If you are considering a career in environmental engineering, and you want to pursue your professional engineering license, you may be stuck deciding which professional engineering exam to take. You could take the PE Civil Exam with a Water Resources and Environmental depth option or you could take the PE Environmental. The National Council of Examiners and Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) offers both.
So how will you decide? Firstly, consider looking at the specifications of each exam, as below:
The PE Environmental Exam topics include:
- Solid and Hazardous Waste,
- Site Assessment and Remediation,
- Environmental Health and Safety, and
- Associated Engineering Principles.
The PE Civil Exam Breadth topics include:
- Project Planning,
- Means and Methods,
- Soil Mechanics,
- Structural Mechanics,
- Hydraulics and Hydrology,
- Geometrics, Materials, and
- Site Development.
The Water Resources and Environmental depth option includes:
- Analysis and Design,
- Hydraulics- Closed Circuits,
- Hydraulics- Open Channel, Hydrology,
- Groundwater and Wells,
- Wastewater Collection and Treatment,
- Water Quality,
- Drinking Water Distribution and Treatment, and
- Engineering Economics Analysis.
Once you examine the specification, identify the number of topics on each exam, and then consider how many of these topics you are familiar or comfortable with. That would probably be the best exam to consider.
The other alternative to consider is that your State may or may not require you to take the exam in the area that you intend to practice. This means that you could potentially take and pass the PE Civil Transportation exam, and still practice environmental engineering as long as your State permits that approach, and you are competent in environmental engineering.
Lastly, another approach (if your State doesn’t require that you test in your field of choice) is to consider the passing rates of each of the exams and select one with a higher passing rate. For a video on the passing rates, click here.
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