PE exam

The PE exam tests your ability to practice competently in a particular engineering discipline. It is designed for engineers who have gained at least 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.

Scheduled exam administrations

PE exam specifications and design standards

Exam specifications and design standards are posted 6 months before the exam administration. Updates for April exams are posted in November, and updates for October exams are posted in May.

Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Civil: Construction (with new design standards for 2016 exams)
Civil: Geotechnical (with design standards)
Civil: Structural (with design standards)
Civil: Transportation (with design standards)
Civil: Water Resources and Environmental
Control Systems
Electrical and Computer: Computer Engineering
Electrical and Computer: Electrical and Electronics
Electrical and Computer: Power
Fire Protection
Mechanical: HVAC and Refrigeration
Mechanical: Mechanical Systems and Materials
Mechanical: Thermal and Fluids Systems
Metallurgical and Materials
Mining and Mineral Processing (new specifications for the 2016 exam)
Naval Architecture and Marine (new specifications for the 2016 exam)
Structural (with design standards)

Afternoon modules

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.

Reference materials

The PE exam is an open-book exam. You are allowed to bring reference materials to the exam, provided they are bound and remain bound during the exam. Loose paper may be bound with ring binders, brads, plastic snap binders, spiral-bound notebooks, and screw posts—but not with staples. Sticky notes and flags are permitted only when they remain attached to book pages.

Scoring and reporting

Exam results are typically released to the licensing boards 8–10 weeks after the exam. Depending on your state, you will be notified of your exam result online through your My NCEES account or via postal mail from your state licensing board.

Click here to learn more about how NCEES exams are scored.

PE pass rates

Pass rates are from the April 2015 exam administration, except where otherwise noted.

Exam First-time takers Repeat takers
Volume Pass Rate Volume Pass Rate
PE Agricultural and Biological 24 79% 7 43%
PE Architectural 88 83% 12 42%
PE Chemical 215 69% 73 22%
PE Civil Construction 869 57% 754 24%
PE Civil Geotechnical 460 63% 283 22%
PE Civil Structural 1163 67% 339 23%
PE Civil Transportation 1112 66% 973 32%
PE Civil Water Resources and Environmental 1073 71% 550 34%
PE Control Systems (October 2014) 226 78% 50 58%
PE Electrical and Computer: Computer Engineering 23 52% 11 18%
PE Electrical and Computer: Electrical and Electronics 98 69% 37 22%
PE Electrical and Computer: Power 828 62% 500 27%
PE Environmental 222 64% 155 32%
PE Fire Protection (October 2014) 147 64% 65 32%
PE Industrial 72 72% 17 47%
PE Mechanical HVAC and Refrigeration 484 80% 184 53%
PE Mechanical Mechanical Systems and Materials 402 69% 157 32%
PE Mechanical Thermal and Fluids Systems 510 65% 200 37%
PE Metallurgical and Materials (October 2014) 34 47% 16 25%
PE Mining and Mineral Processing (October 2014) 80 89% 15 53%
PE Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering 41 71% 6 67%
PE Nuclear (October 2014) 25 64% 6 50%
PE Petroleum (October 2014) 124 71% 32 3%
PE Software 16 63% 2 100%