Everything You Need To Know About A Professional Engineering License

While a Professional Engineering (PE) license is not required to work as an engineer, it is highly recommended. As a PE, you become more marketable to employers because it signals a certain level of proficiency and the ability to take on a higher level of responsibility. It also gives clients peace of mind and helps build trust when they see that an engineer is a PE.

Here is what you need to know if you are considering a Professional Engineering license.  

What is Required to Become a PE?  

To earn the right to use the licensed PE designation, engineers must complete several steps:  

  • Earn a four-year degree in engineering from an accredited engineering program. 
  • Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. 
  • Complete four years of progressive engineering experience under a PE. 
  • Pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. 
  • Earn state licensure. 

To retain a PE license, engineers must continually improve and maintain their skills throughout their careers.  

What Makes A Licensed PE Different From An Engineer? 

A professional engineering license helps engineers command a higher salary and more responsibility. That’s because they are different from an unlicensed engineer in several ways:  

  • Only a licensed engineer may prepare, sign, seal, and submit engineering plans and drawings for public approval or seal engineering work for public and private clients by law.
  • PEs must hold themselves to high ethical standards of practice, as they are responsible for the safety and welfare of the people whose lives are affected by their work. 
  • A PE license is required for consulting engineers and private practitioners for both principals and employees. 
  • In many federal, state, and municipal agencies, engineering positions must be filled by licensed professional engineers. 
  • Many states require that engineering teachers must be licensed PEs 

There was a time when anyone could work as an engineer without a license, degree or any proof of competency. However, states began to recognize the importance of proof of competency in order to protect public safety and welfare. The very first engineering license law was passed in Wyoming in 1907, with other states eventually following suit. Today, every state regulates engineering to ensure safety by ensuring only licensed PEs have certain authority like signing and sealing engineering plans and offering services to the public. 

Are You A PE Looking For A New Engineering Job?  

If you are a licensed Professional Engineer looking for a new job and you’re ready to partner with an expert recruiter, search our current engineering job openings or contact PEAK Technical Staffing today to learn how we can help you achieve your career goals.  



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