In this article (and video above), I answer a question I get from many listeners, which is: “Can you take the PE exam without taking the FE exam first?”
So, Can You Take the PE Exam Without Taking the FE Exam First?
Each state acts independently to set its own education experience and residency requirements. States can have widely different requirements in these areas. The important thing here is to always check with your state board.
There are states in which you may apply directly for the PE exam without taking the FE exam if you have at least 12 years of engineering work experience that is acceptable to the PE Board, wherein in five of those years, you are in “responsible charge” of engineering work. The National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) defines responsible charge as the “direct control and personal supervision of engineering work.”
If you are working in an engineering position after graduation, then you are actively acquiring “progressive engineering experience”. Experience which you can reference 100% when you go to apply for your PE exam.
Here Is How the State Board in Texas and Their Waiver Experience Works for the FE Exam:
Waivers of exams are not automatically approved. The Board will consider waiver requests from individuals meeting specific requirements. Waivers may be granted if the applicant provides sufficient evidence of their qualifications through creditable engineering experience and references.
An applicant is not eligible to request a waiver of the FE exam if they have failed any FE exam within the previous two years. The applicant must report all FE exam failures in any jurisdiction. An applicant is not eligible to request a waiver of the FE exam if they have failed the FE exam three or more times in any jurisdiction.
So you can see, states do provide some guidelines around this. Texas goes on to list six specific requirements for a waiver application, which include:
- A standard application
- An application fee
- A letter requesting the waiver
- An ethics exam
- A supplemental Experience Record (or SER) documenting at least 8 years of creditable experience – with an accredited degree (ABET – EAC or equivalent) OR 12 years of creditable experience – with a non-accredited degree (not ABET – EAC)
- Five references from licensed Professional Engineers supporting the SER.
The above requirements are only applicable to the Board in Texas, and you absolutely must check with your licensing board on what their requirements are. So, it may not be a short and simple process, but it is possible to receive a PE license without having to take the FE exam.
Qualifying to Take the NCEES PE Exam
Licensing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Professional Engineers
Exam Waiver Requirements
The National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)
I hope you found this article helpful. In upcoming articles, I will solve some more PE exam practice problems and answer other questions from our subscribers.
Pass the PE Exam videos will publish weekly, so be sure to click the subscribe button so you don’t miss something that could make a substantial difference in your exam result.
Lastly, I encourage you to ask questions in the comments of this video, or on this page and I’ll read and respond to them in future videos. So if there’s a specific topic you want me to cover or answer, we have you covered.
I’ll see you next week… on Pass the PE Exam
Anthony Fasano, P.E.
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success