In this article (and video above), I talk about the significant announcement from NCEES regarding changes to the PE Civil Exam that will take effect in April 2024.
NCEES recently announced a transformative shift in the PE Civil Exams, with a strong emphasis on assessing engineers based on their specific disciplines. This change is driven by the elimination of common knowledge areas that previously tested general civil engineering topics.
All five PE Civil Exams—Construction, Geotechnical, Structural, Transportation, Water Resources & Environmental—now exclusively focus on their respective areas of practice.
So, what will change with the PE Civil Exams in April 2024? Let’s break it down:
1: Common topics shared across all 5 specialties will be removed from PE Civil Exams.
2: The question distribution within topics and sub-topics will get updated to reflect the new, more specialized exams.
3: Terminology used for topics and subtopics will align with industry standards.
4: An additional sub-topic will be introduced to each of the Transportation and Water exams.
Now, let’s look at what will remain the same:
1: The exams will continue to consist of 80 questions.
2: The exam appointment duration remains at 9 hours.
3: PE Civil Exams will still be computer-based.
4: Engineers with 4+ years of post-college professional work experience can continue to take the exams year-round.
The era of the general civil engineer is drawing to a close. With these adjustments effective in April 2024, engineers will transition to specialization in their respective fields, bidding farewell to the breadth section of the PE Exam. The removal of the breadth section has ignited debates within the engineering community, with differing opinions on its implications.
Let’s look at some of the Pros and Cons of Removing the Breadth Section:
- Engineers can develop deeper expertise in a particular area.
- This leads to better engineering outcomes and more innovative solutions.
- Engineers may be more competitive in the job market.
- Engineers may become more siloed and less able to collaborate effectively with each other.
- This can lead to problems with coordination and communication on large projects.
- Engineers may have less knowledge of engineering principles outside of their specialty.
- This can make it more difficult for them to change careers or to work on interdisciplinary projects.
The changes to the PE Civil exam in 2024 are indeed significant, and there are both pros and cons to the removal of the breadth section. The engineering profession is undergoing transformations in response to these changes .It’s a period of evolution in the engineering field, and we’re here to keep you informed every step of the way. Let us know how you feel about these changes in the comments below.
And remember, as you embark on this new phase in engineering, keep your passion for innovation alive.
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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