How to Obtain a PE License Without an Engineering Degree

If you received a bachelor’s degree in a non-engineering field, it may still be possible for you receive your PE license! Follow the steps below to learn how to make it all the way to the PE exam without having an ABET-accredited engineering degree.

Steps to receiving a PE license without an engineering degree

  1. Check to see if the program you were enrolled in is ABET-accredited

Before we get further into the steps, make sure your degree isn’t already ABET-accredited! Search by your program or your school here. If your program is accredited, you may follow steps three through five.

  1. Evaluation of a non‐ABET accredited engineering degree

If your program is not ABET-accredited, you may inquire about an evaluation to see if your educational background matches the standards for engineers. Obtaining your evaluation isn’t necessarily cheap, so it’s best to contact your state board to ensure you are eligible for evaluation. The New Jersey State Licensing Board information can be found here. If you are eligible for evaluation, you must complete an evaluation with The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. As mentioned before, during an evaluation your college-level education will be compared with the NCEES Engineering Education Standard.

  • TL;DR: The NCEES Engineering Education Standard specifies a total of 96 required semester hours: 32 higher mathematics/basic sciences + 16 general education + 48 engineering science/design.

To complete an evaluation, follow the steps on the NCEES website here.

Unfortunately, if you are deemed ineligible or your degree is not accepted, the next step for receiving a PE license would be to earn a four-year degree in an ABET-accredited engineering program.

  1. Pass the fundamentals of engineering (FE) exam

Once step two is complete, you are on the same track as those who received engineering degrees! Passing the FE exam is the first step to becoming a professional engineer. It is a computer-based exam that is administered all year round. Each exam is different based on your discipline. Learn more about the FE exam details and specifications here.

  1. Complete four years of progressive engineering experience under a PE

In order to obtain your PE license, you must have at least four years of experience working under a professional engineer. States differ in how they qualify engineering experience, but in general:

  • Experience should come from a major branch of engineering
  • Experience must be supervised
  • Experience must be of a high quality
  • Experience must be broad enough in scope to provide well-rounded exposure to many facets of professional engineering
  • Experience must progress from simple tasks with less responsibility to those with greater complexity and higher levels of responsibility

If you’re not sure about your experience, it is best to contact your state licensing board.

  1. Pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam

If you’ve made it to this step, congratulations! The only thing standing between you and a professional engineering license is this exam. The PE exam is undoubtedly difficult, but with enough preparation and support, you can crush it! See the different types of PE exams and their specifications here. If you’re ready to take this next step, follow our PE exam checklist to ensure you are prepared.

It may not be a short and simple process, but it is possible to receive a PE license without an engineering degree! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us using the ‘Ask NJSPE!’ form in the sidebar of this page.


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