three subjects listed below;
1) General Chemistry
2) General Biological
3) General Calculus Based Physics.

I decided to submit an additional teaching qualification I did to help me meet the General Education, the NCEES accepted it meet the requirements for General Education. Thus leaving me short on two or the three subjects listed above.

I was advised that some boards may accept my evaluation as meeting the ABET credited degree from America collage. After contacting the New York education board they informed me they don’t accept the NCEES evaluation. I had to resubmit my qualifications again for evaluation.

The New York state board said my Mechanical Engineering degree was good enough to take the FE exam now but would only account for 6 years instead of 8 years. They also wouldn’t count my teaching qualification in their evaluation of my qualifications.

So my next step is to either do two of the three subjects listed above or take the FE exam first. After passing the FE exam I would have to work for 6 further years before being able to take the PE exam In New York.

My thinking is to take the two subjects and then the FE exam so I could possible take the PE exam early in another state such as California after two years experience. Does anyone know of any state that would let you take the PE exam early without any experience if the NCEES accepted my degree as meeting the ABET standard and passed the FE exam.

Thanks,
Martin

hello Dave.

My name is David Espinal i’m a civil engineer (not ABET degree) from the Dominican republic i have 8 years of experience in my country. i send my credentials to the NCEES for approval all went well i passed the minimum requirements standar, now i’m going to take the FE exam in Maryland or Michigan state but a want to live in Florida.

my questions;

1) it doesn’t matter if i take the FE exam in other state
2) what state convalidate forging experience for the PE.

what do you recommend.

Hello Dave,

It’s been a year since I first visited your blog, now my green card application was accepted and I’m moving to US soon.

I’m planning to move to California, I have an Engineer degree from Algeria since September 2015 and been working as a procurement engineer.

I would like to pass the FE exam, Do you know if california board accept evaluation from NCEES and how much will it cost me.

Thanks.

Hi Tako,

Actually, in California, it’s much simpler than I had thought. In California, there is no education requirement: there is only an experience requirement, which your education can contribute towards, per Section 6751 of the Professional Engineers Act. According to Section 6753(b) of the Act, you can achieve up to two years for completing a degree from a non-approved curriculum (which yours is). Thus, you would then need four years of experience to add up to the requirement of six years of experience before being eligible to apply for your PE.

Tako, as far as engineering goes, there’s nothing to stop you from working. You can work in an engineering role without a PE or even an FE. You just won’t be able to sign and seal your own documents until you are a registered PE. Until then, you work “under the responsible charge” of a licensed PE meaning that the work you do is the responsibility of the PE that signs and seals whatever documents you contribute to. So that only leaves the issue of immigration and being legally allowed to work which is a very separate issue.

Dave,

Your story has proven inspirational to me!. Having read it, I am now determined to pursue my career and life in US.

Bit of background – I am British by nationality but did my Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering (BE Mech) (after passing Diploma in Mechancal Engineering) from India. Having looked at Washington Accord list, my BE Mech is not in that list. I am currently working as Infrastructure Engineer in a local authority in London for last 10 years.

I will be immigrating to US in next 5 years or so but I want to move to US (preferably to avoid cold weather here in London!!! and partly to be with family in US…) as quick as possible through H1B visa.

Please provide your expert suggestion on these:

1.The best way for me is to get my foreign degree evaluated for FE Civil Exam by NCEES as most states now accept NCEES evaluation – please correct if I am wrong. If there are any deficiencies suggested, can I take those courses here in UK or has it got to be taken in USA?

2. Also, should I get my evaluation through AACRAO on the assumption that they may approve my degree with no deficiencies!?

3. Being a British Citizen and no permanent residence in US (I have family of my wife in CT state to support any documents if required) can I apply for FE exam in CT or Georgia State? (Both support NCEES and AACRAO). I am happy to physically sit for the exam in US if I am happy to sit for the exam. Do I have to be a resident in US for FE Exam?

Your view will be much appreciated.

Thanks

Tushar Patel

1. Yes, most states now recognise the NCEES evaluation, so that’s probably a good place to get your credentials evaluated if you don’t know where you’re going to move to. You may also consider waiting until you have moved and know which Board you’ll be applying to and can be suer of the process. If you had to take those extra courses in the UK, I think you’d need to have those courses evaluated again to be sure that they’re equivalent to what courses you’re told you need to take. I’d also try and do those in the States if you can.

2. You might consider it, but this is less widely accepted, so unless you knew you were moving to a state that accepts it, it’d be a waste of money.

3. Each state is different. For each state you’re interested, find the website of the state’s Board of Professional Engineers and look for a link to rules, laws or statutes. In those, it will detail very specifically the exact criteria for applying, including whether you need to be a resident. That is not a common requirement and you can probably apply from the UK.

All the best!

Thanks Dave. Your suggestions have cleared some of my confusion, thanks again.

I will go for NCEES evaluation. On that note, would you recommend me to wait till I immigrate to USA and then apply for FE exam. Or should I start apply and pass FE now in the state that allows me as a foreign national and then hunt for a job under a PE professional?

Also how long is the result of FE exam valid in terms of applying for PE exam later?

Thanks.

I’d definitely wait until you immigrate before applying for the FE. Most employers will not consider your lack of FE as a barrier to getting employed (I didn’t have mine when I was hired). The results are good either indefinitely, or for many years (I noticed recently that Texas will accept your FE credentials for 8 years).

Dave,

First of all, thank you very much for the information you gave.

I have double degree from Turkey (Civil and Environmental Engineering) and both are accredited by the Washington Accord. I will soon move to the U. S. (Hopefully to Texas) to pursue my Master’s degree in Civil Engineering.

My question is, although it seems like Texas accepts the Washington Accord for PE, there is no other possibility than having ABET accreditation for the FE, am I right?

If the Washington Accord does not work for the FE exam, then do you think a Master’s degree from an American university would do that?

Thanks in advance.

Ahmet

Hi again Dave,

Thank you for your response, but I think there is a complication here.
You are right, that section 1001.309, which is for EIT, relates to 1001.302 with (b) (1) below, which accepts the Washington Accord in section 133.31:

(b) The board shall consider as minimum evidence that an applicant is qualified for certification or enrollment as an engineer-in-training if
the applicant:
(1) complies with the education and character requirements of Section 1001.302; “AND”
(2) has passed the board’s examination in the fundamentals of engineering.

However, it says “and” (b) (2) (not “or”), which is the necessity of the FE exam, and there is nothing related to this regarding the Washington Accord, unfortunately.

I would love to find out that the Washington Accord is enough to take the FE exam directly, but this laws and rules does not seem to explain it much.

What do you say about it?

Thank you again.

Best,

Ahmet

Ahmet,

The way it reads is that in order to become certified as an EIT/FE in Texas, you need to pass the education and character requirements of 1001.302 and pass the FE exam. That is to say, if you meet the education and character requirements of 1001.302 (which you do, because you say you have a degree that falls under the Washington Accord), then you are eligible to sit for the FE exam. Once you sit for and pass the FE exam, you will be eligible to be certified as an EIT by the Texas Board. From what I’m hearing, you have everything you need to sit for the FE and once you take and pass that, you will be eligible to be an EIT in Texas.

Dave, All,

Hope all is well. NCEES sent me an outcome of the credential evaluation today morning. I am deficient by 22 hours in 2 of 3 (Biology, Chemistry, Physics). Does anyone had similar outcome – do you know what will be the best way to overcome these deficiency? I have taken Physics, Chemistry in my school (pre bachelor’s degree) can I use these to satisfy the deficiencies? Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Kuldip

I fell foul of the same problem, because in the UK we learn all of that for our GCSEs, which we take at age 16 before specialising in our chosen subjects. Because my GCSEs were not (and could not be) part of my evaluation, I had to take a couple of classes (though I was only 6 hours short, not 22). If you can get them to include your school classes in your evaluation then that may help. Otherwise, you may look at a “CLEP” exam.

Hi Dave,
Did you provide reference while applying for PE test? I am planning to take PE exam, and I am from Nepal. I have worked as a engineer in Nepal for 6 years but we don’t have PE engineer in Nepal. How did you go about providing PE reference?

I did, but then, I worked here in the States for 6 years before getting my PE, so I had plenty of references to choose from. In your case, I’d suggest a call to the engineering Board to see what they can do.

Sikha, I have all my experience in the UK and Colorado state board have agreed to accept that – my ex-manager has not yet send the experience verification form though! As Dave suggested, speak to the state board and I am sure there will be happy to accept foreign experience.

HI, Dave. I am thrilled to discover this blog.

Its an encouragement for foreign engineers who wish to work in the States.

I would like to ask you opinion about my situation. Here is my background.

I am an Asian. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Hong Kong and was a UK chartered engineer. I got 1.5 years geotechnical design experience (tunnel project) and 6 years sewerage and drainage construction experience in Hong Kong. I worked in Aecom and am working as an assistant resident engineer in Atkins currently. I would get a green card and immigrate to Texas in around 2017 or 2018.

To be honest, I really miss working in design office. I don’t think I can do better than local as a site staff in the states.

In case of jobless in the States, do you think which would help me to pursue my career in design office? Getting a master or being a volunteer in civil engineering consultancy firm in the states?

Thank you for the advice.

Personally, I wouldn’t bother with a Master’s degree and there wouldn’t be any opportunity to “volunteer”, though internships (paid or unpaid) may be possible. I’d try to leverage your relationships with AECOM and Atkins to see about getting a position in a design office in the States.

Hi Dave,

I’m from Texas. If someone has the required experience to write the PE in Texas. Can he/she write the FE and PE consequently or do they need to write FE get additional experience and then write PE.

Thanks

You need to have the FE to sit for the PE. If you already have the experience required for the PE, there’s no need to gain any more experience between passing your FE and sitting for the PE.

Hi Dave,

I came across this blog a year ago. I have problem similar to everyone here. I have a Bachelor in Physics from a US college, then a Master in Mechanical Engineering from a US university too.

Obviously I won’t be ABET accredited, so I saw from the blog you can get credential evaluated from NCEES. The result was a deficiency of 12 credits of Engineering Science/Design classes. NCEES did not count any physics class from my Bachelor because the NCEES standard say engineering science/design class must be under a “Engineering” dept and not Physics Dept. This is so illogical, science is still science no matter what dept it is under, it doesn’t change.

Well, I found out this morning that even if NCEES would approve of my education, the New York State Board would not accept it. Yup, I asked, the guy in the office said they don’t accept NCEES’s credential evaluation.
I am going to take my FE after sending in my experiences, I have enough, then after that I’ll have to wait 6 years to take the PE in NY….

1. If both your Bachelor’s degree and your Master’s degree are from US institutions, why would you think that they won’t be ABET-accredited? They most likely are…
2. NCEES can evaluate your credentials, but you need to first check what kind of evaluation the state you’re intending to apply to accepts. Not all of them accept NCEES.
3. Not sure why you think you’ll need to wait another six years to apply for a PE in NY. What is their experience requirement? Do you not already have some work experience under your belt?

Hi Dave,

I just came accross your website and I have a ton of question as I look forward to the PE.
I have a Bachelor from a foreign country (Cameroon) and I have 4 years of experience in cameroon (lead Technical Support in IT field and as System Admin). I moved to Texas two years ago and I currently work as Field Engineer in In-line Pipeline Inspection field (I started as Field Technician).
I had my degree evaluated by an organism (https://www.spantran.com/) here a year or two ago. After the evaluation the issued document have the mention “RECOMMENDED U.S. EDUCATIONAL EQUIVALENCY: Bachelor of Science in Industrial
Technology from a regionally-accredited institution of higher education in the United States.)”
What do you think is the best way/path for the PE?
Are my previous experience are enough for the PE? How can I document them?
I also notice that I need 3 PE references and my company doesn’t have any PE, is there any way around that?

Thanks

Jurgen,

I’d start by calling the Board of the state where you want to get licensed. A few issues I see with what you have here:

  • I’ve never heard of Spantran and I suspect that your evaluation will not be acceptable to the Board that you’re applying to.
  • You probably will need references and they’ll need to come from PEs. Most states that I know of have this requirement. You said you work in Texas – how can you not be working around PEs?
  • Your experiences (including your time in Cameroon) may be acceptable to the Board, but a call would definitely clear that up.

All the best.

Dave,
Thanks for the insight into your ordeal to get the FL PE. I got my Bachelor’s degree from India and a master’s from US. I have been a PE in Arizona and Virginia since 2011. I created NCEES record to get licensed in other states. Maryland approved right away, so did Delaware. Florida is a different animal altogether. They denied my application for Licensure by Endorsement on the basis that I lack 3 hours of general education. So, how does their, “Once you have had your license in another state for two years you can apply for endorsement” work? Is it that you pay $400 and then we’ll deny it?…..they provided me with an option to go for hearing or provide supplement to application form. At this point, I am confused and just not sure what to do. Any suggestions?

That’s bizarre. In my case, I was still short of the general education requirements but was told that I would be eligible for license by endorsement (which clearly succeeded). I’d get on the phone and try and speaking to a Licensing Analyst who can tell you exactly what you’d be eligible for. Each case is so unique and has different factors, so it’s best to speak to someone to understand the process, follow up immediately with an email so that your understanding is recorded and confirmed by the Board and then you have something pretty solid to go by.

Hi Dave,

first of all let me thank you for your availability of elucidation and kindness. It’s kind of funny hearing about your story because i am thinking to move to the US because i felt in love with someone from there (NY by the way).
I am just finnishing my master in Mechanical Engineering (in Portugal) and i am already planning my move.
Could you give me some guidance on what I should do in order to be able to practice my field in the US!?

Cheers!!!

P.S – (I’m already taking care of my english level and visas).

Hi Duarte and congratulations to you.

Sadly, Portugal is not a signatory to the Washington Accord. As such, you’ll need to get your degree evaluated. Assuming that you’re looking to get licensed in NY, the process actually seems to be a bit easier. You submit the application form for the FE exam to the Board and they themselves evaluate your education. They may require you to take extra courses to make it equivalent to that of an ABET degree, but at least you don’t have to go through a third-party evaluation service.

Hi again Dave,

Let me ask you one last question. Is there any possibility of getting some job in the field before taking the exam?
You’re not paid to answer questions, but still …BIG thanks to you.
Best regards.

Just to confirm what Dave said, I am working in traffic and I have not passed FE/PE exams. I am hoping to get these out of the way by the end of 2017!

Readers here may find an avenue through the Maryland Board of Professional Engineers. In my experience, they look at your individual course history if you do not possess an ABET Bachelors. If you’re pursuing a Masters in engineering in the US, this could help you sit for the F.E. and then the P.E. in Maryland (MD). MD requires a lot of detailed work history (showing calculations!) and supervisors’ signatures, as well as a separate list of P.E signatures (US) that will vouch for you in order to sit for the P.E. I am a licensed P.E. in MD because similar to Dave’s test experience above, I traveled to MD, stayed in a hotel, rented a car, and went to sit for the P.E while being a resident of Nebraska. Until I fulfill all of NCEES’s requirements (more engineering classes & a calculus-based physics course; my B.S is in biology so I apparently took algebra-based physics) – I must wait ten (10) years for Nebraska P.E. reciprocity. With all the extra classes, I will likely pursue a PhD. I am interested in knowing other states reciprocity timelines (Dave mentioned 2 years for Florida with existing P.E. from another US state). The path straight to the P.E. is very clear for those who are from the US and who have an ABET/EAC accredited 4 year Bachelors degree. Most others must unfortunately abide by NCEES’s terms or simply find a way by searching each states’ requirements to see if they may work for you. Good luck everyone!
P.S. For you Civil engineers: Nebraska small cities and rural communities are in dire need of dedicated engineers (licensed or not, it is always worth applying and showing them you have a path toward the license/reciprocity). By extension, with crumbling infrastructure, the need for sanitation upgrades, and evermore water quality concerns, I assume that most rural areas of the States are also in dire need of good (civil) engineers. If you’re willing to relocate, this could be a great opportunity! Surprisingly, since moving to Nebraska, I’ve met quite a bunch of other “transplants”, and in wastewater where I work we’ve engineers from China and S. Korea.

Hi David,

I am Gretchen and I obtained my Electrical Engineering degree in a non-ABET university Philippines in 2010. I worked in a power distribution utility for 5 years and I just recently moved in Iliinois this June. I have been applying to jobs related to engineering in the past 3 months but I just could’t find one matching to my experience in the Philippines. Been to interviews but non of them yet had a positive result. Since my husband is in the Navy, I am planning on getting my FE license to get additional qualification in my resume. i already signed up for the NCEES and just last week my school sent the documents to NCEES but I think NCEES is still verifying the documents that is why it doesnt appear yet in my dashboard. Well if ever I get the result, and had some lackinf credits, am I required to take those courses in an ABET accredited institution? And whenever I pass my FE exam, would it increase my chance in landing a job? Please give me advice on how could I start once I pass my FE. Are there companies here that accepts apprenticeships for entry level engineers? thanks

Hi Gretchen,

You won’t have to take your classes in an ABET-accredited school – you just need to take them. I did mine at the local community college.

Getting your FE might increase your chances of getting a job, but I’d say your experience is much more important than getting the FE which is relatively unimportant. There’s plenty of companies that will take on entry-level engineers. Keep looking: you’ll get there.

Thanks David. I saw a lot of companies but there’s few near my place. I will work on for my FE and my PE in the future, but it will gonna be a long road ahead. I am military wife and I don’t know which state yet will I register for my FE. Illinois has a lot of requirements including getting TOEFL. I will be staying here in Illinois til Feb.2018.

I’d like to answer to your question re NCEES evaluation. The NCEES is an evaluation agency and they do not make any decisions/ It is the state board which you are applying to make final decision. NCEES could say your course is equivalent to a US degree – in that case you are all set for FE exam. If they say there are some deficiencies – you will have to contact the state board where you want to take FE exam. NCEES identified 22 credit hour deficiency in my course. I contacted Colorado state board and I was told if I can demonstrate “six years of progressive engineering experience, of which educational study may be a part.” then I do not have to take these courses. Hope this helps and good luck with your job search.

Dave, I did myMASTER IN engineering in India with 2 years of TEACHING experience. I am now in DUBAI for job hunts they are asking IELTS???? Could you please guide me on taking the exam ? What I am looking for is which states will accept my credentials and where should I take the exam. Thanks in advance. Your blog is very helpful to engineers.

Hi Dave,

I am Burak Yucel. I tried to read all of the posts and replies in order to find the answers of my questions before writing here. There are some people with similar sitation as mine but still i have some questions. Let me explain mine:

I graduated from an ABET accredited University in Turkey (ITU – Istanbul Tech.) and completed my master study at another ABET accredited university in Turkey (METU, Middle East Tech.)
I have been working for 5 years under the supervision of three different engineers with PE title, at a company in Turkey.
I passed the FE exam in Istanbul, Turkey (ITU-NCEES)
I am going to take PE exam again in Istanbul, Turkey (ITU-NCEES)

I am going to apply for PE license because our company deals with projects of some companies from USA. And as i understood from the other posts that South Carolina and Texas boards give PE licenses to non-US citizens. My problem is that i do not consider living or working in the US, i just want to be a PE for my career. So do you think that it is possible to get it by just preparing and sending the required documents? Do i need to go to the USA personally to apply for it? or take an ethics exam in Texas?

Thank you for your help.

Hi Burak Yucei,

If you are able to pass the FE and PE exam where you are, then you won’t need to come to the States. Also, every state will issue a license to non-citizens. I myself am not a citizen. It is just that TX and SC recognise foreign degrees under the Washington Accord. So it sounds like you have everything you need to get licensed in just about any state you choose. However, you will need to meet the education requirements of whichever state board you apply to. Since you have an accredited degree from Turkey, which is a Washington Accord signatory, you automatically meet the education requirements in both of those states.

Thanks for the information Dave,

I passed the PE exam and made a contact with Texas Board of Civil Engineers. I read the rules and asked a couple of questions to them via e-mail. I was replied that “Please note you must have the legal ability to work in the U.S. to apply for licensure in Texas.” I did not see such a rule in the web page. Is work permit required to apply for PE licensure in any state? Do you have any idea?

Omer,

Actually, I also don’t see anything in the rules that specifically requires you to be legally eligible to work in order to get licensed. However, I did see that §133.43(a)(3)(D) requires that two years of your experience to have been conducted in the United States, which inherently means that you have to be authorised to work in the US in order to achieve that. Maybe have the board cite the rule that requires it so that you can look more closely at the requirements.

Hello sir,
Iam in a similar situation I have my BS in civil engineering from Jordan – Middle East, my state is MN, what I should do next to do FE PE exams and get a job?

Hi Dave,

I am a Canadian Civil Engineering student from an accredited university – will be graduating next year with three 4mo co-op work terms.

I am just wondering what the job market is currently like there and how likely it is for a foreign entry level engineer to obtain a job in the states with EIT status?

This is probably all for not anyways as with the recent H1B proposed changes of $100,000 minimum salary; that will eliminate me and many others from obtaining a work permit unless I marry an American woman.

Hi,

Yeah, no entry-level engineering job will pay >$100K I’m afraid. Nonetheless, the market is moderate. Not like the boom times of 2007, but also not like the desert, as in 2009-2011. I’d say you have a good chance of finding a job in your position. In fact, keep your eyes open for an entry-level position at Black & Veatch in Tampa, FL in the spring…

Can you support me based in your experience iam graduated from distance learning university as a civil engineer from California and presently iam working in gulf area with consultant engineer and as you know that online university non accredited so if there any way to take some additional courses to make the degree accredited and after that to submit for FE exam.

Hello Dave

Thanks for the helpful and meaningful posting. I will be finishing my master’s degree in aerospace engineering outside of Florida but actively looking for an engineer career opportunity in Florida (My SO might be working in South West Florida, and I have more career flexibility than her). I have submitted dozens of my resume to engineering companies in Florida but gotten no luck so far. Partially I believe it is due to my student visa status.

I am seriously thinking about taking the FE exam and give a shot for civil engineering companies since my master’s work focuses on aerospace structural analysis. Do you think becoming EIT would boost a chance of getting a job in Florida? Thanks for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Brian

Brian,

Honestly, I don’t think that getting the FE would boost your chances much, but it’s still worth doing so that you’re not hampering yourself compared to your competition. With that said, sadly, I’d say that your immigration status is a more likely hindrance to you right now, which of course you can’t do much about. Where is your citizenship and where did/will you earn your degree?

Hi,

I am currently residing in Michigan and have a Work Experience of 3 years and a Master’s Degree in Mech. Engineering. I need to get the PE certification, Do I need to appear for FE or I can directly take the PE exam? Can you please advise?

Sincerely,
Sid

Hi Dave,
I graduated from the UK with MSc in Control Systems. I have been working as a Control and Automation Engineer for 7 years now. I am planning to move to the US by end of this year. My fiance is in Chicago, how easy do you think ill find a job in Chicago? DO i really need to take a FE?

many thanks

I have no idea what the job market is like I’m afraid. There’s no need to take the FE, but with 7 years behind you, you’ll be looking for jobs where most of your peers are going to be PEs, so you’ll want to work towards getting that as soon as possible.

Dave,
I enjoyed your PE article, as well as your link to planning to move to Oregon. My wife and I spent 10 years living in Florida, but we were on the other side of the state in Palm Bay; much of our time was spent on the St Johns River, with my wife doing wildlife photography and me just driving the boat. I hope your move goes smoothly and (as a cat rescue person) I appreciate all the thought you have given to the transportation of your cats. I pray that you and your wife and kids and kitties all make it safely there. Keep up the good work with your writing.
take care,
dave

Hi Dave,

Very interested article by the way

I am a US citizen holding a B.Sc degree in civil engineering from a foreign country and about 15 years of experience there. After moving to USA in 2010, I did my M.S immediatly and right now close to get my PhD as well (both in civil eng.).

I really look to get an academic carrer, and I think that being a PE is also preferred (not required) to get a university job. That is why I started to dig into details of how I can get my PE license. My question is; Am I able to sit for PE test without having FE. I was searching the web to get a clear answer to this question when I found this wonderful article and wanted to get your advice. I am a Missouri resident and I just want to waive the FE test because of time and cost reasons no more.

Thanks,
Muha

Some states do exempt you from the FE if you have significant work experience, so you’d have to check with the MO board of engineers as to whether they allow this. Some other states have a very hard line and it doesn’t matter if you have 50 years of experience: they’ll still make you take the FE.

Hi Dave,

I am glad that I had chanced upon your website. I am currently a Professional Engineer (Environmental Engineering) with the State of Kentucky, US and am planning to come to Kentucky to work. By June this year, I would graduate with a Masters of Science (Environmental Management) from National University of Singapore.

I have the following questions..

1) Is it relative easy for a foreigner to find a engineering job in the US with a PE license?
2) What is the best way to look for job in the US? (Currently, i am working as a consulting engineer at CH2M)
3) Are engineers with PE license highly respected and valued in the US?

Thanks,
Ald, Singapore Guy

Hi Ald,

I’m a bit confused because you say that you’re already a Professional Engineer in Kentucky…

Nonetheless, here’s my thoughts:

1. It’s just as easy for a foreigner to find work in the US, especially if you have a PE license, so long as you are authorized to work here. With that said, it is getting harder, given the election of Trump and you might want to read up on what Trump wants to do with H1B visas (scrap them).
2. The best way is to contact people that you know. If you work for CH2M, start by networking with professionals in the US and look for internal opportunities. Beyond that, start looking at the websites of their competitors for available opportunities. There’s a good amount of jobs right now.
3. Professional Engineers are definitely highly respected and valued. It’s a well-regarded industry to work in, and your PE credentials are very valuable.

Many thanks for your prompt reply:)

I took the PE exam in Louisville and received my license back in Oct 2015 then. At that time, I was working for CDM SMITH in Singapore under a few US professional engineers, and they guided me and helped in my PE application then. As I am about to finish my masters, I am planning to start seeking work opportunities in Kentucky.

There is an agreement between Singapore and the US with regards to work visa. It is called the H1B1 visa. Apparently, Singaporeans are allowed as principal applicants. Here’s the link for your reference, http://www.ustraveldocs.com/sg/sg-niv-typeh1b1.asp

Do you know of any good and reliable job websites that I could look into?

Any good recruitment firm that could assist in my job search in Kentucky?

In a field like this, I wouldn’t bother with “job sites” like monster.com or indeed.com. It’s better to go directly to the websites of the companies. To get a feel for the biggest and best in the industry, check out the ENR rankings. There probably are some headhunters that could help you, but I don’t know of any.

Also, just beware of visas at the moment. It looks like H1B1 visas are separate from H1B visas, but know that Mr Trump effectively wants to kill off H1B visas…

Hi Dave,

Been trying to look at US job sites and looking for an internal transfer within Singapore office to the US office but it turns out that i am unable secure any job offers or interviews thus far. Thus, i plan to attend a graduate engineering school in US next year and then pursue an engineering career with OPT visa. I have about 10 years of working experience outside US and hope that also helps me to get a job after graduation. Moreover, i also plan to apply for PE license by comity for the state where i would end up working in the future then.

Do you think this is a good way to secure an engineering job in the US? (considering opportunity cost of not working for 1-2years and paying a large sum to attend graduate school)

Are there any good public graduate schools that you would recommend me to consider? ( I understand public schools are generally cheaper in tuition fee than private schools for international students)

Public schools are definitely cheaper than private schools and I’d suggest going that route. I don’t think I’m in a position to give guidance on your other issues though; I can only speak to my own experience whereby I was already in the States and able to work. I wish you well!

Dave,

I came across your blog about the procedures required to becoming a professional engineer and found it very helpful.

Just to give you a quick background I’m also British, born and bred in London and graduated from City university. Upon graduation I moved over to the Middle East (Qatar) where I have been working here for the last 6years. My wife is American and we have decided that we are reaching to the stage where we feel the need to move (in her case back) to the states, Ohio to be exact. I have done a bit of reashearch and found out they allow for engineers to sit their FE & PE exams in Qatar.

My question is the application for jobs over in the states. Would I require to have my visa issues sorted out before applying or will companies be able to sponsor candidates on work visas?

Reagards
Sharmarke

Hi Dave,

Excellent piece of information.

I have been scanning NCEES website for the requirements for PE. There are many international countries that conduct FE and PE exam of NCEES around the world at international centers. I wonder how they license these PE aspirants who do not live in US but still pass FE and PE exam. And if they want to move to US then how this PE exam can benefit them.

هexam for international engineers is a hoax (excluding first world countries), i took the exam in egypt, i sent my degree for evaluation by ncees, i passed both fe and pe , i have 10 years experience , i sent experience certificates , they required a PE signature , we have very few in egypt, i kept searching for yeats until found one in my current company who used to live in the US , he agreed to approve my experience but wrote he has known me for only one year which is true , how the hell would i work under PE for 10 years , when we had the exam only since 2009 and i was one of the first to take it

Well, it’s not a hoax though, is it? They have their requirements and they enforce them. They may be arduous, especially if you have a foreign degree, or have foreign work experience, but it’s not “a hoax”.

Hi Dave,

I have a question about the required residency in Texas to take the PE. How did you manage to get around that? I hope to do exactly what you did for my PE. I am also a Florida resident and I don’t want to spend unnecessary time studying for my EIT.

At least at the time that I took the PE in Texas, you didn’t have to be a resident, but you did for the FE (from what I could ascertain). It seems that that may no longer be true. I took my FE in Florida and my PE in Texas.

Hi, Dave,

My story is exactly the same as yours. I am licensed in TX, and in GA. I have been licensed in TX for over two years. I applied for license in Florida by endorsement and was subsequently denied on the grounds of a lack of general education.

Under what rule do they waive the general education requirement?

Thanks,

Brendan

Hello Everybody,

I have BSc. electrical engineering degree from Pakistan and Master degree in electrical engineering from US. I moved here in the US and starting working for a consulting firm. I have been working for over four years now and got my master degree while working full time. I have registered for FE exam through a state where they don’t require foreign BSc. degree evaluation and taking FE exam in a month or so. My understanding is that FE exam can be taken anywhere and is easily transferable to other states where you want to take PE exam. I will be moving right into PE exam after my passing FE. I don’t want to get degree evaluated because they are going to come up with deficiencies in humanity courses and some science courses. We take a lot of university level science courses like physics, chemistry etc. during per-engineering education and get right into core engineering courses in University. was somebody else in the same situation and they were able to get their PE license without degree evaluation since they had grad degree from US? Is there some states which are lenient in terms of foreign bachelor degrees and let candidates sit for PE exam?

Hi David, I’m a U.K citizen and Chartered Engineer with nearly 14 years structural engineering experience in the UK and Australia. I have recently passed the FE exam and would like to start the process with the S.E exam. Do you know if the perquisite minimum 4 years experience applies to US only experience or do State Boards consider overseas experience? If there’s a particular state board that allows this, I would be interested to know as well.

To my knowledge, it applies to overseas experience too, and the state rules do not distinguish where your experience has been. However, your references verifying that experience and your capabilities need to be licensed PEs. That may be your bigger hurdle.

Daniel,

I have also moved from the UK with CEng qualification about 2.5 years back. You may know this already but CEng is not recognized in any state except Idaho. Idaho has reciprocity agreement with Engineering Council in the UK so if you are going to work in Idaho, it’ll be much easier and you may not have to give FE/PE exam. If you are going to work in any another state, each state has different requirement and I suggest you check with the state board where you are/will be working. Some states do waive requirement to pass FE (you’ve already passed FE so it doesn’t matter now) if you have certain number of years experience. I am not sure but some state may also waive requirement for PE exam given no. of years experience you have – I suggest you check with the state board first. Regarding perquisite minimum 4 years experience, I am sure experience outside UK will count (Colorado state did consider my UK experience) but again you should check with the state. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Kuldip

Hi Dave,
I also have a degree from middle east, I obtained NCEES evaluation years ago, as of now my degree is only deficient in one hour in general education and chemistry ( or physics ). I just passed FE test. I heard hat CA do not even require that you submit any transcript from your country. So I am going to try California even thou I don’t live there. I do have many years of experience as civil engineer in the states. I am staring my masters degree program in Structural Engineering this August.

I do have a question for you: how did you obtain EIT certificate from Texas if you were not living in Texas?
I was going to try Texas as well.
Thanks,

Ziena,

Actually, I got my EIT from Florida, after taking the chemistry and physics classes that I needed. I took my PE in Texas, which removed the need to do the humanities and social sciences classes.

Hi Dave,

I was searching for an article like this, for so long. Thank you so much for sharing your story. My side of the story is a similar one.

I completed my Bachelors from India and my Masters from IL, USA. I started working as a Mechanical Designer in FL, in Feb-2017, this was my first full time job of my Career. To Take my EIT in Florida with FBPE I had to get my credentials evaluation, after a month of trying hard to register for the exam , getting my evaluations done. My evaluation report came up with 3.25 semester hours of courses lacking in Humanities and Social Sciences and English Literature.

The report declared that my Combined education of Bachelors in India and Masters in US is not equivalent to an ABET accredited University in USA, and they recommended me to enroll in community college to cover up this lacking semester hours.

WHAT A JOKE!!

Finally after a lot of research and studying about NCEES , I applied for MI board for my FE and I passed on my First attempt, now even after passing my FE, Florida board did not allow me to take my PE. I wanted to take my PE as soon as possible as I was a fresher and I had most of the concepts in mind.

I finally gave my PE from Texas, and now I am waiting for the result. I did not practice well enough, I am not sure of the outcome. But I am relieved after taking my PE for at least giving it a shot.

It is very difficult for immigrants to get a PE license.

I still have 1.25 years left in my work authorization period.My aim is to at least get myself licensed and experienced enough so that I can find a decent work wherever I go, If I am not sponsored by any employer in USA. its fine. I always believed that I should make myself better enough so that these immigration laws doesn’t effect me much.

Thanks once again for your sharing your experience.

Saad.

Hi Dave,

Thank you so much for your experience that you shared it with us.

I have a bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering from Afghanistan. I am looking to find a way for my FE exam in Illinois. After searching what I got is my school should directly mail official academic transcript, official diploma or certificate of graduation and official course descriptions to NCEES.

This is my question:

Does my school need to send the copy of above documents or they should be original??
If original, How can i get them back?

Thanks

Ibrahim

Ibrahim,

More than likely, you have your own transcript. Schools are routinely asked to provide transcripts and send them directly to institutions such as NCEES. It will be an original that is provided by the school. It will be sent directly to your evaluating organisation from your school. The point is that you can’t copy an existing transcript and send it; it must be provided by your school and sent directly to the evaluator.

Thanks

Hi Dave, very inspiring to read your blog… I have a PE License from the state of Maryland and am looking to apply for Chartered Engineer in UK. Would you have any idea if there is a Comity to directly apply for Chartered Engineer in UK if one has a PE license? Will be grateful if you can provide any suggestions.

Hi Prabha,

Check out this comment. If you have an accredited American degree (or any other degree recognised by the Washington Accord), you should be able to get chartered in the UK. I don’t believe that there is direct reciprocity to get CEng as a PE (though the reverse is true; some states like Idaho and Texas recognise CEng as a means to get PE by comity).

Hi Dave, thanks for putting together this blog it was very informative. For the Idaho PE/CEng reciprocity, there is already quite a bit of information on this. I noticed you also mentioned Texas, is there also PE/CEng reciprocity there too? I don’t think this is listed anywhere.

No, there is no such reciprocity in TX. It’s just that Texas recognizes UK (accredited) degrees as equivalent to ABET degrees, so you can apply for the PE as if you had graduated from an American school.

Hi Dave,

I appreciate your and other contributors to this blog for sharing their experience. I am a licensed Canadian Professional Engineer who originally did his Bachelors in Civil Engineering from India back in 2000 and Masters from US in 2003. I immigrated to Canada back in 2004 and then started worked in Canadian Engineering company from 2005-2017. After 12 years of work experience in Canada, I immigrated back to US in 2017 to reunite with my family. Having Masters from US and 12 years of work experience in Canada helped me a lot in getting my first job in US. I do want to become a PE in US but I feel the push from company management to get it asap. They want me to get it by coming April next year or even Oct. Only advantage I have is that Canada is only 25 minutes drive from where I live which means only 25 minutes away is where I am fully licensed to practice. Unfortunately our company doesn’t have any office there or intends to be moving in that direction soon. Being in mid 40’s age wise I am in limbo of should I really chase PE exam or not. If yes, how much daily time and effort would I need to spend to get refreshed back at EIT/PE Exam level? Your expertise opinion would be appreciated.

Regards

Rip

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