Professional licensure protects the public by enforcing standards that restrict practice to qualified individuals who have met specific qualifications in education, work experience, and exams.
In the United States, licensure for the engineering and surveying professions is regulated by state. Candidates interested in pursuing licensure are encouraged to check the requirements in the state or territory where they plan to practice, as the requirements vary.
Licensed engineers are a select group. Because the requirements are stringent and because there are some exemptions that allow engineers to work under the supervision of a P.E., not all engineers become licensed. Those who do achieve licensure, however, enjoy the professional benefits that accompany this distinction.
Licensed engineers also enjoy more career options. As a P.E., you would be able to perform certain tasks, such as
- Stamp and seal designs
- Bid for government contracts
- Be principal of a firm
- Perform consulting services
- Offer services to the public
Steps to become a P.E.
While each state licensing board has its own laws regarding engineering licensure, there is a general four-step process for licensure candidates:
- Earn a degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program.
- Pass the FE exam.
- Gain acceptable work experience (typically a minimum of four years). In most cases, this must be completed under the supervision of a P.E.
- Pass the PE exam in the appropriate discipline.
Each state and territory in the United States requires those who perform the tasks defined as the practice of surveying to hold a professional surveying license. Put simply, if you want to be a surveyor, you must become licensed.
Steps to become a P.S.
While each state licensing board has its own laws regarding surveying licensure, there is a general four-step process for licensure candidates:
- Complete the appropriate level of education. Check your state’s requirements: some require only a high school diploma, while many others require a degree from an accredited four-year surveying program.
- Pass the FS exam.
- Gain acceptable work experience (typically four years). In most cases, this must be completed under the supervision of a licensed surveyor.
- Pass the PS exam.