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International resources

What does it mean to be a P.E. in the United States?

The following resources are available to engineers who were educated or who practice outside the United States and who are seeking to become licensed in the United States.

If you are currently licensed in the United States and seeking recognition to practice in another country, learn more about the NCEES International Registry.

What is the P.E. license?

Engineers in the United States use the P.E. designation when they are licensed by a U.S. state or territory. There is no single, nationwide license that allows engineers to practice across U.S. state lines. State licensing boards grant the P.E. license when licensure candidates meet a combination of requirements in education, experience, and exams. State laws limit the practice of engineering to licensed professional engineers, which means that a P.E. is required for such things as

  • Stamping and sealing designs
  • Bidding for government contracts
  • Owning a firm
  • Consulting
  • Offering expert witness testimony
  • Advertising services to the public


While each U.S. state/jurisdiction has its own laws concerning professional licensure, the requirements for the P.E. license generally follow this outline:

  • A bachelor’s or master’s degree in engineering from a program accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET
  • An acceptable result on the FE exam
  • Four years of acceptable work experience in the candidate’s engineering discipline
  • An acceptable result on the PE exam in the candidate’s discipline

We encourage you to contact the licensing board in the U.S. state or territory where you plan to apply for licensure to find out its specific requirements.

Education requirement

Because international licensure candidates typically have degrees from programs that are not accredited by EAC/ABET, most U.S. licensing boards require candidates to have their academic credentials evaluated.

NCEES offers a Credentials Evaluations service that compares a candidate’s academic background to established criteria. It then provides this information to the U.S. licensing board where the candidate is applying to sit for an exam.

Exam offerings outside the United States

NCEES has agreements with the following foreign entities to administer an NCEES exam in those countries. Click the appropriate link for information about locations, exam offerings, and scheduled exam administrations.

The NCEES publication Criteria for Evaluating the Administration of Exams at Non-U.S. Sites (PDF) describes NCEES policies, criteria, and processes related to NCEES exam administration at sites outside the United States.