The Professional Engineer (PE) exam is a standardized and demanding examination that is required for anyone wanting to become a licensed professional engineer in the United States. Obtaining a PE license is a noteworthy accomplishment and is often necessary for engineers working in industries where the welfare and safety of the public are of utmost importance.
Here Are Things To Know About The PE Exam:
The PE exam is available in a variety of disciplines or engineering professions, including civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and others. Every discipline has a unique exam with content particular to that discipline. Several typical disciplines consist of:
- Civil Engineering (CE)
- Mechanical Engineering (ME)
- Electrical and Computer Engineering (EE)
- Environmental Engineering (ENVE)
- Chemical Engineering (ChE)
The test is normally divided into two parts: Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE). To sit for the PE exam, one must pass the FE exam. An engineer often takes the FE exam early in their career, and the PE exam later in their career, after building a number of years of work experience.
Candidates have to meet specific requirements established by the state engineering board in which they plan to obtain a license in order to be qualified to sit for the PE exam. Typically, general prerequisites include passing the FE test, earning several years of relevant work experience under a licensed PE, and finishing an authorized engineering degree.
The PE exam is a comprehensive and discipline-specific assessment. Usually, it has a section for both breadth and depth:
The breadth part offers questions that cover a wide range of topics within the chosen engineering discipline.
The depth section concentrates on particular topics within the subject and is more specialized.
The exam format may include multiple-choice questions, essay questions, and other types of problems or tasks related to the field.
There isn’t an agreed-upon PE passing score that the NCEES has set for the PE Exam. On the other hand, it is estimated that a passing score of around 70% is required for the PE exam. It means you’ll need to answer 70% of the questions correctly, or 56 out of 80.
Passing Rate For First Timers & Repeaters
Many PE exam candidates pass their exam on the first attempt. In the event that a candidate fails the exam on their first try, they are free to retake it. However, each candidate must wait a few months for a seat in the next year in order to take the PE exam twice a year. The following lists the first-time pass rates for the years 2022–2023:
|PE Exam Discipline||Testing Cycle||Pass Rate (First Attempt)|
|PE Agricultural and Biological Engineering||Once per year||83%|
|PE Architectural Engineering||Once per year||58%|
|PE Chemical Engineering||Year-round||55%|
|PE Civil: Construction Engineering||Year-round||53%|
|PE Civil: Geotechnical Engineering||Year-round||52%|
|PE Civil: Structural Engineering||Year-round||59%|
|PE Civil: Transportation Engineering||Year-round||67%|
|PE Civil: Water Resources and Environmental Engineering||Year-round||71%|
|PE Control Systems Engineering||Once per year||49%|
|PE Electrical and Computer: Computer Engineering||Once per year||38%|
|PE Electronics, Controls, and Communications||Once per year||72%|
|PE Electrical and Computer: Power Engineering||Year-round||60%|
|PE Environmental Engineering||Year-round||72%|
|PE Fire Protection Engineering||Once per year||74%|
|PE Industrial and Systems Engineering||Once per year||54%|
|PE Mechanical: HVAC and Refrigeration Engineering||Year-round||77%|
|PE Mechanical: Machine Design and Materials Engineering||Year-round||68%|
|PE Mechanical: Thermal and Fluids Systems Engineering||Year-round||70%|
|PE Metallurgical and Materials Engineering||Once per year||79%|
|PE Mining and Mineral Processing Engineering||Once per year||65%|
|PE Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering||Once per year||53%|
|PE Nuclear Engineering||Once per year||73%|
|PE Petroleum Engineering||Once per year||65%|
|PE Exam Discipline||Test Availability||Pass Rate (Repeat)|
|PE Agricultural and Biological Engineering||Once per year||N/A|
|PE Architectural Engineering||Once per year||N/A|
|PE Chemical Engineering||Year-round||36%|
|PE Civil: Construction Engineering||Year-round||36%|
|PE Civil: Geotechnical Engineering||Year-round||34%|
|PE Civil: Structural Engineering||Year-round||38%|
|PE Civil: Transportation Engineering||Year-round||49%|
|PE Civil: Water Resources and Environmental Engineering||Year-round||46%|
|PE Control Systems Engineering||Once per year||N/A|
|PE Electrical and Computer: Computer Engineering||Once per year||67%|
|PE Electronics, Controls, and Communications||Once per year||57%|
|PE Electrical and Computer: Power Engineering||Year-round||36%|
|PE Environmental Engineering||Year-round||35%|
|PE Fire Protection Engineering||Once per year||38%|
|PE Industrial and Systems Engineering||Once per year||29%|
|PE Mechanical: HVAC and Refrigeration Engineering||Year-round||52%|
|PE Mechanical: Machine Design and Materials Engineering||Year-round||51%|
|PE Mechanical: Thermal and Fluids Systems Engineering||Year-round||46%|
|PE Metallurgical and Materials Engineering||Once per year||N/A|
|PE Mining and Mineral Processing Engineering||Once per year||25%|
|PE Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering||Once per year||N/A|
|PE Nuclear Engineering||Once per year||N/A|
|PE Petroleum Engineering||Once per year||43%|
Taking the PE exam can be costly since candidates must pay examination fees, application fees, and any other connected charges. The state and the selected engineering discipline have an impact on the overall cost. In most cases, the PE Exam costs $375, but that is only the amount to take the exam; if you want to pass the test, you will have to pay a lot more.
Exam Dates and Scheduling
The PE exam is available year-round in a number of states and territories, usually according to a predetermined timetable. Either the state licensing board or the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), the institution that conducts the exam, must receive registration for the exam and testing dates from candidates.
It is crucial to prepare for the PE exam, which typically includes using pertinent study materials, self-study, or enrolling in review courses. For exam preparation, a lot of engineers consult textbooks and reference materials.
Work Experience and Licensing
Upon completing the PE exam, candidates must work as an engineer for a set period of time under the supervision of a certified PE. States have different requirements for certain experiences. After completing the work experience, individuals can apply to the engineering board of the state for a PE license.
Continuous professional development and education are generally prerequisites for PE license holders to keep their licenses current. This could entail earning a specific amount of continuing education units (CEUs) or professional development hours (PDH) annually.