On the Job

National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying

Take on engineering.

Then take on the world.

Do you know any engineers who owns their own firm? Perform consulting work? Bid for government contracts? Sign and seal designs?

If you do, you might notice a two-letter title that appears after their names: P.E.

P.E. stands for Professional Engineer. It’s a designation that indicates that someone has met a series of stringent requirements and is qualified to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare through their professional expertise. A P.E. has graduated from an accredited degree program, passed two exams (the FE and the PE), and worked under the supervision of another P.E. for four years.

As you can imagine, people who have a P.E. license are proud of this accomplishment. It gives them professional prestige. It stands out on a résumé. It leads to a wealth of career opportunities–running a firm, for instance–that otherwise wouldn’t be available.

Oh yeah, and a P.E. usually commands a higher salary than unlicensed colleagues, if you care about that sort of thing.


NCEES is the organization that helps set the standards for licensure. We coordinate the efforts of state licensing boards throughout the country and provide services that help licensed engineers continue to advance their careers.

We also write, administer, and score the FE and PE exams for engineers who seek to become Professional Engineers.

NCEES is an organization made up of and designed for Professional Engineers. The people who determine the requirements for licensure are all licensed P.E.'s themselves. Throughout the year, Professional Engineers from around the U.S. gather at NCEES headquarters to develop the FE and PE exams. They are passionate about what they do because they are proud of their profession.

About the Exams

The FE exam tests the engineering fundamentals you learn in college. May students take it during their senior year. The PE exam comes later, after a candidate has gained four or more years of experience in his or her chose discipline. This exam tests the things you learn through experience working on engineering projects. Each major engineering discipline has its specific PE exam that tests knowledge within that discipline.

If you are interested in becoming a P.E., we encourage you to visit our Web site, ncees.org, or talk to another P.E. As you'll learn, the path toward earning a P.E. is demanding. But you'll also learn it can be very rewarding.