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PE exam

The Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam tests for a minimum level of competency in a particular engineering discipline. It is designed for engineers who have gained a minimum of four years’ post-college work experience in their chosen engineering discipline. Each PE exam lasts 8 hours and is split into a morning and an afternoon session. Prepare for the PE exam by

  • Reviewing the PE exam specifications and design standards
  • Reading the reference materials
  • Understanding scoring and reporting
  • Viewing the most up-to-date PE exam pass rates

Familiarize yourself with your state licensing board’s unique registration procedures before registering for a PE exam. Special accommodations are available for examinees who meet certain eligibility criteria and sufficiently document their request.

Exam specifications and design standards

PE exam specifications and design standards are posted 6 months before the exam administration. Updates for the April exams are posted in November, and updates for the October exams are posted in May. Find your engineering discipline below.

Are you taking the PE Civil exam?

If you are taking either the PE Civil exam, you will be asked to select an afternoon module during registration. Your answer sheet will be scored based on the module you selected when registering.

Exam fees

The cost to take the PE exam varies from state to state (or foreign location). Depending on where you register, fees may be paid directly to NCEES, a state licensing board, or a designee of the board. Visit the engineering licensure section, and select your exam location for more information about your registration fees and payees. You may be prompted to contact your state licensing board (or foreign entity) directly.

Reference materials

The PE exam is an open-book exam. You are allowed to bring bound reference materials, but they must remain bound during the exam. Loose paper may be bound with

  • ring binders,
  • brads,
  • plastic snap binders,
  • spiral-bound notebooks,
  • and screw posts.

No staples will be permitted. Sticky notes and flags are permitted only when attached to bound materials. More information is available in the NCEES Examinee Guide.

Scoring and reporting

PE exam results are generally released to the licensing boards 8-10 weeks after the exam. Depending on your state, you will be notified of your exam results online through your MyNCEES account or via postal mail from your state licensing board.

Learn more about the engineering exam scoring process.

Pass rates

PE exam pass rates are from the October 2016 exam administration, except where otherwise noted.

ExamFirst-time takers Repeat takers 
VolumePass RateVolumePass Rate
PE Agricultural and Biological (April 2016)2972%560%
PE Architectural (April 2016)8686%633%
PE Chemical29671%6632%
PE Civil Construction74255%70829%
PE Civil Geotechnical50563%29527%
PE Civil Structural134766%59043%
PE Civil Transportation142168%81533%
PE Civil Water Resources and Environmental143071%61335%
PE Control Systems22979%4945%
PE Electrical and Computer: Computer Engineering2162%729%
PE Electrical and Computer: Electrical and Electronics10478%4360%
PE Electrical and Computer: Power100366%50938%
PE Environmental24262%11437%
PE Fire Protection14864%7238%
PE Industrial and Systems (April 2016)7278%1513%
PE Mechanical HVAC and Refrigeration49583%15448%
PE Mechanical Mechanical Systems and Materials55373%14747%
PE Mechanical Thermal and Fluids Systems64373%20447%
PE Metallurgical and Materials4567%757%
PE Mining and Mineral Processing5165%1127%
PE Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (April 2016)5675%1010%
PE Nuclear2572%1070%
PE Petroleum19266%5540%
PE Software (April 2016)956%633%