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PE exam

The Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam will test your ability to practice in a particular engineering discipline competently. It is designed for engineers who have gained at minimum 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. Be prepared 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 or PE Mechanical exam?

If you are taking either the PE Civil or PE Mechanical 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 April 2016 exam administration, except where otherwise noted.

ExamFirst-time takers Repeat takers 
VolumePass RateVolumePass Rate
PE Agricultural and Biological2972%560%
PE Architectural8686%633%
PE Chemical22774%8633%
PE Civil Construction77962%73736%
PE Civil Geotechnical44966%30324%
PE Civil Structural127364%57435%
PE Civil Transportation129871%90339%
PE Civil Water Resources and Environmental115971%59641%
PE Control Systems (October 2015)22273%4635%
PE Electrical and Computer: Computer Engineering2475%333%
PE Electrical and Computer: Electrical and Electronics8972%4040%
PE Electrical and Computer: Power76964%55032%
PE Environmental19864%11121%
PE Fire Protection (October 2015)15061%6727%
PE Industrial and Systems7278%1513%
PE Mechanical HVAC and Refrigeration50176%15934%
PE Mechanical Mechanical Systems and Materials45070%14936%
PE Mechanical Thermal and Fluids Systems50073%22347%
PE Metallurgical and Materials (October 2015)4683%2055%
PE Mining and Mineral Processing (October 2015)5675%1540%
PE Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering5675%1010%
PE Nuclear (October 2015)2458%90%
PE Petroleum (October 2015)13261%4732%
PE Software956%633%