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.
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 design standards for the 2015 exams)
Civil: Geotechnical (with design standards for the 2015 exams)
Civil: Structural (with design standards for the 2015 exams)
Civil: Transportation (with design standards for the 2015 exams)
Civil: Water Resources and Environmental
Electrical and Computer: Computer Engineering
Electrical and Computer: Electrical and Electronics
Electrical and Computer: Power
Mechanical: HVAC and Refrigeration
Mechanical: Mechanical Systems and Materials
Mechanical: Thermal and Fluids Systems
Metallurgical and Materials (new specifications for the 2015 exam)
Mining and Mineral Processing
Naval Architecture and Marine (new specifications for the 2016 exam)
Structural (with design standards for the 2015 exams)
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.
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.
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 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 Fire Protection (October 2014)||147||64%||65||32%|
|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%|