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 two-month 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.
FE Exam Information
Additional information regarding the FE Exam is available on the FBPE website under “Engineering Exams” in the Licensure section.
FE Exam Registration
You register directly with NCEES to take the FE exam. Find out more information 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 graduated with a bachelor’s degree and passed the FE exam, you can apply for certification as an Engineer Intern (EI) with FBPE. In this capacity, you will continue on your journey toward professional licensure by gaining engineering experience.
After gaining some engineering experience, you will want to take the Principles & Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. The PE exam goes beyond testing academic knowledge and includes expertise gained in the practice of engineering. While no engineering experience is required to sit for the PE exam, NCEES statistics show that first-time examinees are more likely to pass the exam with at least four years of engineering experience.
PE exams are offered in a variety of disciplines and sub-disciplines. Because the PE exam is based on the practice of engineering, you should take the exam for the discipline that you are most knowledgeable in (which may not be what you earned your degree in). The PE exam is offered as a pencil-and-paper test or a computer-based test (CBT), depending on the discipline. NCEES is transitioning all disciplines to CBT by 2024.
Having passed both the FE and PE exams, gained the required engineering experience and met other requirements, you are ready for your next step: applying for licensure as a Professional Engineer in Florida.
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 engineering technology, or the equivalent of same as verified by an approved evaluator;
- Passed the Fundamentals of Engineering exam;
- Register and schedule your exam with NCEES.
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.