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PE Requirements

  • 1.  PE Requirements

    Posted 04-01-2021 11:53 AM
    Hello all,

    My concern is that I am currently working on my B.S. in Civil Engineering at Liberty University. They are currently applying for ABET Certification in for the 2023-2024 term. Online Program Description- See all the great classwork I am completing! I plan to graduate in the Spring of 2023. How will this effect my plan to earn my PE license? Will I have to work at as a intern for an extra two years since I did not graduate from an ABET Certified Engineering Program? Or will I be able to take my PE exam after two years work experience under a PE? What recommendations do you have to increase my chances of earning an internship next year? Any other recommendations?

    John Schwartz
    Civil Engineering Student at Liberty University

  • 2.  RE: PE Requirements

    Posted 04-01-2021 03:05 PM

    Hi Mr. John Schwartz,

    Do you have your EIT? The licensing process starts with EIT to PE, but before you can sit for an EIT exam you must complete a degree from an ABET accredited school. Each state is going to require a certain amount of years as an engineer-in-training (EIT) or engineer-intern (EI). If your school is in the process of acquiring an ABET accreditation, they may be able to apply for an amendment for students that have graduated a couple of years prior, if your School's Board allows it.

    Short checklist:
    1. ABET Accreditation *This is the school's job, not yours.
    2. Pass EIT Exam *Acquiring experience as a EIT varies before you can take your PE exam, some are 4 years, some are 5.
    3. Pass PE Exam

    It sounds like your school is going through the workings of accreditation, I wouldn't be bummed out, but you will definitely need to keep track of the process to make sure that you did not waste your time studying there.

    Edited 04/13/2021:
    My school went through this same process when I graduated high school. I was in a different program and the civil engineering program was going through an accreditation process. It can be frustrating to know that you went to school to get a Civil Engineering degree and want to be a PE one day, but when you walk to the entrance door they say you can't take the exam because you went to a school that wasn't accredited.

    I noticed that your degree is online and if so you are going to be missing out on a lot of technical and hands on approaches like lab, technical writing, and a lot of the things that online interactions don't capture.

    There is nothing wrong with being concerned about the development of your future and career. Ask your professors if you can get involved with the accreditation process, you'll also be helping a lot of students out. 

    Oanh Le,
    Kennesaw State University

    Oanh Le, A.M.ASCE (She/Her)
    Rochdale, MA

  • 3.  RE: PE Requirements

    Posted 04-02-2021 09:19 AM
    @Oanh Le brings a good point. The requirements vary depending on location, but the basics for here in Virginia:
    • Bachelor's in engineering from ABET-accredited university.
      • I'm not sure what the alternative routes are for those who have a B.S. but not from an accredited program. It's enough work jumping through the hoops when all things are "standard" that I would be hesitant to try to push through with non-standard. 
    • FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) Exam to get EIT certification. (Take it while the material is fresh in your mind your senior year, as many employers require an EIT cert. for work, and the material knowledge will only fade over time. It's also good practice for the PE Exam.)
    • 4 years' work experience in engineering, under/with a PE. A Master's degree counts as 1 year, a Ph.D. counts as another, but you can't get either of these in less than a year, so they're not shortcuts.
    • PE Exam. (In VA, you need 4 years' experience before you can take it. Some states allow you to take the PE exam as soon after the FE exam as you like, others a little later, but you will need at least 4 years before getting the PE license, regardless of when you take the exam.)
    My soft recommendation would be to think hard about transferring to one of the already-ABET-accredited schools/programs in the state. (Not all programs at any given school are accredited. For example, the MechE program might be while the CivE program might not be.) UVA and VT are both relatively close, and have respected, ABET-accredited Civil Engineering programs. Between the two, VT has the better program, though that depends somewhat on what you are hoping to focus on. Personally, I wouldn't gamble or bet on "LU MIGHT get accreditation" given the huge uncertainty in almost all social systems these days.

    Best of luck!

    Ari Daniels, P.E., M.ASCE
    Outland, LLC - Owner/Principal
    Center for Watershed Protection, Inc. - Water Resources Engineer
    Monterey, Virginia, USA

  • 4.  RE: PE Requirements

    Posted 04-02-2021 11:10 AM
    I would recommend reaching out to the licensing board for the state where you anticipate applying for licensure. I have found that here in Oklahoma they are helpful in answering questions about the licensure process.
    Based on what you've asked here, this is what I would ask them:
    - if your university isn't accredited in the semester you graduate, how does that impact your licensure?
    - if it does, what documentation or extra steps are required to be allowed to sit for the PE exam?
    - can any of those steps be taken care of when applying for an EI (sometimes called EIT) certification instead of waiting?

    Since NCEES administers the FE exam and that is your next step, their application information should give you what you need to know about sitting for that exam. I would recommend taking this exam before graduation; I took it before my final semester. I don't recall if I've ever had to contact NCEES with questions, but their FAQ sections are usually helpful.

    As for internships, try to take any upper-level courses you can that are related to your area of interest if you are wanting a specific type of internship. Take advantage of any career fairs offered. Before speaking with companies, check out their website and have some specific questions for them. It can even be something along the lines of, "I saw on your website that you worked on the ____ project, which looked really interesting. Do you get the opportunity to work on many projects like that?"
    If you know any upperclassmen, ask them about their experience finding internships. They may even be able to recommend you to where they have worked previously.

    Best of luck!

    Heidi C. Wallace, P.E., M.ASCE
    Tulsa, OK

  • 5.  RE: PE Requirements

    Posted 04-02-2021 11:47 AM
    John -
    I'm glad to see you are thinking ahead about pursuing licensure when you're still in school. I work with ASCE's volunteers through ABET, and I received this info from one of our ABET Commissioners:

    "ABET accreditation could be extended retroactively up to two years by the request of the institution (and documentation). So most likely he could be covered for ABET accreditation, but he has to make that request to his institution first."

    I would suggest asking your department chair what they anticipate the accreditation date from ABET to see if you would be included in the retroactive action, should the program received ABET accreditation in the future.

    I hope that helps -
    Leslie Nolen
    ASCE staff

    Leslie Nolen Aff.M.ASCE
    Reston VA
    [email protected]

  • 6.  RE: PE Requirements

    Posted 04-05-2021 01:10 PM
    Dear John,

    All states have different requirements for licensure.  I graduated from Ga Tech with a B.S. in Building Construction, which is not an ABET Certified Engineering Program.  I managed to get licensed in 23 stated and 3 Canadian provinces. However, I could not get licensed in Ohio or Tennessee because of my non ABET degree.  Hopefully, you can get a job working under a PE so that you can get experience.  My experience has been that experience is worth more than the degree, in most states.  Good luck!

    John C. Ulmer, PE, SE, P. Eng.

    John Ulmer P.E., P.Eng, S.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Structural Engineer
    Parker CO

  • 7.  RE: PE Requirements

    Posted 04-05-2021 05:35 PM
    Well, from what I understand here in CA, it's not only just obtaining the degree and passing the EIT, but achieving 5 years of experience under supervision of a licensed engineer who would be your boss and under his tutelage. One is also required to have two other sponsors/references  whom you have worked with also and can vouch the work you have done.  Also here in CA, if you did not take and passed the EIT, THEY WILL ALLOW 15 YEARS OF HARD EXPERIENCES IN YOUR ENGINEERING FIELD before they can approve for you to take the 8-hour test and other State mandated tests.  So I would strongly advice you to gain that 5 years experience before you think of getting your PE license.  Just take your time and enjoy while working!


    Manuel Tamayo, Jr.
    CA DOT

    Manuel Tamayo P.E., M.ASCE
    Sacramento CA

  • 8.  RE: PE Requirements

    Posted 04-05-2021 09:10 AM
    I would recommend transferring to a university that is already ABET certified. I know a few people who graduated from a university that wasn't ABET certified yet and certification took longer than expected. They never could become registered.  It was back in the early 80's.

    George Olive P.E., M.ASCE
    Structural Engineer VI
    Enclos Corp
    Collinsville IL

  • 9.  RE: PE Requirements

    Posted 04-02-2021 10:41 AM
    Thanks for the listing the requirements to obtain my PE. It looks that the NCEES Credentials Evaluations program offers a service to evaluate your credits taken at university to be sure that they meet the ABET standards before sitting for the FE exam. State boards typically send graduates to the NCEES if they don't graduate from an ABET certified degree program. Typically, international students use this program, however it can be utilized by domestic students as well. While it is an extra step, I have confidence that my course requirements before graduation at LU will satisfy the NCEES Engineering Education Standards.

  • 10.  RE: PE Requirements

    Posted 04-02-2021 11:58 AM
    Just wanted to check that you didn't miss this part on the NCEES Credentials Evaluations:

    "Evaluations will be conducted on the following:

    1. Bachelor's degree in engineering from a non-U.S.-based program
    2. Non-EAC/ABET-accredited degree programs in engineering, engineering technology, related science, or mathematics only when coupled with a master's degree or doctorate in engineering"

    Heidi C. Wallace, P.E., M.ASCE
    Tulsa, OK

  • 11.  RE: PE Requirements

    Posted 04-05-2021 11:47 AM

    I was in a similar situation when I was working on my BSCE.  I already had a Bachelor of Arts from an accredited college which was also a School of Theology. In my particular situation it was the State Engineering program in the City where I was taking classes was not yet ABET accredited, and they would not accept my non-technical courses from the State accredited BA program, which would have added years to getting my BSCE.

    They (that program) did not want their ABET review to be questioned or delayed for any reason. However a different State University campus which was already ABET accredited would take them. So I moved to this other campus where the accreditation, the EIT test taking process and my total education was unquestioned and passed the first time. As others have said most people who take the test during school pass the first time.

    Becoming an Engineer is a rigorous process and you don't want to add any extra hurdles unnecessarily.

    Since you stated your goal is to be a practicing engineer you can speed the process by years if you go to a different university.

    Best Regards.

    Eric King PE MASCE

    Eric King P.E.
    Jacksonville FL

  • 12.  RE: PE Requirements

    Posted 04-02-2021 12:46 PM
    I did miss this. I am hopeful that ABET accreditation will be approved and retroactively applied to my degree program at LU. Even, if the process to obtain my PE license takes longer than if my program is ABET the time will not be wasted since I should have a great position in a engineering firm after obtaining my FE License. Here is my degree completion plan, as you can see there is even a class for the FE Exam. I believe that this program, while not ABET accredited yet will allow me to earn my PE license in the future.  BS Civil Engineering (

    John Schwartz S.M.ASCE
    South Elgin IL

  • 13.  RE: PE Requirements

    Posted 04-13-2021 10:08 AM
    Liberty University (LU) is currently in its second year of its civil engineering program (i.e., 2020-2021 academic year).  The first graduates from the program are expected in May 2023.  LU will follow the procedures as prescribed by ABET and apply for accreditation during the 2023 - 2024 accreditation cycle.  If the EAC grants accreditation to the program at its annual meeting in Summer 2024, the accreditation is retroactive to include both the May 2023 and May 2024 graduating classes.  Students from an ABET-accredited program typically need to take and pass the FE Exam as a first step to becoming a PE.

    John Vadnal Ph.D., M.ASCE
    Liberty University
    Lynchburg VA

  • 14.  RE: PE Requirements

    Posted 04-13-2021 10:07 AM
    Same with Sir Eric, I used to find school who have ABET accreditation so that when I graduated my degree will be accepted anywhere I go. Which is somehow unfair for the students who go in non Abet universities and didn't know about it and that they are asked to study again for more years because of it.

    Llala Chrishaye Ocampo S.M.ASCE
    City of General Trias Cavite

  • 15.  RE: PE Requirements

    Posted 05-03-2021 09:05 AM
    Hi John.
    a. Determine the state you will be taking the exam in.
    b. Learn their requirements for the PE exam, usually available in parts or sections.
    c. Prepare for the sections you can take at the earliest possible time.
    d. Check in with the local ASCE Section to learn who else is on that track or has recently taken that part of the exam.
    e. Consider forming or joining a study group.
    f. Check online for support materials and related resources.
    g. Draft a calendar schedule for your deliberate study and preparation.

    Stay Healthy!

    William M. Hayden Jr., Ph.D., P.E., CMQ/OE, F.ASCE
    Buffalo, N.Y.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot 1819 - 1880

  • 16.  RE: PE Requirements

    Posted 04-13-2021 02:25 PM
    Dr. Vadnal,

    I appreciate that you are trying to get an accredited program going. In my mind the most significant question is when exactly can your students take the FE? Are they going to be eligible in Mr Schwartz's senior year? The FE exam is really tailored for active students. Working on you FE while working creates addition stress on you and your employers, which sometimes can't be overcome with your new employer.

    Employers want their new hires working 100% on their projects to not only learn the engineering business procedures but also to evaluate how well a new hire fits in. That always means extra hours for all staff (new hires included) to show they are up for a demanding profession.

    Perhaps you could have your students take more engineering classes and make it a five year degree, extending the  graduation date. .

    Eric King P.E.
    Jacksonville FL

  • 17.  RE: PE Requirements

    Posted 04-13-2021 04:17 PM
    As follow-up to comments regarding the engineering program at Liberty University, to date, the students in our initial graduating classes have been able to take the FE Exam in Virginia during their senior year.  The state understands that it is impossible for the initial graduates to come from an ABET-accredited engineering program since ABET will not allow a program to apply for accreditation until the program has its first graduate. LU currently has ABET-accredited programs in Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Industrial & Systems Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science.  All of our engineering graduates have now come from ABET-accredited programs once the accreditation process was complete.  As additional information, LU currently has a 100% success rate on its graduates taking and passing the PE Exam.

    John Vadnal Ph.D., M.ASCE
    Liberty University
    Lynchburg VA

  • 18.  RE: PE Requirements

    Posted 04-14-2021 10:15 AM
    Dr Vadnal.

    That is very good to hear the accreditation question is a non-issue.

    And congratulations on your 100% passing rate! May it continue a long time.

    Best regards!

    Eric King P.E.
    Jacksonville FL

  • 19.  RE: PE Requirements

    Posted 04-15-2021 04:33 PM
    Dr. Vandal,
    Thank you so much for clearing up this concern. The feedback is fantastic and very inspiring.
    Praise God,

    John Schwartz
    Liberty University Civil Engineering Student