October 2021 PE Exam Administration Updates


October 2021 exam administration updates

The exam administration will take place over two days—Thursday, October 21 and Friday, October 22.* All exam site locations are currently proceeding with reduced capacity restrictions in place. Changes to state and local requirements that further reduce capacities for groups and events may impact the number of examinees that are able to test at a specific site. NCEES will continue to monitor these changes between now and exam day.

October 2021 exam site procedures regarding COVID-19
To help ensure the health, safety, and welfare of examinees and proctoring teams, NCEES is implementing the following measures for the October 2021 exam administration.

Examinees must review and satisfy the following requirements before being admitted to an exam site. No one will be admitted to the exam site if they have met any of the COVID-19 qualifications listed below.

  • Tested positive for COVID-19
    UNLESS symptom-free and fever-free for at least 72 hours without the use of fever reducing medicine AND at least 10 days have passed since your last exposure, or you have received two negative COVID-19 test results in a row, 24 hours apart.
  • Experiencing (or have experienced) one or more associated symptoms within the last ten (10) days: shortness of breath, cough, fever, chills, sore throat, loss of smell and/or taste
    UNLESS you have been symptom-free and fever-free for at least 72 hours without the use of fever reducing medicine.
  • Live with or have had close contact with someone who has confirmed or suspected COVID-19
    UNLESS at least 10 days have passed since your last exposure.
  • Have been or are currently under home quarantine or centralized observation by government or healthcare authorities
    UNLESS at least 10 days have passed since your quarantine or centralized observation has been lifted by the government or healthcare authorities.

Examinees who meet the above conditions on exam day and are admitted to the exam site must agree to follow the below guidelines on exam day.

  • Examinees will be seated alone and properly distanced from other tables.
  • Examinees and proctors are required to wear face masks at all times. This is required at all exam sites including locations with no local or state face mask mandates.**
  • Examinees must practice social distancing at all times.
  • Examinees will be allowed to have hand sanitizer and wipes, extra face coverings, and disposable gloves in the exam room; they must be placed on the floor during the exam.
  • Examinees understand that they will be dismissed from the exam and their exam scores will be invalidated if they do not adhere to the COVID-19 safety requirements for this site.
  • Examinees understand that they are allowed to lower masks to eat or drink for brief moments as defined by the proctors and that proctors will issue a warning to examinees before they are dismissed.

Exam specifications and design standards
Current exam specifications and design standards are listed on https://ncees.org/engineering/pe/.

Exam administration format
Registration for the October 2021 pencil-and-paper exam administration is currently open and will close at 3:00 p.m. EDT on August 26. Exams will be administered on the day assigned as follows:

Thursday, October 21, 2021
Civil: Construction
Civil: Transportation
Civil: Water Resources and Environmental
SE Vertical Forces Bridges
SE Vertical Forces Buildings

Friday, October 22, 2021
Control Systems
Civil: Geotechnical
Civil: Structural
SE Lateral Forces Bridges
SE Lateral Forces Buildings

All sites for the October 2021 exam administration must operate in compliance with capacity and social distancing requirements. In most cases, this will reduce the number of examinees that can be accommodated at an exam site. Examinees will be allowed to complete the registration process only when a seat is available for their selected site. Capacity and social distancing requirements are subject to change at any time. Any changes that require a further reduction in capacity may result in the cancellation of your exam registration. Please be aware that every effort will be made to accommodate all registered examinees in a manner that protects the health and safety of everyone involved.

Click here for information about registering.

*Overseas sites will maintain their normal testing procedures. Please contact your testing agency for further instruction.

**Reasonable accommodations are available for examinees who meet certain eligibility criteria and sufficiently document their request. Examinees who have been diagnosed with a condition that rises to the level of a disability that prevents the use of a face mask or covering may submit a request for accommodations and their supporting documentation for consideration.

New information is evolving every week when it comes to COVID-19 and requirements for the PE exam. Stay up to date with the newest information by monitoring your email with updates from Pearson VUE and keep an eye on the latest information about testing from NCEES.

An Engineers’ Role in Hurricane Disaster Prevention and Relief

Hurricane Ida, a powerful category 4 storm, left all of New Orleans and southeast Louisiana in the dark when it completely destroyed the electric grid. The true scope of the destruction is just beginning to come to light as six people have lost their lives and more than one million are left without power. Officials are warning some residents that it could be 21 days before power is restored. They also say it could be five days until the water and sewer system is up and running again. Unfortunately, this is a pain that many New Orleans residents know all too well. Hurricane Ida arrived exactly 16 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina. One fortunate result of Hurricane Katrina was the construction of New Orleans’s storm-risk-reduction system.

New Orleans’s storm-risk-reduction system is a 14.5 billion dollar system constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other local, state, and federal agencies. It consists of flood-walls, levees, and a pump system to siphon out excess water. So far the system has worked successfully through Hurricane Ida’s landfall. The construction and execution of New Orleans’s storm-risk-reduction system is only one example of the important role engineering plays in hurricane destruction prevention and relief. 

When it comes to destruction prevention from natural disasters such as hurricanes, Civil Engineers are our first line of defense. When designing infrastructure they must take into consideration the ability to withstand extreme winds, flooding, and rain-induced landslides. Buildings within hurricane prone areas must be built differently than those more inland. For example when heavy wind pushes against the roof of a building, negative pressures against it can cause the roof to become detached. Once a roof is detached from the building, the whole structure becomes weak and has the potential to collapse. To avoid building failure, the Civil Engineer must know that anchoring the roof to the foundation of the building is key to defending the building against destructive high winds. 

In the wake of a deadly disaster Civil Engineers also provide relief by disaster mitigation. Disaster mitigation minimizes the suffering of individuals affected after a natural disaster. This is done by building shelters, streamlining logistical strategies for reducing food and water shortages, and facilitating evacuation routes. In addition engineers have assisted with the rescue of individuals by the use of drones. Drones can be used to capture images and locations of people who need to be rescued. This is an easier, safer, and more efficient rescue effort than having a team physically search for stranded people via boat. 

The importance of engineers both before and after a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, can not be overlooked. Engineers assist in the strategies to prevent destruction and in the relief efforts exerted after such destruction takes place. 


1 Campo-Flores, A., & Wolfe, R. (2021, August 30). Hurricane Ida leaves more than 1 million without power in Louisiana. The Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com/articles/hurricane-ida-leaves-more-than-1-million-without-power-in-louisiana-11630330467.
2 SCHOOL OF PE. (1970, October 17). HOW ENGINEERING PLAYS A BIG ROLE IN HURRICANE RECOVERY. SCHOOL OF PE. https://www.schoolofpe.com/blog/2018/10/how-engineering-plays-big-role-in-hurricane-recovery.html.
3 Gullion, S. (2020, May 4). How civil engineers help during disaster recovery. Keck & Wood Civil Engineers, Duluth, Fayetteville GA, Rock Hill, North Charleston SC. https://keckwood.com/news-updates/how-civil-engineers-help-during-disaster-recovery/.

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