FE & PE Exams
What are the FE and PE exams good for?
To a client, being a P.E. means you’ve got the credentials to earn their trust. To an employer, it signals your ability to take on a higher level of responsibility. Among your colleagues, it demands respect. To yourself, it’s a symbol of pride and measure of your own hard-won achievement.
To become licensed, engineers must complete a four-year college degree, work under a Professional Engineer for at least four years, pass two intensive competency exams and earn a license from their state’s licensure board. Then, to retain their licenses, PEs must continually maintain and improve their skills throughout their careers.
Yet the results are well worth the effort. By combining their specialized skills with their high standards for ethics and quality assurance, PEs help make us healthier, keep us safer and allow all of us to live better lives than ever before.
A century ago, anyone could work as an engineer without proof of competency. In order to protect the public health, safety, and welfare, the first engineering licensure law was enacted in 1907 in Wyoming. Now every state regulates the practice of engineering to ensure public safety by granting only Professional Engineers (PEs) the authority to sign and seal engineering plans and offer their services to the public.
To use the PE seal, engineers must complete several steps to ensure their competency.
- Earn a four-year degree in engineering from an accredited engineering program
- Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
- Complete four years of progressive engineering experience under a PE
- Pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam
Learn more at National Society of Professional Engineers
What makes a PE different from an engineer?
PEs must also continuously demonstrate their competency and maintain and improve their skills by fulfilling continuing education requirements depending on the state in which they are licensed.
- Only a licensed engineer may prepare, sign and seal, and submit engineering plans and drawings to a public authority for approval, or seal engineering work for public and private clients.
- PEs shoulder the responsibility for not only their work, but also for the lives affected by that work and must hold themselves to high ethical standards of practice.
- Licensure for a consulting engineer or a private practitioner is not something that is merely desirable; it is a legal requirement for those who are in responsible charge of work, be they principals or employees.
- Licensure for engineers in government has become increasingly significant. In many federal, state, and municipal agencies, certain governmental engineering positions, particularly those considered higher level and responsible positions, must be filled by licensed professional engineers.
- Many states require that individuals teaching engineering must also be licensed. Exemptions to state laws are under attack, and in the future, those in education, as well as industry and government, may need to be licensed to practice. Also, licensure helps educators prepare students for their future in engineering.
Applicants for original licensure as a Professional Engineer in Maine must:
- Submit transcripts showing a Bachelor of Science degree of at least four years from an ABET-accredited engineering or engineering technology program, or from an engineering, engineering technology or allied science program that is substantially equivalent to the NCEES Education Standards (If you are a Maine Engineering Intern skip this step);
- Pass the NCEES Fundamentals of Engineering Exam, and have an Exam/Licensure Verification Form (PDF 65KB) or electronic verification sent directly to the Board office from the jurisdiction where the applicant took the FE exam and received Engineer-Inter Certification (If you are a Maine EI skip this step);
- Complete four years of engineering experience of increasing responsibility and have the employer submit completed Engineering Employment Verification Forms (PDF 74KB) directly to the board office;
- Send the PE Reference Form (PDF 45KB) to five references, three of whom must be licensed PEs, for them to complete and submit directly to the Board; and
- Complete and sign an application (PDF 213KB) and submit with payment of appropriate fees to: to:State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers
92 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0092Check or money orders should be made out to: “TREASURER, STATE OF MAINE”
- Once your application is approved, take the NCEES Principles and Practices of Engineering examination;
- Once you are notified that you have passed the exam, send payment of the appropriate licensure fee to the board office.
- Your license will be sent to you upon confirmation of successful completion of licensure requirements.