Professional-Engineering-Licensure
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Professional-Engineering-Licensure

Course Number: MET 1000, Fall 2009

College/University: SPSU

Word Count: 953

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Professional Engineering licensure One of the most important decisions you can make early in your engineering career is to place yourself on a course to become licensed as a professional engineer (P.E.). The licensing of engineers is important because of the significant role engineering plays in society, affecting every human being in terms of safe buildings and roads, clean water, functional machinery,...

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Engineering Professional licensure One of the most important decisions you can make early in your engineering career is to place yourself on a course to become licensed as a professional engineer (P.E.). The licensing of engineers is important because of the significant role engineering plays in society, affecting every human being in terms of safe buildings and roads, clean water, functional machinery, communication, and medicine. The profession is regulated by licensing boards--composed of P.E.'s and members of the public--in each U.S. state and territory. The licensing boards set high standards for professional engineers, and these high standards help protect the public health, safety, and welfare. As a result, engineers must be licensed to offer their services to the public. What is the FE exam? The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam is a measure of minimum competency to enter the profession. Many colleges and universities encourage students to take the FE exam as an outcomes assessment tool upon the completion of the education coursework. Employers hiring recent engineering graduates often look to see if the applicant has successfully passed the FE exam. Passing the exam also demonstrates how serious you are about your engineering career. Most jurisdictions evaluate education and experience as a prerequisite to an applicant's acceptance to take the FE exam. For example, state requirements may vary regarding the specific point in your academic training that you can sit for the FE exam. Therefore, it is recommended that you contact the appropriate licensing board for information about their requirements. You will take the FE exam in the state in which your college or university is located. SPSU students can take the FE exam right away and there is no need to wait and gain any work experience after graduation. The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) prepares the national FE exam for all licensing boards. This exam is a valid measure of minimum competency related to the educational training received in an engineering degree program. When do I take the FE exam? The best time to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam is while you are enrolled in college, typically the last semester of your final year. Taking the FE exam while you're still in school or just finishing up gives you flexibility. You're most prepared and in test-taking mode while you're in your final year of the engineering program. If you decide later that you want professional licensure, you will have to take the FE exam first. Passing the FE exam also demonstrates to a potential employer that you are committed to your career and that you've achieved a specific level of competency in your undergraduate training. Nearly 75% of the people who take the FE exam pass it the first time. Evidence shows that pass rates decrease the longer someone waits sit to for the exam. How do I sign up? The exam is offered in October and April each year. It's best to contact the licensing board in the state where your college or university is located to find out details about exam registration. Most boards evaluate education and experience as a prerequisite to an applicant's acceptance to take the FE exam, and may have requirements about when in your academic training you can take the FE exam. These requirements vary from state to state, so it is recommended that you contact the appropriate licensing board for information about their requirements. Where do I take the exam? You will most likely take the FE exam in the state in which your college or university is located since the exams are scheduled for October and April. Contact the state licensing board for more information. You do not have to take the FE exam in the state in which you want to work. However, you do have to apply for P.E. licensure in the state in which you want to work. What is the PE exam? The first national Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam was administered in 1966, and by 1984, each state and U.S territory had adopted the uniform national PE exam. Today, the NCEES offers PE exams for many disciplines. State licensing boards offer the larger disciplines twice each year, while offering the other more specialized disciplines once per year. Click here for a complete exam schedule. Why is it important? One of the most important decisions you can make early in your engineering career is to place yourself on a course to become a licensed professional engineer. The profession is regulated through the licensing boards in each U.S. state and territory. The high standards set by the licensing boards help protect the public by requiring that professional engineers demonstrate their competence to practice in a manner that will safeguard the public health, safety, and welfare. For most, once you've received your ABET-accredited engineering degree, passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, and completed four years of progressive and verifiable experience that is acceptable to your licensing board, you are eligible to take the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. Most licensing boards require that these four years of experience be gained under the supervision of a licensed professional engineer (for SPSU graduates this number is 7). It is recommended that you take the exam in the state or U.S. territory where you will conduct your engineering work. Each of the licensing boards can offer information about the specific requirements for your state. Once you've successfully passed the PE exam in the first state or U.S. territory and have the designation as a licensed professional engineer, you can facilitate multistate licensing through the NCEES Records Program. More information about PE and FE exams can be found here.
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