Skip to main content

ADA exam accommodations

The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) is committed to ensuring that candidates with disabilities can take the NCEES exams in an accessible place and manner. This will often require reasonable testing accommodations.

Accommodations may consist of changes in the physical testing environment, additional testing time, additional break time, the provision of auxiliary aids or services, testing without a face mask, or other changes in the standard test administration. To receive such accommodations, a candidate must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits his or her ability to perform one or more major life activities (such as walking, seeing, hearing, learning, reading, concentrating, or thinking) or a major bodily function (such as neurological, endocrine, or digestive system) that impacts taking an examination, as compared with most people in the general population. NCEES encourages candidates with disabilities to request accommodations.

As a part of the registration process, you will have the opportunity to indicate your need for ADA exam accommodations. After registration is completed, you will receive an email with instructions on how to complete and submit your request for accommodations.

Click here for additional information on ADA accommodations and to learn how to complete and submit your request.

Email questions related to the accommodations process to NCEES at accommodations@ncees.org

Deadline

Registration for the April 2022 pencil-and-paper PE Structural exams will open on December 13, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. EST and close on February 24, 2022, at 3:00 p.m. EST. If requesting accommodations for the April 2022 PE Structural pencil-and-paper exams, all requests, appeals, and supporting documentation must have been received by 3:00 p.m. EST on February 24, 2022.

While there isn’t a stated deadline for computer-based testing (CBT) exams, examinees taking CBT exams should account for up to an additional 45-day processing time when planning to take the exam. Examinees will not be authorized to schedule an appointment for testing until this process has been completed.

Comfort aids for CBT examinees

The test center will provide items included on the Pearson VUE Comfort Aid List, such as earplugs, noise-canceling headphones, and tissues. These items do not require preapproval. Other comfort aids, such as braces (neck, back, ankle, etc.), hearing aids, eye drops, and mobility devices, will be allowed in the testing room upon visual inspection by test center staff. Test center staff will conduct the visual inspection by examining the item but will not physically touch you or the item and will not ask you to remove the item.

Any items that are not listed in the NCEES Examinee Guide must be requested as a testing accommodation and approved prior to scheduling your exam. It is your responsibility to make sure that you have the current version of this guide.

FAQs

  • Does NCEES provide reasonable accommodations for examinees?

    Yes. NCEES is committed to ensuring that candidates with disabilities can take the NCEES exams in an accessible place and manner. This will often require reasonable testing accommodations.

  • What is the purpose of ADA accommodations?

    In the testing context, accommodations are intended to ensure that individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and abilities on a level playing field with other examinees. While the use of accommodations in the exam activity will presumably enable a candidate with disabilities to better demonstrate their knowledge mastery, accommodations are not a guarantee of improved performance, exam completion, or a passing score.

    There may be situations in which NCEES cannot provide a requested accommodation to a candidate with a disability because it would fundamentally alter what the exam is intended to measure, jeopardize exam security, or cause an undue administrative burden. If this happens, NCEES will work with the candidate to identify alternative accommodations that are reasonable and effective.

    The need for test accommodations is individualized and considered on a case-by-case basis. Regardless of diagnosis, all examinees seeking disability-related accommodations must provide evidence that their condition rises to the level of a disability, as well as information about the resulting functional limitations they experience. Simply demonstrating that an individual meets diagnostic criteria for a particular disorder does not automatically mean that the person is disabled or entitled to test accommodations.

    It is also important to understand that accommodations must be appropriate to the particular setting. Extra time or a given auxiliary aid might be appropriate for a given individual in the classroom for example, but not be on a licensure exam.

  • Do I qualify for ADA accommodations?

    To receive such accommodations, a candidate must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits his or her ability to perform one or more major life activities (such as walking, seeing, hearing, learning, reading, concentrating, or thinking) or a major bodily function (such as neurological, endocrine, or digestive system) that impacts taking an examination, as compared with most people in the general population.

  • What types of ADA exam accommodations are available?

    Accommodations may consist of changes in the physical testing environment, additional testing time, additional break time, the provision of auxiliary aids or services, or other changes in the standard test administration.

  • Do I need to request accommodations if I am a nursing mother?

    If you are a nursing mother and wish to make a request for accommodations, such as a private room to express milk and/or extra time for breaks, indicate your need for ADA accommodations when you register for the exam.

    Supporting documentation from your doctor or your child’s doctor should include the following:

    • Confirmation that you are a breastfeeding mother
    • Specific recommendations for accommodations (i.e., private room, number of breaks)
  • Where should my request and documentation be submitted?

    All examinees are asked if they would like to request reasonable accommodations during the exam registration process. After registration is completed, examinees receive an email with instructions on how to complete and submit a request for reasonable accommodations.

    Please visit https://ncees.org/exams/reasonable-accommodations/documentation-specifics/ for directions on how to submit your documentation.

  • Can I add a request for reasonable accommodations to an existing exam registration?

    No. Requests for reasonable accommodations cannot be added to an existing exam registration.

  • Are there deadlines for submitting an accommodation request and supporting documentation?

    Yes. If the exam you plan to take is administered in a paper-and-pencil format, NCEES must receive your request and all necessary supporting documentation no later than the registration deadline specified on our website. This is to ensure If the exam you plan to take is administered in a computer-based format, please register for, and submit your request, at least forty-five (45) days before your desired examination date.

    In all cases, you are encouraged to submit your request and supporting documentation as far in advance of the applicable testing date as possible for computer-based exams and as soon as you can after test registration opens for paper-and-pencil exams, in case questions arise regarding your request or any needed documentation is missing.

  • How long does it take for a request for accommodations to be reviewed?

    NCEES ordinarily responds to a request for accommodations within ten (10) business days of receiving the request and all supporting documentation. In most cases, the response will notify the candidate whether accommodations have been approved and, if so, what those accommodations are. In some cases, however, NCEES might not be able to make a decision on an accommodation request, and additional information or documentation might be requested.

  • Where can I learn about documentation guidelines?

    Please visit https://ncees.org/exams/reasonable-accommodations/documentation-guidelines/ for information on documentation guidelines.

  • What if my existing documentation does not meet the guidelines?

    Candidates are welcome to submit what they have for review by NCEES. If needed documentation is missing or the documentation submitted is not sufficiently current, NCEES will notify the candidate in writing and the candidate will have an opportunity to submit supplemental documentation and information. Keep in mind, however, that a delay in submitting all necessary documentation to NCEES will delay NCEES’s ability to decide your request.

  • What if I do not have any documentation for my disability?

    Candidates who do not have the necessary documentation should visit a qualified healthcare professional for an evaluation. Share the NCEES documentation guidelines with the professional and ask the professional to complete documentation that the professional believes to be appropriate. You can then provide that documentation to NCEES.

  • Where can I get documentation for a learning disability, ADHD, psychological impairment, or traumatic brain injury?

    NCEES does not provide recommendations regarding specific healthcare providers. In general, however, candidates should be evaluated by a licensed healthcare professional whose qualifications and expertise include diagnosing the impairment that is the basis for a candidate’s request for accommodations. We recommend that you provide a copy of the NCEES documentation guidelines to the healthcare provider whom you consult, including the specific documentation guidelines that are relevant to your impairment(s).

  • Will my medical and/or mental health information be treated confidentially?

    All medical and/or mental health information submitted with a request for accommodations is considered confidential. The information will be used by NCEES and its vendors only to evaluate a candidate’s need for accommodations and to provide approved accommodations. The only exceptions are when disclosure is required pursuant to a valid request for information from an administrative agency or a valid subpoena or other court order in a judicial proceeding, or in connection with an administrative or judicial proceeding related to a candidate’s accommodation request. NCEES may also provide access to accommodation-related records to researchers, but not in a manner that allows the researchers to see any personally identifiable candidate information.

  • If I request accommodations, can I register to take the exam before a decision is made on my request for accommodations?

    You should request an accommodation at the time you register. If the exam you are taking is a computer-based exam, you can register but you cannot reserve a seat at the testing center until a decision is made on your accommodation request. If you are taking a paper-and-pencil exam, you also can register, but your registration will not be approved until a decision is made on your request.

  • If I am not approved for all the accommodations I requested, can I appeal that decision?

    Yes. The appeal must be submitted within seven (7) days of receiving the decision, and supplemental documentation or information is always welcome. Ordinarily, decisions will be made on an appeal within ten (10) business days of its receipt.

  • If I received accommodations on a different examination (such as the ACT or SAT exam), in high school or college, or at work, will I automatically receive them on an NCEES exam?

    No. Receiving accommodations in other contexts does not automatically mean that you need or will receive accommodations on an NCEES exam. You should provide that information to NCEES, however, and it will be carefully considered in deciding whether to approve your request for accommodations on the applicable NCEES examination.

  • If I have been approved previously for disability-related accommodations on an NCEES exam, do I need to re-submit supporting documentation if I test again and want to receive the same accommodations?

    No, you do not need to resubmit your supporting documentation, so long as you are testing within four years of the NCEES exam on which you received accommodations previously. You will just need to indicate during the registration process that you want the same accommodations. If you want different accommodations, you will need to submit a new accommodation request as well as supporting documentation.