Average Age to take FE/PE/SE

Professional Engineer & PE Exam Forum

Help Support Professional Engineer & PE Exam Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-known member
Nov 28, 2018
Reaction score

Just saw this graphic in the NCEES 2019 squared report and I thought that it was interesting. Over the last 4-5 years people are waiting slightly longer to take the FE exam and are taking the PE exam slightly earlier than before. Any ideas on why this is? For the PE exam possibly states relaxing laws on when you are able to take the PE exam? Also it looks like average age to take the SE exam is about 36. Anyone willing to volunteer their age? I will be 30 at this October's test.

A lot older than I thought it would be for FE and PE.  I took FE at 22, PE at 26.  I waited a little while for the SE though.  39 when I passed the SE. 

i was about 20ish for FE, then did architectural IDP and took all the AREs finished those at 31, then PE at 32 and sitting for the SE maybe at 36.

I'm surprised at the average age of FE exam takers.  My undergraduate program pushed everyone to take the FE during final exams.  I'd be interested to see the breakdown for FE Civil versus other disciplines.  

I was 23 for the FE exam, 28 for the PE, and a ripe 41 for the SE exam.  I thought for sure I would be one of the older people in the room for the SE exam, especially in a state where structural engineers don't normally take the PE.  I would say about half the room was in their 40s and 50s.  Now, this is anecdotal, but the people who were *ahem* verbal about taking the exam for the 3rd and 4th time seemed to be in their early 30s.  Do NCEES's numbers above include repeat examinees, or only first-time takers?  

Last edited by a moderator:
I took the PE at 24...then SE first attempt at 27...next attempt this October at 29.  I'm also very surprised at the FE age. as pretty much everyone at my college took it while enrolled.

I'm probably one of the outliers here with SE at 26. FE was at 20, and PE was at 23.

I'm definitely more than a little shocked on the FE age. I'm thinking the PE is a conglomerate of all the disciplines. I bet if just the civil PE was analyzed, the age would be younger.

I was 36 when I took the SE, I'll be 37 when I retake it.  

Numbers seem about right.  

I'm also a Libra, like long walks on the beach and reading poetry. 

I took my FE at 22 (I went for a Masters soon after my bachelor's so took it during my Masters program). Cleared Texas PE at 24. Took both components of SE (in the same administration, talk about over confidence 😅) at 26 but didn't quite make it. Took and cleared the california state specific seismic exam at 26 to make me feel a lil better. Took just SE lateral again at 27 and cleared it. Now waiting to take the SE gravity in October 2020 (Hopefully) at which point I'll be 28. Will also be taking California state surveying in July this year. 

Really wanted to get all these tests done before I turned 28 but the Exam cancellation put those plans a bit behind. Well anyways, we make our plans and God makes his plans, and the latter always turn out better. 

Surprised for PE, I'm not too late to the game after all -.-

Is this when some takes or passes the exam?

It is my impression that this is when someone takes the exam as the label on the axis says "Year Exam Taken". This is for both first time takers and repeat customers per the note at the upper right of the graphic.

Anyone else sign up for the SE exam yesterday as it was the first day to register? I think that I should probably do practice exams with a mask on to get used to it since that is probably going to be the situation.

I did as well...I was going to take one in April and one in October, but with our first baby due early next year and the likely code change, I'm going to try to knock them both out in October. I'm taking AEI for both portions...should be a fun summer

Signed up for both Vertical and Lateral as well.. I was surprised to see that it's now held on Thursday and Friday.

FE - 23

PE - 27

SE - tried when I was 28, got whooped, took the California exams and passed those to regain confidence, passed lateral last October, retaking Vertical this October when I'll be 31.

You guys forget that non-citizen/resident engineers only take the FE when they come to the states. This includes experienced licensed engineers from abroad that then decide to start their licensure process in the US (Arup/AECOM/Bechtel and lots of other big guys have people like this). In addition, there is a big group of international graduate students that take the exam after their MS/PhD degrees, they may or may not join the workforce, but it drives the average age up for the FE.

I myself took the FE after my MS (I was 23). PE @ 26, will be 31 in Oct 2020 for the SE.