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.
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.
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).
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.
..and one more thing how could i also evaluated my degree at US ?
First, you need to decide where you’re going to work: this will dictate the exact rules regarding professional registration. In general, because your degree is from Ethiopia (not governed by the Washington Accord), there’s little difference from state to state on the requirements for getting registered (except those states with “extra” requirements, like California). Your work experience will likely need to have been under the supervision of a registered professional engineer for it to count, but it depends on the state you’re registering in.
Hi Dave , I am Deepak Rana from India i read about your story, i have the same kind of story that i fall in love with a American girl and going to marry her this December but i have a question regarding my future that i did my B.tech in civil engineering and right now i am pursuing MBA in construction project management . so my question is can i get the job by the education that i have or i have to go for PE test or any degree evaluation. How i will eligible for job in construction field or what are the requirements from their side. Please Suggest me regarding this, i will be very thankful to u.
You’re on a level playing field with American college graduates in that all you have is your education (no work experience, no PE). India is now a signatory to the Washington Accord for certain degrees, so you may be eligible to sit for the PE without having to take any extra courses. Check here for more information on whether your degree is covered. Either way, you’re very eligible for jobs so long as you can work out the immigration issues (H1B visas are much hard to come by these days).
Sorry i forget to mention that i did my education from India and wanna to settle in America(Texas)
Hi, thank you so much for your effort and time by giving a lot of information for people you don’t know!!
My situation is the following: BS degree (Sciences) outside US, MS degree (Computer Engineering) from ABET US university (2 years program), and PhD degree (Electrical Engineering) from ABET US university (5 years program).
What are my changes of sitting for a PE in Oregon? Any other state would shortcut my path?
The fact that your BS is from outside the US will be a barrier for you. Where exactly is the degree from?
Hi Dave, congrats for your career and for this page, you’re really becoming a reference point for international engineers who want to license here. And this is great.
I’m an Italian Professional Engineer(with Master’s Degree from Italian Univ.) and I would like to take the EIT certificate here in the states, just the EIT not PE, since I’m here for a limited time. I’ve had my degree evaluated for licensure on the Florida Board of Professional Engineers (I live in Miami) and they told me I miss something like 30 credits in basic science and general culture so I need to go back to school again… The question is, do you happen to know if there are other states in the US where they can allow me to take the EIT without going back to school?
I know that every state has its own rules, so maybe there is one that can fully recognize my degree, or at least allow me to take the EIT even if I miss credits. Anyway if I cannot take licensure after the FE exam until I haven’t recovered all the credits, it doesn’t really matter, cause I’m gonna go back in a year or at most one year and a half.
Thank you for any advice you will be able to give me.
And I really hope that my question will be useful for other Italian engineers here in the US.
Sadly, Italy is not a signatory to the Washington Accord, so you won’t be eligible to take the exam in TX or SC. If you’ve had your degree evaluated and you’re that short in those areas, I’d say that you’re not likely to have much more luck in any other state than you are in Florida. In Florida however, you can take your FE if you’re only lacking hours in humanities or social sciences, so depending on how many of those 30 hours are missing in basic science and math, it might not be too bad. Also, FBPE is soon to release, or has released, updated rules on getting foreign degrees evaluated, which are supposed to make it easier for foreigners to work and get registered in Florida, so be on the lookout for those. All the best Giacomo
Got a degree outside the US, (Philippines).
Been out of school for 10 years, I graduated in 2005, worked in an engineering industry for about a year, then in 2006 I moved to the US,been unemployed for 3-4 years. Till one day I decided to do a research on how to perhaps validate my degree here.. I tried Florida board since i’m currently residing in Miami, so, you know i did have my credentials evaluated. As a result, they agency told me that i’m lacking about 16 credits.
Then, i found your story thru this blog. Texas huh? Never really thought about it, you mentioned about Washington Accord, then I checked if Phillipines is one if the signatories..there it was, Philippines on the bottom. I was just wondering, how did you apply for the FE exam? Did you just submit your credentials to the Texas board and got an answer if your eligible or not? Will you provide me the link on how to process the application(Texas board)..
Any favorable assistance regarding this matter will be highly apprecaited.
Thank you very much.
At the time, to take the FE in Texas, you had to be a resident of Texas, so I pursued taking the FE in Florida. After I passed that, I then proceed to take the PE in Texas, thanks to the Washington Accord. It now seems that the requirement to be a Texas resident to take the FE may no longer apply. Here’s some good information from NCEES: http://ncees.org/exams/state-pages/texas-engineering-exam-registration/
I am gretchen and am digging the web to research about getting my license here in the US as Electrical Engineer. I live in Illinois, and I have been applying jobs related in my field in the last 4 months and i really have a hard time looking for one so I decided to work in getting my FE have additional qualification in my resume. I want to ask if have you started with your credential evaluation?
Do you still need to get evaluation from NCEES if you already had your degree evaluated by other eccredited evaluator?
I am a Canadian citizen with a master degree in civil structural engineering and a PE in four provinces (6 years of experience). I am willing to move to the US because I am tired of the cold weather. Do you have an idea about the options that I have? Also am I allowed to pass the PE exam in US?
Assuming that your degree was earned by an accredited institution in Canada, your degree is covered by the Washington Accord which will make earning your PE in Texas and South Carolina easy. If your degree is ABET-accredited, that’s even better and you’re in the same situation as any US-degree holder. Your citizenship is not a limiter in your application: merely where your degree was earned.
I am applying for the PE license in texas. I am PE from Canada. I need to more references with US peng to complete my application. I recently moved to US. Do u know how I can get these two references with US peng. I was informed about this by the board just a week back. I had already submitted 10 referrals, but still couldnt satisfy their needs. Please can you help me!
Sorry Krishna – if you haven’t worked with US PEs, you can’t simply make it up. If the Board requires you to document some experience under the responsible charge of a PE, then you’ll have to provide just that.
Hi Dave, thanks for the amazing blog. I have an unusual circumstance and was wondering if anyone could give helpful insights here. I have my BSc in civil engineering ( 4 years program) from Afghanistan. then i got a master degree in public policy from Germany and another master degree in construction management from US. I am not sure whether all these degrees would count for anything to do my EIT. Interesting is, ( and i figured this out after i finished my master degree) that my US master is not ABET accredited. I was wondering what should be my first step to start this process. I contacted my board and they said ” we recommend that you evaluate your degree before you take the exam. The board my or may not accept your EIT scores if you don’t evaluate your degree in advance” . this is avery vague answer to begin with. I heard that Michegan is pretty linient when it comes to EIT exam takers. do you know which states are more flexible when it comes to EIT exam takers and would not give too much trouble to take this exam?
Your US Masters degree is unlikely to be ABET-accredited, because it’s in Construction Management rather than a technical degree. As such, I think that the Board’s suggestion of getting your degree evaluated is probably the best start. I’d have it done by NCEES because their evaluations are accepted by most state boards. I’m afraid that I’m not really aware of any one board being more “lenient” than another when it comes to getting your degree evaluated and EIT taken, but let me know if you find out otherwise.
Thank you for this post, I have recently finished my master degree in Trinity College Dublin, and did my Bachelors in University College Cork ( all in Ireland) which is a country covered for the 1989 agreement in Washington Accord , I have moved to UAE recently and will be moving the State soon, so I would like to do the FE exam for the moment in American University of Sharja.
1- Should I do the evaluation process first or how does it work because I am a bit confused?
2- if I do the FE exam in UAE will be recognize in the State?
Thank you for your help
Can you link me to some information about how you can take the FE exam in UAE? Typically, you need to take the exam in the state that you intend to get licensed by. Most boards require that you apply to them to take the FE before you actually take it, so it would be best to settle on what state you’re going to seek licensure in and apply to that state’s engineering board. Given that you’re covered by the Washington Accord, I’d suggest starting with either Texas or South Carolina, both of which recognise the Washington Accord for meeting the education requirements.
thank you very much for the reply, ya the UAE exam is still not clear, I have emailed them and waiting for a reply to get more info (here is the link :http://www.aus.edu/info/200194/new_student_information/351/testing_center/6)
Ok that makes more sense, sorry im still newly graduated so these info are all new to me. Yes so ill be in new york first, so for example if i get the FE exam in Texas or south carolina, should i be working there until i get the PE exam or i can work wherever in the state? and if you get licensed in one stated, would be recognized in another? it is just confusing compared to Europe (sorry about many questions)
OK, after looking into it a little more, I can provide some more advice to you. There are several locations where you can take the FE and PE exam internationally, including UAE. However, there is no benefit to doing this if you already live in the States, as whether you take the exam in New York or UAE, you still need to apply to the NY board of engineering to register as a Professional Engineer, and meet all of their requirements, including education and work experience.
I’m not aware of any states where it matters what state your work experience is in (I took the PE exam in Texas, even though my work experience was in Florida). There’s no sense in relocating for that sense. However, if it is particularly burdensome to take the FE/PE in NY, it may be worthwhile applying to other states where the requirements are more lax (e.g. SC, TX) and then applying for reciprocity/comity/license by endorsement in NY. If you are interested in that approach, check New York’s requirements for transferring licenses from other states first (to make sure it makes sense to do it that way).
Having read this discussion for the first time and with great interest – I totally agree with everyone here, such a great job you are doing by sharing your knowledge and experience.
As others, I need your expertise too and would be much obliged to have your opinion on my situation.
I am intending to obtain a Colorado PE licence for employment. Below is the summary of my educational qualifications and work experience (in chronological order):
• Graduate from an engineering technology curriculum (five years Bachelor degree from India);
• Graduate from an engineering technology curriculum (one year Master degree from the UK);
• Eight years of progressive engineering work experience till date in the UK (excluding time spent for education);
• Qualified Chartered Engineer (awarding body – the Engineering Council UK).
I have inquired with Colorado state board and they have confirmed that they will only accept accreditation from NCEES and not AACARO IES. The reason I am reluctant to approach NCEES is that a) they are very expensive and b) I am unsure if they will accredit my bachelor’s degree. The reason AACARO is my preference because they have accredited my friend’s degree which is exactly same as my bachelor’s degree and therefore it is guaranteed that it will be accredited.
Do you know state boards which will accept AACARO accreditation as well as allow to take FE/PE exams without being resident of that state?
Any guidance will be greatly appreciated.
I haven’t heard of this AACRAO accreditation before, but a quick Google search yields several states that will accept evaluations from AACRAO, including North Carolina, Idaho, Georgia, Illinois, North Dakota, Alabama, Michigan and Connecticut. Sounds like this would be a great avenue for you to pursue (and thanks for bringing it to my, and everyone else’s, attention).
I’m not as familiar with which states you can sit for the FE/PE in without being a resident, except for knowing firsthand that you can take the PE in Texas without being a resident, though that wasn’t true for the FE, at least as of a few years ago. I’d check these states above (and any others you find which allow ACCRAO evaluations) and see which ones allow out-of-state applicants to sit for the exams.
All the best and please update me with your findings.
Dave, this was incredibly helpful, just to even know my client is not alone! We are working on getting to his licensure by endorsement, but I keep being told he needs a course by course evaluation first. This will be interesting considering my clients degree is over 40 years old. I did’t notice anything in particular in your blog about this, are you familiar at all?
Yes – when I first applied to FBPE (to determine whether or not I could sit for the PE), I had an evaluation done. When I applied for my FL license by endorsement, I had to include all of the information about my degree and I believe that since it was a foreign degree, it had to include the evaluation, even though I didn’t have to complete the deficiencies between my education and the Board’s requirements.
I’ve heard the NJ PE license is not approved for working in NY, but NY PE License is approved for working in NY, NJ, and PA, without a need to transfer your license to the other two states or no need for separate secondary registrations to those other states. IS this even true, and if so, are there any other states the PE of which being acknowledged to work in other states?
I’d be very surprised if a state didn’t require any sort of registration in their state to perform the functions of a PE there. It’s a licensed and regulated trade (for a good reason), so the idea that a state would accept registration in another state as good enough for them surprises me, but I’d be very interested if that’s not the case.
Dave, thanks for the very helpful information in your blog. I read through all posts here and couldn’t find the case similar to mine. So, It would be great if you can let me know your thoughts on the process of taking PE. My education and experience is blow:
1. Foreign Bachelor Degree in Civil Engineering (the top university in Vietnam)
2. MS in Civil Engineering at Georgia Tech, Atlanta
3. MS in Statistics
4. PhD in Civil Engineering
5. Hold FE (Passed FE in California without going through the evaluation process)
6. + 3 years of experience under PE licensed after my PhD.
Based on your experience, could you let me know what path is most suitable for me to take PE (i.e., the state that is not required the B.S. evaluation process). I am not in a rush to take PE, but would like to get it done as soon as I can.
It seems like the best thing you have going for you is point 2. If you have a Civil Engineering degree from Georgia Tech, it’s almost certainly ABET-accredited, which effectively completes the education requirements in every state. You can ignore everything else (although the PhD may mean you don’t need 4 years’ work experience in some states). Sounds like you could probably apply for the PE in most states today.
I have just learnt that Oregon Board for Professional Engineering allows applicants to take P.E. Exam with out prior approval. This just started beginning July 2015.
I stumbled upon minutes of meeting – CA Board while searching approval procedure and time frame.
Thought it might prove to be helpful to all interested Engineers.
Is it possible to get a job in the United States if I do not pass the FE or the PE. Instead graduating with a four year degree and receiving a BS.
Absolutely. That’s how I started out. I came here with my British BEng Civil Engineering degree and got a job without a problem. I didn’t even pass my FE for about 4 or 5 years.
It’s really encouraging to read your blog. I am immigrating to TN to be with my Fiancee. Much like it sounds you did some years ago. I have a BE in Forestry Engineering (with enough civil courses alone to cover off the NCEES evaluation). It’s from a New Zealand university and recognized by IPENZ our professional body.
But like so many others it’s been found completely deficient in general courses. I have been in contact with one person at the TN State Board and she told me I would have to make up the 16 credit hours in general papers before sitting the FE exam.
If you were in my position what would be your strategy? Try another person at the TN state board? Would there be any benefit in sitting the FE in a neighboring state (or any state that would allow it)? Would that be recognized in TN?
My thoughts are that it may at least demonstrate that my forest engineering degree has enough overlap with the civil field to take a graduate type role. It’s no big deal as I only have two years experience in managing large forest road construction projects here and am fine with a career direction change.
Your thoughts are greatly valued. I really don’t want to have to spend a not inconsiderable amount of time and money taking 100 papers at a community college!
If your degree is accredited by IPENZ, it’s covered by the Washington Accord, so you could take the PE in Texas or South Carolina for sure (once you have taken and passed the FE). The Tennessee Board’s website isn’t that easy to navigate, so I’d give them a call and see what the requirements would be for getting licensed by endorsement/reciprocity/comity if you were able to get your license in TX. If that’s a way around taking those general courses (as it was for me in Florida), that’s probably the easiest path to licensure for you.
Let us know what you find out. Cheers!
Thank you for continuing to answer everyone questions its such a great help to new engineers moving to the states.
I graduated with a BEng in Mechanical Engineering four year degree in Ireland, I am in the process of getting my qualifications recognized by NCEES. I ran into trouble with regard having credit hours in General studies, Chemistry & Biology.
I have other qualifications that I hope will meet the general studies category but I was wondering how or where you studied to complete the credit hours you were lacking. Is there any good online colleges that people have used or is there a way to get around subjects such as Chemistry & Biology.
I moved to New York two and half years ago, I worked under a PE for the first year as a project supervisor running construction projects. Will my time be counted towards the PE experience requirements even thou it was more civil instead of strictly Mechanical in nature.
Also I was wondering if anyone had any experience apply to any state that lets you take the PE exam early after passing the FE of course. I read that some states let you take the FE and PE exam early, after completing the necessary years of experience before granting the PE license. I read California and I believe Illinois only require 2 years of experience before being able to take the PE exam, has anyone had any experience getting there foreign qualifications accepted in CA.
Thank you for any help you of the other posters may have.
It’s my pleasure – I know how difficult it was in my own search to get accredited, so I’m only too happy to help ease that burden on others.
For me, I went to a local community college (St. Petersburg College to be specific). There may well be online schools that will meet the same intent (University of Phoenix is a famous “distance-learning” [read ‘online’] school), so look around if you don’t have a community college nearby that’ll do the trick for you.
Your experience isn’t discipline specific. In fact, if anything, it probably helps your case that your experience is more diversified.
I’ve heard of states where you can take the FE without first completing all of the requirements, but I haven’t heard of states doing the same for the PE. I’m pretty sure that they’d want to vet you and approve you before letting you sit for the exam, so that your exam is the final hurdle. I’d be interested to hear if anyone is aware of a state where doing this is possible.
And to my knowledge, the process for getting your foreign education evaluated in CA is generally the same process as most other states. It’s not more lenient like Texas is, if that’s what you were hoping (CA is one of the strictest states all around).
All the best to you!
Thanks for the valuable information. I’m graduated from a non- ABET non Washington Accord uni in the middle east. I managed to acquire a professional membership of Engineers Australia. The question is that if I want to get the PE, is the EA membership allows me to skip the FE exam or I still have to sit??
I haven’t yet come across a state where professional standing in another country (such as being a professional member of Engineers Australia, or being a Chartered Engineer in the UK) has any bearing on your application to the board. I have a colleague who was something of an expert in the heavy civil field, was Chartered and had 25+ years of experience and he too had to go back to school to make up his deficient courses so that he could sit for his FE. Makes little sense to me, but that seems to be how things are done. Unless anyone is aware of a state where foreign professional accreditation has any bearing on your FE/PE application in the States?
Is it possible to say since Australia is a Washington Accord signatory then be having a professional membership of Engineers Australia would help in getting FE/PE application in the states?
The Washington Accord applies to countries where degrees were earned, so your membership of Engineers Australia is irrelevant in this matter. If you earned your degree in Australia, then you would have a leg up, because you could take your PE at least in Texas or South Carolina without having to get your degree evaluated.
I’ve come across this page (see below) on ICE UK website and it appears that UK CEng professionals are able to apply for PE license in the state of Idaho without having to go through the process. If this is true, it will be a great deal of relief for UK CEngs like me. I am going to send an email to the state board to find out if I am eligible and update here. It will be good to get some firsthand experience if anyone has gone through this.
That’s really interesting information. As the information states, Idaho is the first state to do this, and with it only becoming official in November, I doubt that anyone has made it through the process yet. However, this is an interesting development. I concur with the author when I say that I hope this is only the beginning of more states recognising the robust process by which engineers become chartered in the UK.
I have found the same information. Did the respond to you?
I am also a CEng and I guess the application by comity must be accompanied with a note, since there is no explicit mention of other possibilities outside already being a PE (box to tick).
I assume a CEng can tick that box and attach the certificate.
If you have more information on the process, it would be great to hear more about it.
Great to know that I am not alone here – looks like we both are pretty much in the same boat. I did contact Idaho board couple of month back (see my post – Jan 12 2016) and I am told that after having a CEng qualification, one should have eight years of experience. I got my CEng in Dec 2014 and I only have 1.5 years post CEng so I am not eligible to apply for comity! I suggest you contact them and see if their response is different than what I have. Please let me know what happens.
I see only now your reply…
I have 15 years of experience, and I did eventually apply by comity to the Idaho board of engineers, but got rejected.
In my case the Engineering Council of the UK intervened directly to undermine my application: yes, this also can happen. The reason why is that I obtained the CEng MICE via the European Route in 2007. I have been a member since then and kept paying my annual membership fees also after leaving the UK several years ago because one of the selling point of the ICE is that their CEng certification is valued overseas.
When I requested ICE support to sort out the procedure to apply by comity, they said that my membership was not equal to the others, so they involved the Engineering Council that reached out the Idaho board to explain that they did not support my application.
Lesson learned: the ICE maintains separate database of their CEng Members, depending on how you obtained the certification. There is no transparency nor disclosure of this information with its members, so it is most likely illegal, but they can count of the fact that those who lose their money are mostly foreigners, who should lose even more money to get any justice, while fighting in a hostile environment (the UK courts) if they decided to initiate a legal action, so the scam is on.
I think ill have to take two classes I’m short then. I heard you can take the FE exam without getting your degree evaluate in CA but are required to a have it evaluate before they would let you take the PE exam even without the necessary work experience.
I was wondering if that was the case or if anyone had gone down this route? I also read yesterday that you need to keep the license from the first start that approved your PE incase you ever want to apply to another state. I read that they ask to get the records from the first state were you received your license. Do you know if this is correct?
Do you know how many years of experience you need to get licensed in CA after evaluations and passing the FE exam.
It seems that the CA board requires you to have the degree before you’ll be certified as an EIT, though you can take the test before applying to the Board.
I don’t think it’s true that you need to keep the license in the state in which you were first licensed. So long as you maintain an active license somewhere, that should suffice. In an application to a new board, you’ll be asked to provide proof that you are currently licensed, which you can do with your current state. I’ve already tenatively spoken with the Oregon board (as I’m planning on moving there) and they don’t care where I was first licensed, just that I am licensed.
Q19 in the CA Board’s FAQs on licensure indicate that 6 years of directly applicable experience is required to apply for the PE (irrespective of before/after the FE).
I contacted Ohio State Board and I am told that individuals having minimum of eight years’ experience after attaining CEng qualification are eligible to apply for licensure by committee. So this is a dead end for me as I do not have eight years of experience post my CEng qualification but others may find this useful. Do you know which state boards allow taking FE without requiring to accredit degree? Also, is it possible to take FE is one state and PE in the other?
The Ohio Board also recognises CEng? That’d be two states now, which would be fantastic. I can’t find any information about this online however.
It’s definitely possible to take the FE in one state and the PE in another (I did this myself – the PE state will just request verification of the pass from your FE state). As for states where you can take an FE without having your degree accredited, you might find that a bit harder. I’m not personally aware of any, so I’ll open that up to others for input.
My bad – I meant Idaho, it has only been 3 weeks in the US and am still learning about different state names!
My name is yasmin
I am graduated since 2001 from engineering university in Egypt and I worked as an electrical designer till 2008.
I moved to us after that and stop working till now.
Actually I am looking forward to Perdue my career, I do not want to lose all that years of studying.
I know seven years is a long time that I almost feel they I forgot everything.
I need an advice how to start to refresh my knowledge and find a job again.
With an 8-year gap in your work history, it’s going to be hard to convince an employer that you’re better suited than someone who has a more complete job history. Nonetheless, to get back into it, I’d suggest some refresher courses at your local community college, or perhaps some PE preparation courses, which will give you a good jolt of content and subjects to recall. Good luck!
Thank you so much for your reply and sorry for bothering you by my questions.
I actually find a university here in us which has a master with the same courses that are rated to my job, it is available online as well.
Is it better to work on the master , or start from the fe, eit and pe exams.
And also do you think it worth the effort, I mean I am afraid to put a lot of money and time studying and then no company accept me because of the long time I spent without a job.
I even sometimes think to join the community collage and change my career and study some thing different .
I personally don’t think it will be worth it to do the Master’s. Do a few refresher courses and remind yourself of what you already know and start applying for jobs.
Sorry for a late response, but I was out of country for a month.
Thanks for your response. My main concern is that my degree at Georgia Tech was M.S. (not B.E. or B.S.). I am not sure if any states that accept M.S. degree to the fulfill education requirement. Any comments will be really appreciate.
I don’t think that should be an issue. An MS is just the next step after a BS. The statutes tend to read that it must be at least 4-year degree focused on engineering. If it’s an ABET-accredited degree, you’ll be fine.
Hi, I have a Maters Degree from USA, Bachelors Degree from India, 5 years work experience, NCEES evaluation (with 13 credit deficiency in General Education), and FE from Washington State . The Washington Accord does not apply to me because I graduated in 2007 and its applicable only for folks graduating after 2014 (for Indians). Could you please guide, which state can accept me for PE exam? I am trying to find a state which does not care about General Education or trade my US Masters Degree for Foreign Degree.
Is your Master’s degree ABET-accredited? I would think that if it is, you could pretty much apply anywhere? You may also want to check if your degree is accredited by ACCRAO, because if it is, there’s a whole lot of states where you could apply.
Thanks so much for your prompt reply.
My Master’s degree is ABET approved but Ohio rejected my application because of my General Education credits deficiency.
Looking at other states’s website, it looks like most of the states need foreign degree evaluation. So, I am not sure which state would accept my application?
I am not sure if ACCRAO will point out same General Education deficiency in my foreign degree. So, not sure if I should try for ACCRAO evaluation?
So, I am looking for states which do not need foreign degree evaluation. Don’t know if there is any?
The only states that I’m aware of which don’t require a foreign degree to be evaluated are those that abide by the Washington Accord. Sorry
No Problem, Thanks Dave.
Hi Dave! I am very inspired by your story and I wish I can get to talk to you about this because like you, the girl that I love will move to the States. I graduated about a year ago but i’m still looking for work in my country because i had a 6 month review and took the licensing exam here in my country, fortunately passed it. My university is currently processing its ABET accreditation so i’m hoping next year I can go to the States, one of my questions is if the accreditation also required for taking the FE? Anyway I really hope I can speak to you more directly. Thanks so much Dave, you’re awesome! :)
Thanks for your kind words. Everywhere that I’m aware of, the ABET accreditation is also required for the FE. However, there are a number of states that will let you take the exam whenever you want and then apply to the board afterwards to get certified (historically, and typically, you have to apply to the board to get permission to sit for the exam). I believe that Oregon is one of these states, but the individual state pages on the NCEES website will be a great resource for finding out where you can take the exam with having an ABET degree (though you’ll probably still need an ABET degree or a credentials evaluation to actually get certified by the board you ultimately apply to).
Well, Arizona should be fine because I got registered there just this past month, however I didn’t even mention my Bachelor and Master degree from overseas, I only put my Master Degree from the US in the form, hence no need for evaluation and it worked alright.
I think you deserve everything good in this life,good luck in your career and social life Path.
I am an EIT in Kentucky, I have pursued my PE electrical exam for the first time and unfortunately I falied in it,I really feel so frustrated as I got NCEES book along with other books from California,the exam came so difficult and the problem in these preparation materials never matches the difficulty level of the exam.beside the limited number of problems that NCEES offered is not sufficient to got through much problems.
So from your experience how I can gurantee the pass of this exam in case of repeat taking as I have experience of 5 years now.
Thanks for your outstanding comments
Obviously, there is no way to guarantee that you’ll pass the exam. All I can tell is what worked for me which was to study a little bit, particularly in the areas that I found most difficult, but to also do lots of questions. I personally used the Civil Engineering Reference Manual by Michael Lindeburg, which is an excellent resource with thousands of practice questions. It seems that the Power Reference Manual by John Camara is from the same company and is well rated. I’d start there. Good luck!
Hi Dave, I live in Texas and I have a friend who lives in Ukraine. He has a BS in Petrochemical Engineering, and wants to make it a career in Texas. He doesn’t know where to start, and I would like to help advise him. Please reply thank you!!
Since his degree is from Ukraine, it is not covered by the Washington Accord. As such, there’s not really any shortcuts to getting licensed. He’s going to have to get his degree evaluated and take classes in whatever areas he is deficient before being able to get licensed.
Can I get my previous engagements certified my present colleagues ? Or should I get the endorsement from the previous employers.
Thanks in advance
It all depends on how the application reads. If it reads that the references need to come from people who have overseen your work, then unless your current employer can adequately vouch for your professional capabilities, you would have to seek the reference from your previous employer.
I would like to ask you a question please, I know you are working in the industry for a long time and might have some tips
I have just got my j1 graduate visa and will be able to work in USA for one year, I have a sponsor organization and at the moment I have to look up for an internship in Civil or environmental engineering,I am graduate with an MSc Environmental Engineering from Dublin, Ireland. I am heading to New York, I have made a cover letter and US CV, basically I am applying to all companies but I find the struggle to get accepted is very difficult.
any tips or help on how to get an internships/what the employer is looking for? how long does it take to get a reply?
Thank you very much
It can, unfortunately, take a very long time to get a reply especially when it’s an employer’s market (few jobs, many applicants). You’d do your best to focus on the companies that you really want to work for, look at the kind of projects they’ve been working on and target your cover letters and CVs to specifically speak to those projects and indicate your interest in them.
I recently read the licensure requirements of Michigan state and I think they are the best fit for any international living in the U.S. The state does not require a degree evaluation prior to the F.E exam and also they don’t have any residency requirements to sit for the exam. With the F.E exam now being computer based I believe we could write the exam from any other state. cool!
That being said- I think writing F.E from Michigan could be a great option. What do you think?
It seems that you’re right about MI not having any requirements for the FE (see here). However, note that, per the same page, this is not true for the PE.
I sincerely appreciate this write-up.
I am a US citizen, born and bred, and graduating with my BSME in about a month. I recently began working (part-time while I finish my degree) as an engineer. In my state of Washington, they require you to work under the supervision of a PE for a period of time before you can take the PE exam. I am one of two engineers at my facility, and the other engineer doesn’t have a PE.
This blog led me to investigate the option of being Licensed by Comity through the state. It looks as though it will be possible for me, via Texas (and who knows how many other states), and I will be able to complete the requirements within 3 years! Thank you very much!
I sent a few posts a month or so ago explaining my situation. I got my initial evaluation done and was deemed to be short “general studies and basic sciences”, fortunately I had some other qualifications that helped me meet the general studies requirements. I am still short on the basic sciences namely general chemistry, general calculus-based physics and general biology for which I need two or the three subjects.
My question to you and your readers is what is the minimum level course work and duration either on line or class room based learning in New York City that will help me meet these requirements. I have very little real interest in learning anything from these courses as bad as that sounds I sorry I just want to be able to meet the NCEES this requirements as I am currently doing a refrigeration license course and holding down a full time job so my free time is limited.
Any advice is appreciated.
Hi Dave, and the rest of the readers-contributors,
The information on your original post came much as the one I needed to clarify some issues about PE licensing in US. Moreover, to get that in Florida! Yet I got a couple of questions that perhaps you or someone else with useful information could answer or share their insights-experience?
I’m Lithuanian and I finised my bachelor degree in Environmental Engineer (EI) which takes 4 years there. Then I completed a 2 years Master in EI in a joint program Lithuania-Finland. Curently I’m in the last year of my PhD in Environmental Science in Finland. But next year I am moving to Florida with my husband and I started browsing the topic. Here are the matters I am not entirely clear about:
– I need job experience to the get the PE but, can I get a job as en engineer without the PE? or is the PE licensing only used for promotions? It is important for me to get a job in the first place, which perhaps can be combined with my research and work experience to meet the requirements.
– from the above, what is the entry status in an engineer related job without having the PE license?
Thanks a lot for any information!
In response to your questions:
Great article, my quest is a bit different then the others on here….I’m more interested in the time between you taking the fe to taking the pe….I have the requirements to sit for the fe in Florida….but graduated more than 4 years ago, so I technically have the work experience as well. Can I take the fe then a few months later take the pe?
I just can’t tell if the 4 years is total, or for year from when you take the fe to when you take the pe….I hope what I am asking makes sense.
Thanks in advance for your help!
Hi Jasmine, yeah you can take it as soon as possible. I did a similar thing: took the FE and took the PE 6 or 12 months later.
I was wondering if you had any insight to the reverse process: frankly an American registered PE trying to get Chartered Engineer (CEng) status in the UK perhaps by reciprocity. Great post by the way, glad everything turned out wonderfully.
That’s interesting. I took a look at the Institution of Civil Engineeers’ page about becoming a Chartered Engineer (your institution may be different if you’re not a civil) but the long and short of it is that it appears ICE abides by the Washington Accord, so American (and other foreign) degrees are recognised. Thus, you should be able to apply for CEng just the same as an equally qualified Brit.
Just to add to Dave’s response, Idaho board and Engineering Council UK has reciprocity arrangement since Nov 2014 (see my earlier post). So I believe reverse will be very much possible at least if you have Idaho PE. In my opinion following could work:
– Get a PE in Idaho (getting this by comity/reciprocity should be easy if you already have a PE in other state);
– Contact Engineering Council UK and ask about reciprocity arrangement they have for Idaho PE;
– Follow the what Engineering Council UK says and if all goes well, you should have CEng licence relatively quickly!
Hope it helps!
I have just got denied in Florida for my PE. I already have 2 PE’s in two different states, NY & PA and have a US Masters degree. they want me to take credits for General Education. FLORIDA FBPE is discriminating against all foreign graduates and there is no explanation but that. Florida is known to a racist state and it is wrong and should stop now. they play tough but the fact of the matter is that they are stupid and ignorant not to mention racist.
It’s a bit short-sighted to say that FBPE are directly targeting foreigners because they’re “ignorant, stupid and racist”. The goal with FBPE’s rules to ensure minimum standards are met to ensure the capability of licensed engineers is adequate and public trust in the system is maintained. The goals may be a bit archaic and some people may fall in to awkward situations because of their unique circumstances, particularly when they have foreign degrees, but this is a function of trying to standardise a system which can procedurally ensure the suitability of an applicant. Because of this, some people will fall through the net, but it’s not because they’re racist.
So Engineers practicing in various states in the US are not good enough to practice in Florida? How many foreign degree gets pass them and approved? None is the answer. Now if that is not targeting sector of Engineers, what do you call that. in the end Florida PE is not that important. They can exclude whomever they want, Nothing anybody can do.
Well, at least one foreign degree “got past them”: mine. Also, I was practicing in another state when I got licensed, so your argument is quite flawed and clearly an emotional response to the frustration of not getting licensed.
Many thanks for your time and consideration. hoping the best for you and your career.
I’ve a question regarding the FE and PE exams as you may know that these exams are offered outside u.s in many countries (Canada, Japan, Egypt, emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, turkey..)
do you have any idea if I had passed the FE and PE exams from any of the above foreign entities do I still need to take the exam again to get licensed in any state? can I just move my records to any state?
another thing that I’m planning to move to us after one year and I want to evaluate my credentials and I’ve found many Groups such as NCEES and WES, and I didn’t decide yet which state I’m going to move. is there any approved firm that I can depend on its evaluation and completing the missing credits online before landing to the us just to accelerate my licensing procedures in order to get a job as soon as possible?
Many thanks for your patience and cooperation.
To the best of my knowledge, those exams are administered by NCEES and as such, will be valid for any state PE/EIT application.
As for the accreditation, you must research which firms the state you are applying to accepts evaluations from, because they do vary. Visit the state’s website and look for the rules regarding foreign credentials evaluation.
Good day Dave,
Kindly assist if you can on the following:
I have both bachelors and masters degree in Civil Engineering from Egypt and I currently live in Saudi Arabia I wanted to relocate to USA my wife being american. My inquiry is can I take the FE from Saudi Arabia or will any state disregard it not being from any state of the US? Is it better if I take the exam
in the US?. Also from what I understood regarding the post is that I’d have to have an education evaluation applied to see if I’m actually eligible to sit for a FE exam?
Thanks in advance.
A few here have spoken about taking the FE abroad, but I’ve not heard how they fared when applying to state engineering boards. With your degree being from Egypt, you’ll almost certainly need a credentials evaluation, but it depends on the board that you apply to, though, in some states you can take the FE without first being authorised by the Board (though ultimately, you need to go through that process to actually get certified).
So I guess i’m the first Nigerian to post a comment on this blog. Good job on your quick response to questions, you have really helped a lot of people.
I graduated from chemistry in Nigeria but completed my masters degree in Environmental Engineering from The UK (University of Newcastle). I’m currently working with CB&I in New York and I want to do my FE exam and eventually my PE. Please what steps do I need to take to do the FE exam.
Being that your undergraduate degree is from Nigeria (and also not directly in the engineering field), you’ll definitely need a credentials evaluation. You should look at New York’s Office of the Professions to see how to get your degree(s) evaluated. Good luck!
Olu, to add to what Dave said, I think a lot of foreign degreed applicants tend to miss a few very important points in the US engineering license application process:
Firstly, it’s regulated by each individual state and what was acceptable to one state board may not necessarily be acceptable to another state board. In most parts of the world, the licensing is done at the national level. So it’s a one size fits all model. This is also partly because the terminal education accreditation process is driven by a single public agency in these countries and, again, it’s tied to all occupations and the licensing process as stipulated by a national law or code or decree. It’s the opposite in the US; States have certain rights and one of them is the right to regulate intra-state (i.e. within state) commerce. Mostly, if it’s a product engineered, and intended to be located and used solely within the state boundaries only and, drum roll, directly affects public safety the states have a right to regulate that. That’s why a civil engineer designing a bridge needs to be licensed (or at least the process supervised by one) and the drawings ultimately stamped by such licensed engineer whereas an engineer designing an aeroplane doesn’t need to meet such requirements because the plane/product is for and it’s production involves inter-state (across state lines) commerce under direct federal oversight.
Secondly, the evaluation process required by the State boards is soley to determine curriculum equivalency similar to ABET accredited Bachelor degree programs. The key word here is curriculum equivalency; it’s just course content by course content comparison based on the basic premise that these educational systems are individually wholistic and comprehensive in their own respective ways with regards to the educational systems in each country. With that being said, having a US/UK/European engineering masters degree in addition to a foreign engineering bachelor degree doesn’t automatically make you meet the educational requirements for licensure in the US. One still needs to have all their “college level” (I am stressing on this for a reason) educational transcripts evaluated by, again, a “State approved” evaulation agency to determine if all the aggregate courses collectlively meet the equivalency test. I said college level because a lot of the states and evaluation agencies (with NCEES being one of them) recognize the advance level nature of some of these college prepatory programs like the Cambridge A-Level and are willing to give foreign students credit for such courses as part of the evaluation process so far as certain criteria can be met; if you need more information about this please work directly with your assigned evaluator at NCEES to identify those courses and requirements and make sure they are included in your transcripts submissions to NCEES during the evaluation application. It suffices to add a lot of foreign undergrad graduates, some with additional advanced engineering degrees from US institutions, have run into problems with the evaluation process simply because the basic sciences (physics, chemistry, biology ect) and humanities courses (history, arts, languages etc) taught in your typical US engineering programs during the first couple of years are not structured the same in foreign countries. In fact a lot of these foreign countries tend to push their college preparatory programs to be heavy and standard in these areas so that the college stage will spend more resources delving into the traditional technical and engineering courses. It doesn’t mean one system is better than the other but it’s just the way educational systems are set up differently. That’s why NCEES recognizes this and is willing to give credit for at least the reputable programs out there so far as certain conditions are met.
Thirdly, there are certain instances like Olu’s case where even a US undergrad holder will need to submit such an evaluation. This is mainly because we are trying to compare apples to oranges with the hope that we could find some similarities. The chemistry or physics or biology undergrad degree is, in most instances, purely a Science degree and not an Engineering degree. However, there are some courses that can still be given credit for as part of the evaluation to determine ABET engineering degree equivalency by NCEES and these agencies.
Lastly, I’ll advise folks to make sure they provide any information that can aid with the evaluation process so that you can get it right once. I also don’t need to stress on the fact that it’s not cheap. I think the evaluation done by NCEES is accepted by all the state boards, but I stand to be corrected. I did mine with NCEES and got credit for all my High school advance level college prepatory courses and so far haven’t run into any state board that had an issue with the evaluation results.
That’s my two cents.
Nice article! I have a degree from Greece in Civil Engineering and trying to get my PE in MD. In order to do so I have to go through the accreditation process (already started this), I am optimistic that my education will be equivalent to an engineering degree here in the States. Meanwhile (to save me a bit of time) I am preparing the other documents for the MD state board. In addition to the official report of from NCEES, the board requires to fill out a form call ” Curriculum Checklist Form”. Was wondering if any of your readers or you had to fill out a similar form? and if any of you can share it. I am basically looking for a sable/template to make sure I do it right. Thank you and everyone else for your input!
Good luck with everything in your life and thank you for sharing your story!
I’ve never heard of such a thing. Are you sure it’s not something that is provided by the company performing your degree accreditation? It sounds like the kind of thing they would have to produce to confirm that your studies match up with the required curriculum. However, I did find this on Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation’s website which may be what you’re looking for.
Great info here. Appreciate it to the max. And it’s still going :)
UK Graduate (Masters and Bachelors in Civil Engineering)
Working in Malaysia for more than 8 years.
Going to USA soon (Ohio), and planning to get PE in the USA.
Degree is under the Washington Accord.
Looking to take the FE at Texas and NC.
1) Do I need to be a Texas resident to take the FE?
2) After the FE exam, I will need to gain 2 years Engineer’s experience in the USA to go for the PE?
3) Is there a validity period for the FE results?
Many thanks in advance for your reply.
It seems that you do not need to be a Texas resident to take the FE there. Here’s the application form. Experience requirements are listed in Chapter 133E of the Texas Board’s Laws and Rules. However, paragraph 1001.302(a)(3)(A) makes no mention of the experience needing to be in the US, or under the supervision of an existing PE, so you may be in luck.
Great article. I’m due to graduate in 2017 with a Bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Britain. How easy was it to find your 1st job in USA? Was this your first engineering employment?
It was my first engineering job and it was pretty easy, but then, that was 2006 when jobs were aplenty. Things are better now than they were 5 years ago, but not quite as good as back then. Nonetheless, there should still be some opportunities for you, especially if you’re willing to move to where the jobs are.
Hello. Thanks for sharing your experience.I have a query hope you can answer. I live in UAE. I am planning to take NCEES FE exam in sharjah testing center and PE later on. I am not sure how much it will benefit me in the UAE. However, if i do come to US ( any state), will my PE be recognized? I do know that i have to meet other licensing requirements which are state specific. But do i have to retake the FE or PE exam in that specific state? Moreover, will my FE or PE be recognized in Canada?
I have yet to hear back from anyone about whether they had issues with their overseas FE/PE exams being accepted in the States. I can’t imagine that there would be an issue, because why would they offer them if they weren’t acceptable? I am moderately confident that the exam would be valid, but don’t quote me on that. You should contact the Board that you are interested in applying to and check with them (then report back here on what you find). I am unfamiliar with how Canada handles reciprocity with the US for engineers. Another thing that you should check out and report back on ;)
Hi Dave, thanks for your continuous support, regarding the FE/PE taken overseas I’ve contacted many states boards and they all approved and there will be no need to retake the exam again.
I’ve one question if you could help. which state that has aplenty of engineering opportunities ( more specific in Civil infrastructure design field ,Roads and Transportation) so I can find a job easily?
Thanks again and have a nice day.
That’s great. Thanks for letting us know about how boards view the overseas exams. I tried looking around for states which are spending the most on road infrastructure at present and didn’t find anything particularly useful, but I’d search for states with big road infrastructure spending plans. Good luck to you!
Great article! Just to add onto this – I have a BS from an ABET-accredited university in Egypt and have been working in the UAE for the past couple of years. I recently passed the FE exam in Sharjah and after submitting my application to the TBPE received my EIT status. I’m currently working to get the 4 years of experience requirement fulfilled and after (hopefully) passing the PE exam, applying to become a PE with the TBPE. My question is, as per this link https://engineers.texas.gov/international_applicants.htm it’s stated that “By US federal law, anyone applying for a professional license in the US must provide evidence that they have the legal status to work in Texas. That includes a visa number or something equivalent.”
Does this mean that I have to have a US work visa (or green card) in order to become a PE in Texas?
The reason I’m seeking this title, tbh, is to enhance my career options as it’s recognised by a number of international companies here in the region.
Some insight would be great :)
Dave! What about those who studied Non-Engineering course in undergraduate, such as, 4 years (Engineering Physics) and graduated (Did MS) in Engineering? Can they, if they luckily work in engineering firm for 2 years after graduation in Engineering, apply for PE? Is there any long/short route for them to get PE?
If your degree is not an engineering degree, it is unlikely that it will be accepted as good enough on its own. You’ll probably have to have it evaluated by the board’s provider and see what courses you need to take to make it equivalent to an ABET degree.