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 (new specifications for the April 2015 exam)
Civil: Construction (new specifications and design standards for the 2015 exams)
Civil: Geotechnical (new specifications and design standards for the 2015 exams)
Civil: Structural (new specifications and design standards for the 2015 exams)
Civil: Transportation (new specifications and design standards for the 2015 exams)
Civil: Water Resources and Environmental (new specifications for the 2015 exams)
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 (new specifications for the 2015 exam)
Mining and Mineral Processing
Naval Architecture and Marine
Structural (with design standards for the 2015 exams)

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 October 2014 exam administration, except where otherwise noted.

Exam First-time takers Repeat takers
Volume Pass Rate Volume Pass Rate
PE Agricultural (October 2013)*
PE Architectural (April 2014) 64 72% 12 17%
PE Chemical 235 71% 75 25%
PE Civil Construction 696 56% 641 22%
PE Civil Geotechnical 428 67% 267 27%
PE Civil Structural 989 73% 284 38%
PE Civil Transportation 1006 64% 925 33%
PE Civil Water Resources and Environmental 892 72% 485 38%
PE Control Systems 226 78% 50 58%
PE Electrical and Computer: Computer Engineering 19 68% 7 0%
PE Electrical and Computer: Electrical and Electronics 102 84% 39 28%
PE Electrical and Computer: Power 779 63% 493 32%
PE Environmental 223 59% 140 34%
PE Fire Protection 147 64% 65 32%
PE Industrial (April 2014) 72 69% 13 15%
PE Mechanical HVAC and Refrigeration 498 78% 155 47%
PE Mechanical Mechanical Systems and Materials 462 67% 149 40%
PE Mechanical Thermal and Fluids Systems 509 72% 200 44%
PE Metallurgical and Materials 34 47% 16 25%
PE Mining and Mineral Processing 80 89% 15 53%
PE Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (April 2014) 47 81% 12 67%
PE Nuclear 25 64% 6 50%
PE Petroleum 124 71% 32 3%
PE Software (April 2014) 14 64% 2 50%

* Agricultural exam was not offered in October 2014. It’s moving to a spring offering starting in April 2015.