In this article, (and video above), I respond to a question from one of our listeners about what qualifies as qualifying engineering experience for the PE exam.
Here is the Question:
“What kind of experience qualifies for work experience for being able to take the PE. Would surveying natural and built assets quality as work experience? Just curious how long I should expect to wait before being able to do my PE?”
This is a great question, and we did find some good information to answer this question in an article by the National Society of Professional Engineers.
In Order to Constitute Qualifying Engineering Experience for the PE Exam, the Experience Must Meet a Number of Criteria:
- The experience should be from a major branch of engineering in which the candidate claims proficiency.
- The experience must be supervised. That is, it must take place under the ultimate responsibility of one or more qualified engineers. Generally qualified engineers must be licensed professional engineers. However, some jurisdictions will accept experience supervised by a qualified unlicensed engineer in industry situations where there is no offering of engineering services to the public. You should verify this with your State’s Education Department.
- The experience must be of a high quality, requiring the candidate to develop technical skill and initiative in the application of engineering principles and sound judgment in reviewing such applications by others. The experience must be of a nature that the candidate develops the capacity to assume professional responsibility for engineering work.
- The experience must be broad enough in scope to provide the candidate with a reasonably well-rounded exposure to many facets of professional engineering. Along with highly specialized skill in a particular branch of engineering, the candidate should acquire an acceptable level of competence in his or her basic engineering field, as well as the accessory skills necessary for adequate performance as a professional.
- The experience must progress from relatively simple tasks with less responsibility to work of greater complexity involving higher levels of responsibility. As the level of complexity and responsibility increases, the candidate should show evidence of increasing interest in broader engineering questions and continuing effort toward further professional development and advancement.
As an Example, in Mechanical Engineering, the Following Types of Experience May Be Considered “Professional Experience”:
- The design of machines, machinery, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment, power plant equipment, engines, tools and processes, mill or industrial layouts, mechanical systems for commercial and institutional facilities and/or the supervision of the construction of any of these;
- The development of industrial plants and processes and/or consultation or contribution to such development;
- Operation, control, and testing of major mechanical installations, manufacturing plants, and power plants;
- The writing of technical reports, manuals, and the like;
- Full-time teaching at an accredited college-level engineering school.
Sales work can be credited as qualifying experience only if it can be conclusively demonstrated that engineering principles, knowledge, and skill were used in the work. Selection of equipment from a catalog or similar activities cannot be counted as engineering experience.
In general, the greater the complexity of the engineering work and the greater the responsibility it entails, the more likely it will be counted as professional experience. It is important for an engineer-intern to seek opportunities to perform more complex work and to undertake greater responsibility, so that within a few years time, the candidate will be operating fully at a professional level.
I hope you found this article on what qualifies as engineering experience for the PE exam 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