Why Become a Licensed Engineer?
If you are considering a career as an engineer, obtaining professional licensure will significantly enhance how you are viewed within the industry and by your peers, broaden your employment opportunities, and establish you to society as an authority within your profession.
Licensure is the highest standard of competence within the engineering industry and is a symbol of achievement and dedication to the safety, health, and welfare of the public. Professional licensure protects the public by enforcing standards that restrict practice to those individuals who have met specific qualifications in education, work experience, exams, and ethics.
Licensed engineers are a select group. Since the requirements are stringent and because there are exemptions that allow engineers to work under the supervision of a licensed Professional Engineer (PE), not all engineers become licensed.
However, those who do achieve Professional Engineer licensure enjoy the benefits that accompany the distinction. As a licensed Professional Engineer, you are able to sign and seal designs, be the principal of a firm, perform consulting services, bid for government contracts, and offer services to the public.
Where Do I Begin?
The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam is typically the first step in the process to becoming a licensed Professional Engineer. It is designed for applicants who are in their final year of earning an undergraduate engineering degree, or soon after graduation. No engineering experience is required to take this exam; however, evidence of acceptable education is required. The exam is a computer-based test that is administered during four exam windows a year.
The FE exam is a six-hour session and is offered as seven discipline-specific, stand-alone versions. Each version of the exam contains the core engineering content relevant to that engineering discipline, plus appropriate discipline-specific content.
Exam grades are made available by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering & Surveying (NCEES) at the end of each week during the exam windows.
Applicants can test once per exam window and may attempt the exam three times within a 12-month period. Florida Statutes allow three failures of the exam before the candidate is required to take 12 additional college credit hours or complete an examination review course prior to being approved to retake the exam.
FE Application & Requirements
Applications and additional information regarding the FE Exam can be accessed on the FBPE website under “Application Process” in the Licensure section.
FE Exam Process & Fees
You can learn more about NCEES, the FE exam process, and registering for the next administration on the NCEES website.
FE Exam Center Locations
To search for locations of the testing centers, visit the Pearson VUE website.
Next Stop… Licensure
Once you have passed the FE exam, and FBPE has a final transcript showing your date of graduation and has issued you a certificate, you are classified as an Engineer Intern (EI) or Engineer in Training (EIT). In this capacity, you will continue on your journey toward professional licensure by gaining engineering experience.
Many states have specific requirements about the type and amount of experience one must gain to receive appropriate credit for work experience. Florida requires four years of verifiable experience as an EI or EIT to become eligible to take the Principles & Practice of Engineering (PE) exam.
After you have gained the required experience, you are ready to take the second exam in the licensure process, the PE exam. This is the final step to becoming licensed in Florida. When you pass the PE exam, you will be assigned a license number, and you may begin working as a licensed Professional Engineer.
This exam is given in a variety of engineering disciplines, with most administered via pencil and paper twice a year, in April and October. The PE exams are transitioning to computer-based testing over the next few years.
Requirements to Apply for the PE Exam
To apply for the PE exam, you must:
- Possess an ABET-equivalent bachelor of science degree in engineering, or the equivalent of same as verified by an approved evaluator;
- Successfully complete the Fundamentals of Engineering exam;
- Provide four years of verifiable full-time engineering experience. Experience usually begins upon graduation, but you can earn up to 12 months experience while pursuing your B.S. degree for any full-time work in engineering within the last two years before graduation. Experience credit may be awarded at 50 percent of the real full-time work performed.
- Supply three verifiable personal licensed PE references; and
- Successfully complete the Laws & Rules Study Guide.
Now That You Are a Professional Engineer…
As a licensed Professional Engineer in Florida, you are required to renew your license every two years and, during that period, complete 18 hours of continuing education, including one hour focusing on Florida laws and rules of Professional Engineers, one hour of professional ethics, and four hours related to area of practice. More information about licensure renewal and continuing education requirements can be found in the Continuing Education section of the FBPE website.