Becoming a Professional Engineer (PE)

A Professional Engineer (PE) is an engineer certified by a state board of registration to practice engineering. The PE license is the engineering profession's highest standard of competence, a symbol of achievement and assurance of quality.

The College of Engineering believes that professional registration is an important goal for engineering graduates. Passing the FE Exam is the first step toward that goal.

You must complete four steps to become a licensed Professional Engineer:

NC State engineering programs are accredited by ABET. The College offers a review course, E 490, twice annually on the NC State campus to help prepare graduating seniors for the FE exam.

Engineering experience must be certified by the North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors (NCBELS).

Why Become a Professional Engineer?

Being licensed as a Professional Engineer is an important distinction and can enhance your career options. Many engineering jobs require a PE license to work as an engineering consultant or senior engineer, testify as an expert witness, conduct patent work, work in public safety, or advertise to provide engineering services. Although you may never need to be registered for “legal” reasons, you may find that you need to be a PE to be eligible for engineering management positions.

On the average, PEs make significantly more money than unlicensed engineers. Even if your first job does not require a PE license, you may need it later in your career. In today's economic environment, it pays to be in a position to move to new jobs and compete with others who have a PE license or are on a professional engineering track. It is also highly unlikely that a job requiring a PE license will be outsourced overseas.