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How To Become a Professional Engineer: A Complete Guide

Are you interested in a long career path that allows you to impact businesses and people daily? Do you want to know how to become a professional engineer?

Engineering jobs offer many different types of jobs and industries to experience. It’s a career that offers opportunities with a lot of salary potential. It’s one of the highest-paying careers while requiring significant education.

It is why more and more young people are pursuing engineering degrees to become engineers. Is this something you want to do too?

Keep reading and learn more about how to become a professional engineer. Let’s get started!

Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering

If you want to become a professional engineer, you will need to get a bachelor’s degree in engineering from an accredited institution. Depending on your chosen field of engineering, you may need to complete a 4-year or 5-year program. There are many different types of engineering disciplines.

It is important for someone interested in becoming a professional engineer to choose the type of engineering they are most interested in before pursuing their degree.

They can choose to be a mechanical engineer, chemical engineer, electrical engineer, or a civil engineer. Others may choose these newer engineering fields, such as biomedical, environmental, or nanotechnology. Professional engineers work in one of these disciplines.

They use knowledge and skills to design and oversee the construction of various projects. During your undergraduate studies, you will likely have courses in mathematics, physics, and chemistry, as well as your chosen engineering specialty. You should consider taking a master’s degree or a Ph.D. if you want to increase your chances of working in management or research and development.

Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam

After obtaining an engineering degree from an ABET-accredited institution, to become licensed, you must first pass the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam. This exam is administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. And these are requirements for licensure in all states.

The exam covers topics such as mathematics, ethics, engineering economics, and your specific engineering discipline. You must score a 70% or higher to pass.

Gain Four Years of Engineering Experience

To become a professional engineer, one must first gain four years of engineering experience. And, supervision by a professional licensed engineer is a rule. The licensed engineer must then sign and endorse the engineer-in-training.

This is for their intention to take the professional engineering (PE) exams.

How to Prepare for the PE Exam

It is important to pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering PE exam. To become a licensed professional engineer, pe exam prep is key. There are many preparation courses available.

And taking these courses can make you prepare and pass this major exam. Many engineering schools offer courses to help you prepare for the PE exam. And there are also many commercial review courses available.

Through this comprehensive course, one can gain all the necessary skills and confidence required to tackle the PE exam. The course not only provides great insights. But also builds up problem-solving skills which are important in the exam.

It is highly recommended these courses to everyone who is planning to take the exam. When you are ready to take it, you will need to register with NCEES and pay the exam fee. The exam is usually offered twice a year, in April and October.

You will need to choose a date and location for the exam. The exam is an eight-hour, open-book exam. It is normally divided into two four-hour sessions, and you can take one or both sessions, depending on your engineering discipline.

You will need to bring a reference manual and several sharpened pencils with erasers to the exam. You will be given a cardboard box to store your reference materials during the exam. You will be allowed to use a calculator at the time of the examination.

Pass the PE Exam

To become a professional engineer, you must first pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. The exam is administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).  The morning exam covers general engineering topics.

While the afternoon exam focuses on your chosen engineering discipline. You will need to prepare for the PE exam by studying the NCEES Exam Specifications for your chosen engineering discipline. Most people who pass the PE Exam find that their engineering knowledge and skills are beneficial in their careers.

Professional engineers are in demand in many industries. And, so passing the PE Exam is a great way to improve your career prospects.

Professional Organizations to Join

Engineers are problem solvers. They take on complex challenges and develop creative solutions that improve our quality of life. As a profession, engineering is about applying science and math to real-world problems.

If you’re a student interested in becoming a professional engineer, or an engineering professional looking to advance your career, there are a few professional organizations you can join. Each organization has its requirements and benefits. All can offer support, resources, and networking opportunities.

First is The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). It is the world’s largest professional engineering organization. The IEEE offers student membership at a discounted rate and provides access to online resources, career development tools, and professional development opportunities.

The second is The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). It is another professional organization for engineering students and professionals. The ASCE offers student memberships and provides access to online resources, publications, and networking opportunities.

And last, The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). It is the world’s largest professional society for the aerospace industry. The AIAA offers student memberships and provides access to online resources, educational resources, and career development tools.

How to Become a Professional Engineer

If you want to become a professional engineer, this guide will give you all the information you need. From what education to get, to what professional organizations to join, to how to become licensed, this guide will give you the complete picture.

So why wait? Get started, you are on the right path on how to become a professional engineer.

If you think this article is helpful, check out our other blogs!

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