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How Do I Get My Professional Engineer License?

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Last week we overviewed who might benefit from pursuing their Professional Engineer (PE) license. Now let’s dive into how you go about obtaining the designation. Please note that requirements vary by state and country. In the interest of brevity, today’s information will focus on the path to licensure in Ohio. For other states and countries’ processes, visit National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).

To obtain a PE license in Ohio, you’ll follow these steps:

  1. Complete your education: Obtain a bachelor's degree in engineering from an ABET-accredited program or an equivalent program recognized by the Ohio State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors (OSBOR).
  2. Take and pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam: This exam is the first step toward becoming a licensed PE and tests your understanding of fundamental engineering principles. It's usually taken in your final year of undergraduate studies or shortly after graduation.
  3. Gain the necessary engineering work experience: You need at least four years of progressive engineering work experience under the supervision of a licensed PE. NOTE: In Ohio, co-op and internship experience counts toward the work requirement, however, only experience in your major from your junior year onward applies. Also, you must be signed up for a university course for it to count (ENGR 4191 works for this). You cannot retroactively count internship and co-op experiences towards the work requirement.
  4. Take and pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) Exam: Once you've acquired the required work experience, you need to apply, take, and pass the PE exam in your chosen discipline.
  5. Apply for licensure: Done through OSBOR, the application will ensure you meet all the requirements and have submitted all of the necessary documentation, including transcripts, exam results, and verification of work experience.
  6. Complete an ethics exam or course: OSBOR mandates that candidates seeking licensure fulfill an ethics component, which ensures that licensed engineers understand and adhere to ethical standards in their practice.
  7. Receive your license: Upon approval of your application and successful completion of all exams and requirements, you'll receive your PE license!

These steps may have slight variations or additional requirements based on your individual situation or changes in geographical regulations. Be sure to check NCEES for accurate and updated information regarding licensure procedures. ECS also has a Professional Engineer Licensure guide that you can find in Handshake’s Resource Library.

“Sometimes we make the process more complicated than we need to. We will never make a journey of a thousand miles by fretting about how long it will take or how hard it will be. We make the journey by taking each day step by step and then repeating it again and again until we reach our destination.” - Joseph B. Wirthlin

Category: On the Job