In this article, (and video above), I respond to a question from one of our subscribers about whether or not the United States Professional Engineering License can be transferred and used in different countries and vice versa.
Here is the Question:
“Can you do a video on international reciprocity, and how the us PE license compares and contrasts with engineering licenses from other countries. And for those who are not us residents and wish to take the PE exam and still work in their home countries, how would that work?”
This was a great question, and we were able to get a good answer from an article published by IEEE Insight written by David C. Cotton.
Cotton talks about the NCEES record, which is a process that makes it easier to transfer a PE license to other US States. David describes it as a record of one’s engineering career, references and school transcripts that can be included with a state licensure application. The NCEES record is essential if one is considering multi-state licensure, and even can be of assistance in international licensure and certifications. To start the process, go to the NCEES record page at, http://ncees.org/records
If your horizons take you beyond the U.S. borders, the NCEES record will assist you in two ways. First, in the same way the NCEES record is sent to individual states, one can also send a record to Canadian provinces. In Canada, licensure is handled at the provincial level in the same way licensure is handled at the state level in the United State. However, the licensing process is a little different. In all the provinces in Canada, the engineering profession is self-regulated. Canada has 12 different engineering associations
Because of the small number of engineering programs in Canada and the lesser degree of variability in the accreditation process, technical exams like the FE and PE exams are not used in the Canadian Licensure Process. However, a law and ethics examination (Professional Practice Exam) is required to gain Professional Engineering licensure. While each province gives its own version of this exam, each exam is accepted for the most part by all provinces except for Quebec, due to differences in common law and Quebec civil law.
Beyond Canada, the United States is a signatory to the Washington Accord, a treaty which covers international engineering mobility. NCEES Record holders who wish to work abroad can apply to be a part of the International Registry. Once approved, record holders can transmit their record to the following countries (as of April 2015):
- Bureau of Certification for Professional Engineers, Institution of Engineers Indonesia
- Engineers Canada
- Engineering Council of South Africa
- Engineering Council, United Kingdom
- Hong Kong Institution of Engineers
- Professional Regulation Commission, Philippines
- The Board of Engineers, Malaysia
- The Institution of Engineers, Australia
- The Institution of Engineers, Ireland
- The Institution of Professional Engineers, Japan
- The Institution of Professional Engineers, New Zealand
- The Korean Professional Engineers Association
The NCEES Record provides a great way to move forward into multi-state and international engineering practice. Setting up your record is no more difficult than registering for a state license and saves time and hassle when registering in many jurisdictions. Many states provide an expedited process for NCEES record holders applying in their jurisdictions. Like taking the FE and PE exams, the NCEES Record provides flexible options for the future.
I hope you found this article on global engineering license requirements 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