My long road to becoming a licensed Professional Engineer

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 comments

  1. Dave,
    I feel myself lucky finding this blog.

    I immigrated to the US two years ago from China and before that I did my engineering degree in the UK…So I am in the same boat! Recently I passed the FE test and completed the credentials evaluations from NCEES (deficient in General Education with no surprises >.<)

    Now I am planning to take my PE exam in Texas, which can save me at least 2 years waiting! (6 years working experience is required for a forerign degree by Oklahoma State board…)

    Thanks a lot for your post!

    Best Regards,
    Chenkai

      1. Hi, Dave
        I just passed FE exam from Texas board. I need to apply for my EIT certification. I did my undergraduate degree evaluation before. So, can I used my previous credential evaluation ?

        1. Yes, I think so. I’m not sure that there’s an “expiration” on your credentials evaluation, but a quick call to the Board would confirm that.

  2. Take it from a 70-year-old mechanical engineer who knows what he is talking about. The entire engineering licensing experience in the US is nothing but an effort for state employees (bureaucrats) to keep their high paying jobs.

    By the way. Have you heard the news? We now have the Internet. Let’s license engineers at the national level and get rid of the parasitic bastards at the state level.

    1. Ed, sounds like you got burned along the way somewhere? Obviously, licensure for engineers serves a purpose and is common practice in most countries, but whether or not to license at the state level or the national level is a different issue. There’s certainly many benefits to licensing at the national level (a universal license that transcends state borders), but I imagine that the variances between each state’s needs for licensing (e.g. California’s 6 year work experience requirement and their obligatory supplemental seismic design exam for civil PEs) would prevent this from happening.

      1. The powers of the States and the Federal Government are defined by the U.S. Constitution. The states have the power to grant P.E. licences, the Federal Government does not. Maybe you need some more courses in government.

  3. Dave,

    I am in a similar situation but with a masters degree from a US university and with four years of combined work experience including two years in the USA. I couldn’t get an EIT certificate in Massachusetts after passing the FE exam in Massachusetts because of a couple of ‘deficient’ credits in arts and humanities.

    I am now registered to take the exam in California this fall and California does require Seismic and Surveying exams as well. I would like to make a correction to your California’s 6 year requirement should someone else in our situation stumble on this blog seeking information: 6 years includes 4 years bachelors + 2 years work experience. If one has a masters degree from the US, one only needs 1 year of work experience because a foreign bachelors + US masters is counted as 5 years of experience.

    Once I get licensed in California, I will try to obtain licensure in Massachusetts by reciprocity. The rules in Massachusetts were recently amended to allow candidates with foreign or engineering technology bachelor degrees and a US masters degree to sit for the exams with four years of work experience compared to seven years previously.

    Other than that, good luck for your future ventures: work permit, work visa, permanent residency, and so on and so forth!

    1. Interesting. I’d never really looked into California’s requirements, but a quick search about the seismic exam (which I knew to be a required extra) also mentioned six years of work experience, which I didn’t know could include your education. That’s actually (surprisingly for CA) very lenient. Most other states (Florida and Texas included) require at least 4 years of true work experience.

      Good luck to you too. For now, I think I’ve got everything I need (green card, PE) and things should be much easier moving forward, but it certainly was a pain for my first 6 years here!

      1. Thanks mate, after reading your post, I have a direction to get the professional Engineer credentials, I have a BEng, MEng, MSc, with a CEng, I miss G.B, even though I am a brumy, hart of the west Midlands, if I see you at the pub, a hummus meal and pint, I am a veggie, so its standard

    2. Hello sir
      I am in the same situation as yours. Masters degree in US and bachelors from India. Please send me your email so that I can get some guidance from you.
      Thanks
      Sushik

        1. Dave, I did my Bachelor of Civil engineering and Masters in Structures in India with 4 years of design experience. I am now doing PhD in South Carolina. Could you please guide me on taking the PE 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.

          1. Your existing degrees may be covered by the Washington Accord. You’ll need to review this page to see whether your particular degree is covered, and if so, that will make you eligible to take the PE exam in South Carolina and Texas (there may be more states, but these are the two that I know accept the Washington Accord).

            If they’re not accepted, you’ll either have to get your degrees evaluated and possible take extra courses, or wait until you get your PhD, which may be sufficient (without the American Bachelor’s and Master’s) to meet the board’s educational requirements.

            Good luck!

      1. Hi Sushil – I have similar back ground as yours and now in massachsuets. Just curious one year on, whate were your learning that I can reapply. This is a great site and great efforts. I have a BS in chemical Engineering from India and Masters in IE from US

        1. A good starting point would be to check whether your Indian degree is covered by the Washington Accord now that India is a signatory. If not, you’re somewhat out of luck and will need to have your degrees evaluated by the entity permitted by your state engineering board to see whether you need to take any additional classes before meeting the education requirement.

    3. Hello! I’m glad I found this article, Im from Chile and this year I finish my BS and I’m going to move to California I would love to talk to you about the things I have to do or the first thing I should start doing right now in order to be able to work in US, where can I get more information about the requirements. And are you saying that if I move there to study for 1 more year and then I work another year I would be able to take an exam?

      Thank you very much

      1. Hi Claudia,

        Fortunately, the barrier to entry to working is low. Typically, all you need is a degree. You don’t need to have your FE or your PE in order to start working as an engineer. However, your conclusions about being eligible for the FE/PE are perhaps a little misguided. In order to take the FE, you’ll need to have the equivalent of an ABET degree. This will mean getting your degree evaluated and making up the deficiencies between an ABET degree and your own. Once you’ve done that, you can sit for the FE. This will also allow you to sit for PE once you have the work experience under your belt.

          1. Hi Jorge, Do you know of a university that offers online courses to fulfill requirements of ABET-EAC program converting from ABET-TAC program.

    4. Hi, can you tell me if you got your California PE licence with 2 years of US experience ???
      I have foreign bachelors degree and 2.5 years of experience there + US master degree and 1.5 years of experience here – I passed both EIT and PE exams from California, should I apply for the licence yet?

  4. Dear Dave:

    Thank you very much for the great info. This is typically a long/complicated journey and I know lots of people have given up. I got my EIT in CA, and like to sit for PE early next year either in AZ or CA. I have a PhD degree from US, and have only 3 years of experience outside US (Middle East). I do not have any proof of my work experience, only maybe able to get a letter from the company. Of course the work was not under a PE’s supervision, and also was simultaneous to my MS studies. Would you think that this work experience would be even considered by the boards here? As “PursuingPE” also mentioned, In California, I need 1 years of experience to meet the requirements, but I’m not sure if my foreign work experience would be sufficient.

    My other question is that how many (%) companies accept you as a PE if your license is from another state? Is it something very common or rare? Thanks again.

    – Rob

    1. Hi Rob,

      The application usually requires that three professional engineers (not necessarily licensed in the state that you’re looking for licensure in, but probably US PEs) attest to your abilities and stated work experience.

      As for what % of companies want your PE from the state you work in, I’d say that if you’re applying for a position that requires you to hold a PE license, the employer will want it in the state that you’ll be working in, or that you can attain it fairly quickly (by a reciprocity/comity process). My company hired me when I was a new grad, and they don’t much care that my PE isn’t from FL, because we have enough of us around to sign and seal documents. I would imagine that as I become a more senior engineering manager, that a local PE would be needed, which is fine, since after 2 years, I’ll be able to apply for a license in Florida by comity.

  5. Great info Dave, thanks. Do you know if experience outside U.S. is counted towards licensing? I already have the EIT, but I don’t know how to prove/document my foreign work experience.

    Have a good day.
    Rob

    1. Hi Rob,

      I think this varies from state to state. In Florida, I don’t believe it does: I had a colleague who was a chartered engineer of 20+ years, but they didn’t recognise any of his credentials. Well, actually, now that I’m saying it, maybe they did count his work experience, but just not his degree. Best to check with the state board in question.

  6. Dave,
    This page is an excellent resource for international applicants. I would like to commend you on your efforts to document your application experience. You have given me hope that I could receive my PE next May; I have about 3+ years of work ex with a US Masters degree.

    Despite having a Masters degree in the states and three years of international work experience with ENR top ten firms, I was dejected by how difficult it would be for me to be even considered eligible to sit for the PE in any American state. However, I stumbled upon your blog and researched the TBPE regulations. TBPE regulations are very practical and sensible. For example I don’t need to send my undergraduate degree for evaluation as the TBPE accepts any ABET recognized engineering degree; hence I can submit my Masters transcripts. Also, TBPE explicitly talks about overseas experience and receiving referrals from PEs who have not served as a direct supervisor. Of course all work experience is still subject to approval from the Board’s review committee but at least these scenarios are addressed. I sent an email explaining my situation to another state board and they replied simply stating that my experience should be post graduation and under direct PE supervision, Though they also didn’t say if my experience would be completely rejected. In contrast, TBPE is far more open minded about international applicants and even has a webpage explaining the process for international applicants.

    Rob,
    TBPE does consider international work experience. However, TBPE requires you to have at least 2 years of work ex in the US or using US design codes.

    Dave,
    Any advice on reference materials? I’m looking for book that will provide me with a strategy to tackle the exam and prepare for it. I’m also looking for reference books I can take to the exam.

    Thank you very much for putting all this information together.

    Cheerio,
    Adrian

    1. Thanks Adrian,

      I’m glad that this was a good starting point for you to be able to figure where you stood with TBPE and have found a path forward to licensure. As for reference documents, the only thing that I really studied was this book, and then the NCEES sample questions book.

      All the best!

    2. Hi Adrian,

      I wanted to follow up with you regarding your experience qualifying to take the PE exam in Texas. Did you apply and get accepted to take the PE exam just based on your MS transcripts or did you eventually have to submit an approved evaluation of your foreign undergraduate degree? If the latter, did you have to take additional courses to meet eligibility requirements. I would appreciate a detail response on the application process and your journey towards being approved to take the PE exam. Did you take it already? Successful?

      Here are my credentials – BE in Civil Engineering from India, MS and PhD degrees in Civil Engineering from Penn State – 12+ years of experience in industry working with PEs in the US. I never bothered to take the PE since I wasn’t actively designing and stamping drawings in any of my projects. I once got my degree evaluated to be eligible to sit for PE in Florida 10 years ago and they came back suggesting 24 credit hours of coursework to be eligible. I dropped the idea instantly!

      Any help you can provide with reference to TBPE would be immensely appreciated. Thanks!

  7. Dave,
    My name is Michael and i work in Saudi Arabia as Senior Mechanical Engineer but my bachelor degree is from egypt and i planing to have my PE from Saudi Arabia under agreement from NCEES is it enough to let me work in USA

    1. Michael,

      I’m not sure what NCEES agreement you’re referring to, but in my experience, generally your education and qualifications from international jurisdictions do not carry over to the US. It is likely that, like me, you’ll need to have your degree evaluated by the appointed authority by whatever state you are trying to get your PE in, and then make up any shortfalls before you’ll even be eligible to sit for your EIT or PE.

  8. Hi Dave,

    Thanks so much for this wonderful information on your experience.
    I need some advice on how I should approach my situation.I have always wanted to study or work in the US as an engineer,but as fate would have it that dream has not yet come true due to so many circumstances.

    I am a British citizen;I had BEng in Electronics and Communications Engineering and a Msc in Technologies for Broadband Communications from the UK, in 2007 and 2009 respectively but unfortunately I have not had any work experince as Engineer in my field of discipline.

    Currently I work as QA Engineer which does not require my degrees nor it’s associated with Electrical Engineering.

    What is the best way to start in other to work in the US?

    If I choose to study for another MSc(even though I don’t think I can afford ),will it aid my situation ?

    Also any information on work permit will be very usefully.

    Please any information will be much appreciated.

    1. Hi Fola,

      I wouldn’t suggest getting another MSc: I don’t think it will make you any more attractive of a candidate than you already are. I’d focus on hunting down companies that could use your skillset and see whether they’re willing to sponsor work visas (look out for, or seach for, H1B sponsorships).

  9. Dave,

    Awesome article! I am a licenced enginner in canada with 10 years experience. I’m also married to a Florida girl who, believe it or not, moved to canada 8 years ago and has been here ever since. I wrote the FE and passed several years ago in North Dakota. Was hoping to get licenced as a PE in Florida but also found the state board to frustrating to deal with to say the least! Ended up applying to North Dakota to write the PE with little effort and have since been accepted to write.

    1. Wow, so they do. Thanks for the info Yon. I confirmed this by looking up their state regulations. For anyone interested, look up South Carolina Code of Regulation Chapter 49, Article 2.

  10. Hello Dave,
    your story is very encouraging.
    i am an american citizen who is actually studying my civil eng bachelors from an accredited(washington accord) uni in Australia. i chose australia due to some personal reason but i have always feared that my degree will not be accepted in the states and i will never be able to work there too.
    So is it compulsory for me to do masters in an american university to be able to work as an engineer? Or its a better option?
    Thank you so much for your help.
    Zanzi

    1. No, it’s absolutely not compulsory. Australia is a Washington Accord signatory, so as long as your Australian degree is accredited by Engineers Australia, your degree is recognised by the Washington Accord and you can at the very least get licensed in South Carolina or Texas. Once you have your license, that opens up your opportunities to get reciprocity/endorsement/comity from other states (for example, I am soon going to apply for license by endorsement from Florida, even though I don’t have the humanities and social sciences hours of an ABET degree).

      1. Hi Dave

        If I got NCEES PE in Saudi Arabia, will I be able to apply for PE by endorsement in Texas? If not, what do I need to do?

        Cheers

        1. The Texas laws and rules do not currently offer reciprocity with any other jurisdiction (see §133.11 (2)), meaning that you’d need to apply for a license in the normal way and meet all of the requirements for obtaining a Texas PE license.

  11. Hello Dave,

    You input in giving some guide to people with no ABET approved undergrad degree is great! I saw that you got licensed in Texas and that brought the question of whether Texas requires residency for PE License. Does Texas require residency status for approval? and what other states do you know that does not require residency status asides Califonia?

    Thanks,
    Mc

    1. Texas does require residency for the FE, but not for the PE. I live in Florida and have never lived in TX, so while I had to take my FE in FL, I could take my PE in TX.

  12. Hi Dave,

    This is Sergio, I got your blog doing some research for engineering seals. I enjoyed a lot your blog about the Florida nightmare, actually I had the situation like you, but I found the way to get license in Florida. I am a Cuban guy, I studied an engineering degree in Cuba, it is 5 years degree. Then I came to live in Puerto Rico, I got the transcriptions from Cuba, and it were evaluated to get a compatibility with the ABET requirements in USA, then applied for the both tests EIT and PE and was successfully licensed as PE while living in PR. Then I moved to the sunshine State, then I applied by Endorsement to get licensed as PE in Florida, but as the requirements my transcriptions had to be evaluated again, I said OK, I am a PE already so it is formalism process, what was my surprise when I received a letter that my engineering course does not satisfy the ABET requirement, I said “hello” I am PE already and my courses were satisfactory evaluated before, but the guy doing the evaluation in Florida had a different disgusting opinion. The same like you, as his opinion I need more credits in basic science, I said what else? I completed all the maths, physics, and chemicals needed, and they said me I need something else like agronomy or something similar, What? I said? I am an electrical engineer, what I need to take that? well, I did my own research on that, I got the credits requirement for the some USA universities like MIT, Georgia Tech, Ohio, etc, I discovered that those universities provide credits in physical and chemical labs, the transcriptions sent by my university did not include the labs in basic science, then I did the request to be included the labs and applied for a re-evaluation, then I finally got the “approval” letter to get license as PE by endorsement in Florida. This is my story, probably it is a winning way.

    Sergio

  13. hi Dave

    thanks alot for the valuable information

    I have my FE exam and I want to take my PE now , my bachelor is certified from ABET

    so my question now being passed the FE means that I am now certified from NCEES ABET , so I can take PE now , or I need first to evaluate my bachelor first to be able to take the PE

    thanks

    1. If your degree is not accredited by ABET, then your next best hope is that it is covered by the Washington Accord, which would allow you to take the exam in at least Texas and South Carolina. Failing that, it sounds like you would need to have your degree evaluated by NCEES (or whomever else your state’s Engineering Board allows to do degree evaluations).

  14. Hi Dave,

    Thanks a lot for information.

    I have my Bachelors and Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from India only.

    I am working here in USA since 1.5 years. I just passed my EIT exam last week.

    I have total 5.5 years of experience after my masters degree ( among 5.5 years ; 1.5 years in USA under PE)

    I request you to suggest me the further steps to apply for PE exam from the proper board because I want to give that exam early as possible if I can.

    Will any board will grant this background and allow me to give PE exam ? or I have to take some experience or education.

    Thank you
    Saurabh Shah

    1. Several things to consider here:

      • Nearly all boards require at least 4 years of work experience under the responsible charge of a PE, so I see that as your biggest barrier. You may be able to find a board that allows for foreign work experience to count, but if not, you’ll have to wait another 2.5 years to be able to apply for your PE exam.
      • Is it safe to assume that your degree is not ABET-accredited? If not, India is a signatory to the Washington Accord which could allow you to meet the educational requirements in Texas and South Carolina if your degree meets the Indian accreditation criteria.

      Good luck and let me know what you find out.

  15. Hi there

    Thank you for your kind reply.

    I have checked my degree In Indian Accreditation criteria but I can not find my College Listed there, though my college is well known and approved by Indian Government.

    So what should I do now ?

    As far as the experience thing is concern , if PE exam require min 4 years of experience under PE in USA only; I can not do anything and I have to wait just because I have only 1.5 years of experience her the rest 3.5 years are out side USA.

    I though some state boards may allow you to give PE exam but they will give you license only after completing experience or some may consider international experience, so I asked you weather you have any idea or not.

    Thank you again
    Saurabh Shah

    1. I am not aware of any state boards that will allow you to take the PE exam before you get the 4 years of experience but that isn’t to say that there aren’t any. If anyone else knows or if you find out more during your research, please come back here and respond. Good luck!

      1. Nevada will allow you to take the exam as early as 2 years after graduating with an ABET accredited BS; however, they will not issue the license until you have 4 years of full-time work experience.

      2. Illinois will let you take the PE exam at any point once you’ve passed the FE (EIT). Technically, you can pass the FE and PE test one year after graduating. However, you’ll need to wait 4 yrs (or 3 yrs with Master’s or 2 yrs with PhD) with experience before you can apply with the State Board.

        Interestingly, IL is one of seven states that has a separate structural license, SE. In IL the PE is utterly useless for the design of buildings and/or bridges (any structures) because the PE license is deemed insufficient with its 4 yrs experience / 8 hr multiple choice test. The SE exam is a NCEES administered 16 hr test over two days of which 8 hrs are long-hand solutions. Minimum working experience is 8 years (there has been talk to make it 12 years or 8 yrs with Master’s).

        I have the SE license and I’m taking the PE in Oct ’16 ironically because Texas does not have a separate Structural board. And since the PE and SE organizations are at each other throats, I cannot get the PE by reciprocity even though the SE is twice as demanding with years of experience and like 5x more difficult with the actual test.

    2. HI THERE ,
      i am in the similar situation and tried finding my college but none to avail.
      suggest me your story ,as i am following this thread years later .
      and if working for 4 years is a compulsion under a PE in states ??
      please help me out .

      1. The rules differ from state to state, but in general, you need to work under the supervision of a licensed PE for four years, and must get the references of a number of licensed PEs in order to apply for licensure. There may be exceptions (there are 50+ different licensing boards after all), but this is the general rule.

  16. Thank you for your reply.

    I am thinking to wait to get enough experience in USA, no rush

    Do you suggest any extra certification or exam to take in between to make your resume stronger and pleasing.

    I am in Mechanical Engineering QC and Project Dept.

    1. That very much depends on your unique circumstances but unless you specialise in something very particular, I’d say that extra certifications are just a waste of time (and money).

  17. Dave – Interesting blog. Here is a real teaser for you.

    I have a Bachelor’s degree In Chemical Engineering from India dating back to the late 60’s and a Masters degree in Chemical Engineering from one of the top US universities in the early 70’s. I live in the US and have over 42 years work experience. Worked in chemical process Research & Development, electric generating power plant related process and system design, engineering, plant operator training/start-up and trouble shooting. Subsequent to 3 decades of engineering and project related activities, I moved on to governmental legislative and regulatory activities and corporate strategic planning, before taking early retirement 5 years back. BTW, the three plus decades of professional work experience was in Texas. I have presented papers in domestic and international conferences and my articles have been published in trade journals.

    During my work life, I never felt a need to get licensed, because I was not signing off on civil/structural drawings, where a PE seal seemed mandatory. If my memory serves me right, in those days (going back to the 80’s), any graduate engineer in Texas with a few years of work experience in engineering and references from registered PEs, could get a PE license without undergoing EIT/PE exams. I could have but did not elect to go that route.

    Here then is the million dollar question. Now that I have re-emerged from retirement (after a few years) and am using my work experience in business consulting/advisory activities (engineering related) and serving on voluntary boards/commissions, a PE credential is appealing. What is your understanding about getting a PE certification, in say the state of Texas for one (and other states too)? Are all the exams being talked up in your blog, still a requirement for a time constrained individual or would it suffice to get the needed past work, character, experience references from any number of PEs whom I have worked with? Please share your understanding of the current certification requirements for an individual with my background. I hope to do some independent follow through too. But your comments would be welcome Dave.

    1. Hi Dharma,

      This is an unusual situation! I have heard of certain boards that can accept long periods of experience in place of the educational requirements, however several components of the application process cannot be waived, including providing references and details on your applicable work experience. You’ll have to reconnect with your peers (who must still be active PEs by the way) to get your references and work experience verified. Given the particularly unique nature of your application, there may be room for the Board to consider your extenuating circumstances.

      Let me know what you find out about getting licensed without the educational component on count of your vast experience, if you decide to go that route. There’s certainly many people who have asked about this.

      Thanks

      1. Thanks Dave. I will certainly keep you abreast of my application.. I have guys that I reported to and others that I have worked with, whose PE licenses are current and who can attest to my qualifications, work experience, character etc.

  18. Seems like you need 4 years experience in all states unless you have an ABET accredited engineering degree or a foreign degree that meets NCEES standard by evaluation. I understand most foreign degrees (80%) don’t meet the standard. That’s not to say foreign degrees are inferior, they often just follow a different path. I had a shortfall of 10 points with social sciences and basic chemistry, I understand I can fill in the gaps by taking CLEP exams at a local college. I still got to do the EIT exam through NY state as they are more relaxed, however cant do the PE exam without 6 years experience unless I fill the gaps in my education.

    1. Hi Jon,

      Yes, I think you’re about on point. I think that it is a fairly standard requirement to have at least 4 years’ experience in conjunction with your approved degree. I have heard of certain boards where you can get around the educational requirements with a wealth of experience but in general terms, it’s much less arduous and time-consuming to suck it up and complete the education component.

  19. Hi Dave,

    In my NCEES degree evaluation i still managed to outscore the NCEES standard by 12 points, just not in the areas where it needed to count. My degree is Sydney accord accredited, so I don’t think Texas would let me take the exam early. Its strange that some UK engineering degrees have been put in that bracket, because they are not non-calc based technology degrees like some of those courses out here. I hit the benchmark in all major subjects & exceeded the NCEEs standard in many areas, but was knocked back on foundation studies like basic chemistry & US History – crazy when you think about it !

    1. To Jon and all the British education system based applicants, please make sure when you apply for the NCEES credential evaluation you include your A-Level results. NCEES will give you credit for all the PHYSICS, CHEMISTRY, BIOLOGY, and General Education (History, General Paper, etc) courses you took the A-Level exams in. I have been through this successfully myself. I’m not from UK but rather from one of the British Colonies in Africa that ended up fashioning our educational system after the British after independence from her “Majesty”.

        1. Also, Dave can you update your blog with FBPE’s latest rule changes to make it easy for applicants with foreign degree holders claim credit for such Advanced Level courses? Ms. Raybon has been very instrumental in making these changes as the Director or FBPE (or pushing for that at the moment as of the last few FBPE meeting minutes). It sucks a lot of applicants probably gave up in the past because of this hurdle but I’m glad FBPE and NCEES are acknowledging the mandatory rigorous nature of the British based High school systems (similar to the optional US Advanced Placement Courses) when it comes to admission to national colleges.

  20. Hi Dave,

    I was interested in this comment below:

    “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.”

    I have a 4 year Bachelors engineering degree and Masters from an ABET equivalent Canadian University, and a Ph.D. in the sciences but was told by NCEES that I am deficient in social sciences and humanities. I was considering going the Texas route but would still have to sit for the FE. I live in PA and have worked for an Engineering firm for nearly 10 years. Was this loophole for the EIT only in FL?

    Thanks

    1. Hi Judd,

      In Florida, you can sit for the EIT without your social sciences and humanities credits. I’m not aware of the stance of other engineering boards, so it’s worth looking at PA rules. If they don’t allow it, you might consider checking whether Florida will let you sit for the FE without living here. I couldn’t take the FE in Texas because I wasn’t a resident, even though that wasn’t the case for the PE. If Florida (or anywhere else) does allow you to sit for the FE without the humanities and social sciences hours AND without being a resident, your best route is to take the FE there and then take the PE in Texas or South Carolina.

      Good luck!

    2. Hi Judd,
      I live in PA. My education was from India. I applied to NY Board for F.E. Exam and they readily allowed me to take the exam after I sent my transcript directly from my college. NY Board does their own evaluaiton.
      I gave my CBT FE Exam in PA and passed. When I went to NY Board to get the EIT Certificate, they denied and said they will issue P.E. Certificiate when I am eligible to take that and pass.

      So, I went to California Board for the certificate. The process was simple and got my EIT certificate in two weeks.

      Thanks.

  21. Hi there,

    I am asking this question on behalf of my friend.

    He has enough experience for PE, he has already completed his FE, degree evaluated and good to go.

    Since he is Indian student , NJ board is asking him to give TOFEL (English learning ) exam first and then he can appear for PE exam

    He is thinking to give PE from another board, say from Texas.

    Can he do that? later he wants to transfer his PE licence from Texas to NJ.

    If he ask to transfer his license in future, will the board ask for TOFEL again?
    (assume he is already having Texas license that that time )

    1. Hi Saurabh,

      Whether or not NJ will allow you to transfer your friend’s license from TX will all depend on the state’s specific rules. Upon quick review, the New Jersey PE Comtiy application indicates that the applicant must pass the TOEFL exam, as you indicate is required for the initial PE application process. Save waiting and hoping for the NJ board to relax this requirement, it seems that there is no advantage to getting a PE in another state in the hope of circumventing the TOEFL requirement.

  22. Hey Dave.
    My graduate major is hydrogeology and environmental engineering. I have my EIT certificate from CA, a PhD from an american univ, 5 years of engineering research experience as a PhD candidate at school, and zero work experience outside school in the US. Only 2-3 years experience outside US in a tiny company. My BS is not abet, and I dont feel okay doing the evaluation. Do you think I better to do that?
    Also, if I get the PE in CA (without evaluation), then:
    Can I transfer it to MA, still with no evaluation?

    Thank you
    Robert

    1. Hi Robert,

      I;m not sure of the rules in CA, but are you able to get a PE without having your degree evaluated? I’d be very surprised if you could. Regardless, if you do, it is likely that MA will require you to have the same credentials whether applying for the first time or whether applying for licensure by endorsement from another state. You’ll have to check MA’s rules and options on becoming a PE when you’re already a PE in another state.

      My guess is that you’ll need to get your degree evaluated.

  23. Sorry you had to go through all that to get a PE license. I am a licensed Florida PE ( went to UCF) and hated every minute of humanities I had to take. It has nothing to do with engineering and I don’t see why you have to waste time, effort and money on these classes. But the PE exam was much harder!! ( I did pass the first time)
    Good luck getting your Florida PE!

    Sophia

  24. Hi Dave! What a story! Definitely very very encouraging.

    I´m a spanish engineer(26 years old) got my Bachellors in barcelona and did a masters in the US. Worked in TX for three years and then went back to Spain to work for a big civil engineering firm.
    I was thinking about it and will try pass the PE exam, I have everything I need, experience, references, passed the FE exam…. the only thing that is kind of bugging me is the fact that I dont currently reside in the US. Do you know if that is a requirement?

    Thanks much!! :)

    1. I think that the residency requirement only applies for the FE exam (in Texas at least). You’ll need to take the exam in Texas (if that’s your chosen path), but I don’t see any reason you couldn’t apply for the PE. Another consideration is that the four years of work experience (to my recollection) needs to be under the supervision of a licensed professional engineer, so I think you’re a year short in terms of work experience. Good luck!

  25. Dave, thanks so much for your reply. I’m only required three years experience since I have a masters degree. It’s 4 years for a bachelors degree and 3 if you have a masters degree.
    Greetings from Barcelona!!!

  26. Hi Dave,

    I am a mechanical engineer in NY, I have a similar problem. I graduated from non abet programs, bachelor in physics and master in mechanical engineering. NYS said I need total 12 years experience to get PE, 6 years for FE, and another 6 after that for PE. They give me 3 years experience for my bachelor in physics and 1 year for my master. Now I just have 2 years work experience left to take the FE, but recently my friend told me I can take FE in CA with a combine 3 years experience from post-secondary engineering education and work experience, which I qualify and I did got a confirmation from CA people.
    So If I take FE from CA, I could save that one year off FE instead of taking in NY, after getting the FE, would it be able to “transfer” to NY? I don’t have that much hope.

    I’ve been looking around for other state to take FE early, but I think CA is my best bet. but waiting 6 years after FE just in order to take PE is a little too much to swallow.

    Wai

    1. Hi Wai,

      Yes, unless there’s some special rule in NY that I’m not aware of, the FE (and PE) exam is a national exam and once you’ve passed it, you’ve passed it, regardless of what state you took it in. Where people get tripped up is the other requirements that the state boards have, such as requiring that you take classes to make your degree equivalent to that of an ABET degree before issuing a PE. Good luck!

    2. Wai, It appears we have taken very similar paths. Im Physics BS, Mechanical MS, live in NY, though I did wait out the experience years and am currently a PE in NY. My struggle is states like Ohio, NJ, FL, who dont even recognize experience based paths to licensure. Have you had any success getting your degree evaluated since this post?

      1. I moved to Oregon a couple of years ago and when I did, I had to get my degree evaluated again by NCEES. At least this time, NCEES agrees to my education, and I can use that to apply to other states.

  27. Hi Dave,
    I am an Algerian civil engineer and have a Master degree in Hydraulics engineering.
    I won on the DV Lottery 2016 and would like to know what should I do to become eligible to pass the FE exam. And which state is better to start.

    1. Hi Tako,

      Congratulations on your visa! Your first step in becoming eligible for the FE is getting your Masters degree evaluated for equivalency. Check with your state’s engineering board to see what entity should do this (most now accept NCEES). I don’t think there’s much difference in what states require for taking the FE, so just do whatever is most convenient for you (start with where you live/work). Good luck!

  28. I wanted to take the PE exam in Civil for October 2015, but California and New Jersey which I had in mind to take the exam in have both passed their deadline for application. However, I found out that I can take the exam in Arizona through NCEES directly, without submitting anything to AZ board of Professional Engineers until hopefully the exam is passed on this October. Do you think if passing the exam on October and then applying to get registered in AZ will give me the chance of transferring my PE registration to either NJ or CA? I mean, I understand that there are other documents and requirements that either of these two states might require differently, but doesn’t it at least get the job done with the examination part of the process? Or should I take a second PE exam for NJ or CA in the future? I know however that NJ requires a law-kinda exam and CA requires a seismic and land surveying exam in addition to the PE examination, but passing the exam through NCEES-Arizona, would it be accepted by NJ or CA as for the PE morning/evening examination?

    1. I haven’t come across this situation before. I’d look at the application forms for NJ and CA and see if it asks you whether you have passed the PE exam. If it does, it will likely ask you in what state. This means that they’ll go to that state’s engineering board and ask them to verify it. If you take the exam in AZ, does the AZ board of professional engineers get notified, such that they could confirm that you have passed the PE? Another option is that NJ/CA might be able to confirm you having passed the exam directly with NCEES but you’ll have to check with them. Let us know what you find out.

  29. Hello Dave,

    To add to your inundation with questions, I have one of my own. I did my research, sent an email here and thee but couldn’t find an answer. So, I’m hoping after having danced around state boards, you’re familiar with the different licensing rules. Here is my story:

    I am from Saudi Arabia. I did my undergrad in the Lone Star State. Now I’m back in my home country with a 4-year experience in a major oil company. I took my PE exam here with the Saudi Council of Engineers (SCE) and I have successfully passed the exam. While pursuing licensure from the SCE Board, I came to learn that they are pretty demanding the experience filed. To be licensed as a professional engineer, you would have to garner 9 years of experience. That’s right. 9 years!! they’ll let you take the test, but you won’t get a certification number until you’ve satisfied their experience requirment. So, I started looking for other options. I’m going to grad school in California in 3 months. Is it possible that you have a PE pass in one state then you pursue your first licensure in another?

    Please let me know.

    Thanks,
    Mohammed

    1. Hi Mohammed,

      The PE exam is a national exam, so once you’ve passed it in one state, you’ve passed it in every state. It’s just that each state board will require for you to apply to them to make sure that you have met all of their criteria for licensure which varies from state to state including work experience and education requirements.

      In your situation though, you’re talking about taking the PE exam in CA for licensure in another state. I don’t think this is generally possible as you need to take the exam in the state in which you are applying for licensure in. So if you’re seeking a CA PE, you’ll take your exam in PE, but if you want to get licensed in TX for example, you’ll have to fly to TX to take the exam (as I did).

      Hope that helps.

  30. Does this mean I have to take the PE exam again? I already passed it in my “state”. Yet, I am having this problem because my international board with whom i took the PE exam only recently started administering it and they don’t have everything figured out. Now i’m left with a PE pass and no licensure hope. That’s why I’m looking for any other state board that would give me a license and accept my foreign experience. ps- My company follows US design codes and standards.

    Is there any hope for me?

    1. Oh I see. In that case, if you have passed the NCEES PE exam, you won’t have to do that again. I’m not sure of the best state to get licensed in, but I’d definitely looking at Texas

      1. Texas seems like one of the few states that accept foreign experience. So, I guess I’ll approach them in september and see where that train takes me.

        Anyway, Thanks for your help, Dave.

  31. Hi Dave,
    I did undergrad in Mechanical Engineering(4 Year) from India. The name of collage is B.V.M. Engineering Collage, Vallabh Vidyanager, Gujarat, India. I did M.S. Mechanical engineering from NewJersey Institute of Technology, NJ-USA. I would like to appear in FE and then achieve PE too. Do i need to submit Credit Evaluation for FE test in New Jesrsey state? How about for PE after I am done with FE. I did graduate from NJIT in May 2008.
    Please advise.
    -Thank you.

    1. You will still need to have your education evaluated I believe. Once you’ve had that done, applied for and achieved the FE, you should be able to sit for the PE using the same credentials evaluation as you had to do for your PE, unless you go through a different state board. If you’re doing both in NJ, then one evaluation should suffice (assuming not too much time passes between getting your evaluation done and applying for your PE)

  32. Hi Dave,

    I am a registered Professional Engineer (PEng, Civil Engineering) in the province of Ontario Canada and have my masters and phd degrees from a Canadian University. In addition, I have 4 years work experience under the supervision of a PEng, 1.5 year of which is after becoming P.Eng.

    In these circumstances, could you let me know if I still need my courses to be evaluated before appearing for FE exam? Do you need any US work experience under the supervision of an US PE to appear for the FE examination?

    Once I pass the FE examination, how many additional years of experience do I need to be a PE in California/New York/NC/SC/TX?

    Thanks very much in advance.

    1. TS,

      Generally, work experience makes no difference when it comes to your education credentials. If your degree is not ABET-accredited, you’ll need to get your degree evaluated (although, you’re probably covered under the Washington Accord, so you could be OK in Texas – see other discussions here about the Washington Accord). Some states will require that your work experience be under the supervision of a PE, while others will merely require that you have the experience.

      Once you pass the FE, there’s no time limit before taking the PE – once you have the required experience (whether before FE or after) you can apply for the PE. I’d definitely start by looking at Texas in your scenario.

      1. Hello,

        I’m actually in a very similar situation now, 8 years work experience, 2 years with P.Eng. from Ontario Canada. I received my bachelors from the University of Waterloo in 2008 (Ontario).

        I was just going to submit the “ENDORSEMENT APPLICATION FOR NON-NCEES RECORDS PARTICIPANTS” listing my Ontario Experience and see what they reply back to me.

        Does that make sense to do? I gather from reading this that Florida will request a NCEES credential evaluation. Seems crazy to spend $350 on that when I’ve been working for so many years as an Engineer, I’m definitely not a new grad.

        Thanks for the post, I appreciate you taking the time to explain this route.

  33. Dave,
    Brilliant post, thank you very much for sharing your experience

    I would like to go for a FE/PE in the US (ideally in CA / NY) and my situation is as follows:

    *) 5-year Master’s degree from an Italian University, not ABET-accredited and not covered by the Washington Accord
    *) Italian citizenship and UK residence. I do not live/work in the States
    *) 8 ½ years’ work experience in the UK (currently employed by a large firm in London). Some of my UK bosses are PE’s
    *) No US experience, not currently living in the US.

    Do you know if there is a state where a PE license can be obtained:
    *) with my credentials (see above)
    *) without working / living in the US
    *) without any US work experience

    Thanks,
    Paolo

    1. Paolo,

      To the best of my knowledge, you’ll at least need to get your education credentials evaluated to have them compared to an ABET degree, since you’re not covered under the Washington Accord. NCEES provides a service for doing this that is supported by most state engineering boards. I don’t believe that not living or working in the US is a problem and generally, I don’t think that your work experience needs to be in the US either, though some states may ask that your work experience be under the supervision of a registered PE, which it sounds like you have covered (I’m assuming that you meant that some of your bosses are PEs and not CEngs). With all that said, I don’t know that any one state is better than another – pick the one you’d most like to visit when you come to take your PE exam.

  34. You might think twice about keeping your Texas PE active. If you have to apply to another state, you will still need Texas to verify your original test scores with any other state you wish to license in. Look around online, there are many horror stories about people who let an original license lapse and had to retake the exam before being approved in another state.

  35. Hi Dave ,

    This Blog was really really useful.
    I have some questions very specific to Texas PE license.

    1) Does it help to get H1-B visas?

    A) My Backgroud:
    I completed my undergraduate degree: Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics & Communications, from Gujarat University, India. I have 27 years of work experience in Instrumentation and Control Systems. Will this be an issue that my undergraduate major is not the same as the field of experience?

    It is a state university and is recognized by the National Board of Accreditation, India as a Tier 1 university. According to this website: http://www.nbaind.org/files/tier1_web_register.aspx , National Board of Accreditation(NBA) has been accorded permanent Signatory status of Washington Accord on 13th June 2014. As per Washington Accord agreement, Recognition of programmes by other signatories applies only to programmes accredited by NBA that are offered by education providers accepted by NBA as Tier 1 Institutions.

    I believe my university should be thus recognized by Washington Accord.
    1) Do I still require a degree evaluation process ?
    2) My course didn’t have humanities requirements. How should I take care of this before appearing for a FE exam or PE exam?

    B) Work Experience:
    I have 27 years of work experience in top Oil and Gas companies: in India – 13 years, Middle East – 14 years.
    1) Will I get a waiver for the FE exam based on this work experience? What are the steps for it?
    2) I haven’t worked under a PE supervisor so far in my career. How should I deal with that for Texas Licensure?

    C) FE exam :
    Incase I don’t qualify for a waiver:
    1) I believe one has to be a resident of Texas state to give the FE exam there. I am not a US citizen, or a resident. Can I give the FE exam at the Sharjah, UAE center and give the PE exam in Texas?
    2) If FE exam needs to be given in USA too, which states allow non-citizens and non residents to give the exam ?

    D) PE exam :
    I want to get a PE license in Texas.
    1) But can I still apply for jobs in other states ? I want to be able to apply for as many jobs in the oil and gas sector.
    2) Does a Texas license work in some of the other states? If yes, then which states?

    E) TOEFL:
    1) Do I need to give the TOEFL exam before appearing for FE or PE exam?
    2) Can I get a waiver for the TOEFL exam if I get a letter from my supervisor saying that I am competent enough in this language?
    3) Is TOEFL required for H1-B visa.

    1. Monil,

      I try to give as much help as I can, but there’s a lot of requests here, so I’m just going to answer each one briefly. You’ll do well to research the Texas Board’s rules.

      – Getting an H1B visa makes no difference to your application.
      – It sounds like you probably are covered by the Washington Accord, in which case, an evaluation of your degree would not be needed. As such, you don’t need to worry about humanities either.
      – Have you heard of such a waiver for FE? I knew a British engineer that had 20 years of heavy civil experience and still needed to take the FE.
      – I couldn’t take the FE in Texas because I live in Florida. As such, taking the exam in UAE (for the Texas board anyway) is undoubtedly out of the question. Not sure what states allow you to take the FE either as a non-resident or as an alien (non-citizen), or both.
      – Your PE license doesn’t limit you to where you can live or work. However, if you apply for a job in NY and you have a TX PE, that might be a roadblock unless your employer doesn’t care, or you can reassure them that you will get your NY PE when possible. Every state requires their own license: you cannot use a TX license anywhere but TX (and likewise for the 49 others).
      – Not sure on the TOEFL requirements as it’s a bridge I’ve never had to cross, but I do remember for one of my applications having to have my supervisor certify that I had a comprehensive understanding of the English language (since I was/am not a US citizen) and I should think so too being that I’m British!
      – I am not aware of any of the requirements surrounding H1-B, as I have a green card.

      Good luck to you!

  36. I am a licensed engineer of English Ancestry…Just wondering if we’re related.

    Brice Patrick Clements, P.E.

  37. Hi Dave,

    I will be moving to California in a couple of weeks (im from the Philippines).
    I really learned a lot from your article! 1st step, i need to do is get my transcript evaluated, and then take the EIT exam if needed. Thanks!

  38. I am a Structural Engineer with 46 years of extensive experience in structural design, in Pakistan. Both local and international projects. I migrated to Houston Texas in 2014. While looking for jobs pertaining to Design Review or 3rd Party Review, etc. I notice the requirement of PE license. Not in a mood to go for that at this stage. Can somebody advise me if there is a way out.

    Mufti

    1. If you need to be a Professional Engineer for your job or for your duties, then there’s no getting out of that unless you can work under the responsible charge of another PE. As far as going through the motions of getting your education and experience evaluated, there’s really no “way out” – you just need to work through it I’m afraid.

      1. Thanks Dave! I think it will be more convenient to work under the charge of another PE, as suggested by you.

        Mufti

  39. Hello Dave. This is very informative forum. I need to ask two questions. I hope you will help me.

    1.I am a mechanical engineer from Pakistani University and degree is recognized by Pakistan Education Council (PEC). Upon my research, I found out that The Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) became a provisional member of the Washington Accord. I have 2 years been working in powergen firm for the past 2 years. I recently got married to a US citizen and processing time left is 4 months left. I am going to move to Miami, Florida and intending to do my field based job. I have heard there would be some test for equivalency test conducted for foreign degree holders? And some FE (Fundamental of Engineering) is required for it? And then PE. Are they necessary for getting my field job? I can give any test for ensuring equivalency of my degree to USA education system. But why FE? And seeing FE sample test scared me because after two years, it seems that I have forgotten major parts of my field. Please guide me the steps i should take after entering USA. CAN I GET JOB OFFER WITHOUT HAVING FE TEST? Needs your guidance in this regard.

    2. I have a plan to do masters after 1 year in my field. For that, I am going to take GRE test and score good marks. Is there anything needed other than that for getting admission in USA universities?

    1. In order to get licensed in Florida, you’ll need to have your degree evaluated for equivalency to a US (ABET) degree and make up any deficiencies that are found. After that, you must take and pass the FE exam: this is a prerequisite to taking the PE and cannot be avoided. Whether or not you actually need your PE is dependent on whether you’ll be signing and sealing any drawings, documents, reports or applications and whether your employer requires you to have one for your position.

      Each school has different rules on what is needed to apply, so I’d take a look at the enrollment process for the school that you’ll likely be attending. There are rules around residency, citizenship, English-speaking ability etc.

      1. I see. Thank you for that information.

        1. Dave, I got low CGPA in my academics. 2.4CGPA (56.6 percent). Can I be able to get admission in any university in Miami? Will it be an obstacle in my job hunt? Please advise.

        2. Is master degree essential for a foreign degree holder for jobs? Please advise. I heard my friend just after his foreign degree equivalency evaluation earning quite well regardless any masters and FE exam yet. So your reason justifies that it depends upon the the company you working in whether you will require to be PE or not.

          1. I have no idea. I have no experience with applying to universities in the States so I don’t know how your situation will impact your application.
          2. A Master’s degree is not essential. I’m a foreign degree holder and only have a Bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, getting a Master’s degree would have only resulted in me taking more technical classes (which I already had enough of in my equivalency): it wouldn’t have helped to make up my deficiency in humanities and social sciences. I’d start with a Bachelor’s degree, get an evaluation done and just take whatever classes you need to to make your degree acceptable to the state Board that you’re applying to.
  40. Hi Dave. i have non-ABET foreign degree. I copy-pasted Delaware State Board rule below. Is that means i need 8 years experience after a succesful NCEES evaluation?

    Experience: Graduates from an ABET-accredited engineering curriculum are required to have four (4) years of acceptable, verifiable engineering experience. All other graduates (non-ABET accredited engineering, engineering technology, or science-related to engineering programs) are required to have eight (8) years of acceptable, verifiable engineering experience.

    1. That’s correct Mike. Unfortunately, since you don’t have an ABET-accredited degree, you’re stuck with needing 8 years of experience. You might look into whether DE has a similar option to what I did in FL, where I got licensed in TX (with my foreign degree), waited two years and then got licensed by endorsement in FL.

  41. Hai Dave,

    Really your work is fantastic. I am chithra from India. I am working as project officer in Indian Institute of Technology. I have 1.5 years total work experience in structural field. I did my bachelors degree (B.E. Civil Engineering) in India and pursued my masters degree (MSc civil and structural engineering) in university of glamorgan, UK. I am searching a job in USA. So will PE license help me to get job in US?. And am i eligible for it. Can i apply it from India?.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Chithra,

      A PE is part of the natural career progression in the States, but since you only have 1.5 years of work experience, you’re ont yet eligible for your PE exam anyway. With that said, if you had 20 years of experience, you’d really be expected to have your PE so that you can lead projects and sign and seal the documents. To the best of my knowledge, you may be able to apply for the exam from India (after you’ve got at least 3-4 years of work experience, depending on the state you apply to) but you’ll almost certainly need to take the exam in the States.

      All the best!

  42. Hi Dave,

    Thank you for writing this! I finished my PhD in December 2014. My Bachelor’s is from outside US and hence I got my degree verified through NCEES. Their report was no surprise and my Bachelor’s degree lacked in 7 credit hours of General Science. However, l was told that FBPE now has new rules and taking courses is not the only way to make up for the deficient credits. I am planning to give my EIT this November (I know I am late!). My question is do I need to have 2 years of engineering work experience after EIT (for PE) or my experience before I clear my EIT would also count? Thank you!!

    1. No, I don’t think so. You just have to have 3 years of work experience and it’s irrelevant when you earned your EIT in that window. I took my EIT and took my PE in the very next cycle (6 months later).

      1. Thank you! I thought since I have a PhD, I will be eligible to take the PE exam after 2 years of experience. Is it 3 years?

  43. Hi dave,

    I have gone through Florida website.
    Its complicated for me to revise everything for these exams all over again.

    What if I do not evaluate my foreign mechanical engineering degree and do not take FE exam. Will i get job? I just need a good job. And Can i be inducted in masters program if i apply?

    1. It’ll be more difficult to get a job for sure, but not impossible. I don’t see that not having your FE/PE would ever preclude you from getting a Master’s degree.

  44. Hi Dave,

    My name is Maddie and I am currently a junior at a ABET university in Florida. I am struggling to understand the options available after completing my Bachelors in Civil Engineering. My plan when first going into college was to complete my BS and MS in a 4+1 program at my school (where I get my MS in Italy and am certified in both countries) which allows me to obtain both degrees in 5 years, instead of 6. However, after going halfway through, I am beginning to get antsy and want to complete school and get into the field as soon as possible. So, I started thinking about going into a EIT position after my BS and just working up the ladder (FE then EIT then PE). I don’t know which option to pick, because my MS would be almost entirely loan based ($60000 plus transportation to and from Italy with possibility of <40% partial scholarships) but I also don't want to wait years and years in an EIT position (with a lower salary) and forget some material for the countless exams ahead. I want to live in California, so I also need assistance on the regulations in CA. Should I power through and get my MS right after? Would I need additional years of experience before being eligible for the PE exam and 2 other CA civil exams? What are the advantages of getting my master's? Or should I go into an EIT position after passing my FE exam? How many years of experience would I need to take the PE in CA? Just really need some advice/guidance from someone who has already been through the system.

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Maddie,

      In my opinion, unless your Master’s degree specialises you in a field that you have a passion and desire to follow, it’s simply not worth it. Get your Bachelor’s degree and get into work as soon as possible.

      In California, you can sit for the FE exam after three years of college education (see the California Business and Professions Code paragraph 6751(a)(2).) and for the PE exam you need 6 years of experience (paragraph 6751(b)(2)). As such, getting your Bachelor’s degree and working to earn that experience is the quickest way to professional registration.

      Good luck!

  45. Dave,

    First of all I would like to thank you for sharing your experience and at the same time giving hope to people-like myself- that is looking for professional improvement and growth as a foreign professional in US.

    I got my 5 year degree in Mechanical Engineering in Venezuela(South America) and also +5 years experience working as an Engineer at different levels.

    I have been living in FL since 2013 and after two years I finally got a job into the field working as an MEP engineering assistant with an architect firm here in FL with an in house licensed PE.

    I am seeking to get my PE and started to make my research on it so I would like to ask you.

    – Would you recommend any agency that can provide assistance regarding this process?
    – Does this FBPE has any support or customer service for inquiry about this?
    – Can you take the FE exam without having full credentials?

    At this moment I am starting this and I won’t stop until I succeed.

    Just need some guidance about where to start.

    Thank you.

    By the way congratulations for that Goal Achieved! PE!

    1. Hi Gilbert,

      Congrats and the job and on moving towards your PE. In response to your questions:

      – I never used a “consultancy” for this process – I just figured everything out from my own research, so I don’t really have any recommendations or even know of such a company.
      – FBPE doesn’t have any customer service, but they do have “Licensure Analysts” whose job is to specifically go over these sorts of issues with people. You can find a list of current Licensure Analysts on FBPE’s Contact Us page under the Administrative Contacts” section.
      – You can take the FE without full credentials, as I did. Once I had my degree evaluated, it showed deficiencies compared to an ABET degree in science, and social sciences and humanities. FBPE will allow you to take the FE if your only deficiency is social sciences and humanities, so I made up my science hours and then took the FE.

      Good luck to you!

      1. David,

        Many thanks for your valuable information.

        I am a civil engineer with 22 years of design and project management in Morocco and Dubai, I have been looking for a job for more than a year but no luck in Orlando FL, when ever I find a job that suits my experience, it always required a PE.

        I am looking for Project management job, does it need a PE?

        If the degree is from a non accredited school, we have take both FE and PE? experience does not help to skip FE exam??

        Kind Regards

        Fatima

        1. Hi Fatima,

          A Project Manager position does not typically require a PE, but the employer can require whatever they wish of their candidates. You’re only legally required to be a PE if you’re performing engineering work, but many employers prefer that their PMs are PEs because it shows their competency and that they have performed engineering work and are capable of speaking about it at a high level.

          And sadly, experience is no substitute for an accredited or approved education in Florida. You’ll have to go through the process of getting your degree(s) evaluated before being able to sit for the FE 9and ultimately, the PE).

          Good luck to you!

  46. Hey Dave, I actually feel pretty good coming across this blog. Your story is very similar to mines and I m really looking for someone to help me out with some concerns im having. Maybe you can.
    Im 23 years old and Im graduating in the end of the year Electric Engineering in Brazil. I lived in the USA from 7-18 years and I came back to Brasil because my parents did, so Im graduating as an engineer here. Anyways, when I came back to Brasil I left my girlfriend there and we have been in a long distant relationship for about 5 years now ( 7 years together). She is graduating to be a teacher there in Maryland. My concerns are, is there any way I can validate my Electric Engineering degree in the US? We are getting married and I will be legal, my only worry is with my degree..
    We dont really care where we are in the US, we just really want to work there. What do I need to do? I really hope you can help me or direct me somewhere since your situation is very similar to mines.

    1. Hi Lucas,

      I came across this page from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation which effectively says that holders of foreign degrees must have their education evaluated. This is fairly standard practice in most states. Since your education is from Brazil, which is not a signatory to the Washington Accord, there’s really no benefit of one state over the other. In general, you will have to have your degree evaluated by the State board before you’ll be eligible to register for any exam, which may require you to take additional courses to match your Brazilian education with that of an ABET degree. Good luck!

      1. Thank you Dave for you reply, so if Im planning on working in Florida I should contact the State board of education?

        1. No, you’ll want to decide which state you’re going to register in and then see what that state’s Engineering Board education requirements are. Each one has different methods that they will allow foreign degrees to be evaluated. Many support having your degree evaluated by NCEES (the body that also administers the exam), but you’ll want to make sure that your state does.

          1. Ok sounds good, do you recommend a state that is less strict with this situation? Maybe Texas?

          2. Lucas, the main benefit of Texas is that they abide by the Washington Accord which helps foreign degree holders from certain countries. Sadly, Brazil is not one of those countries, so you can expect the same process in Texas as in most other states. You should simply pick the state that you want to live in, or will live in, as there’s no real differentiation between the process that you’re going to have to go through in any state.

  47. Hello Dave, thank you for your info.
    I have a Civil engineering degree from Ethiopia and i would like to work at US i have 4yr of experience so my question is how?

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