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.
I was confused at first but the question is phrased to ask about taking the exams, not getting licensed...looks like more and more people are taking the exams right out of school. Good for them! I took mine about a year and a half out of school and tell all the young engineers I talk to that they should take it as early as possible
Agreed, I was only 3 years out of school when I took the FE and even that was a struggle. So it was even harder for the PE when I waited another 3 years afterwards to take the PE.
FE - 23

PE - 27, licensed 3-4 months later at 28.
Mechanical Engineering

Never really had plans to take FE or PE, since all my work falls under the industrial exemption.

Took FE when I realized it's better to take it closer to the end of college (22 in my case). Only went the PE route because of benefit to my employer, but it's proven beneficial to my career as well.
I thought that you had to have completed the requisite experience before they even let you SIT for the exam.
I know the question asked age you took the exam. Here's a bit more info.

FE (1st try) - 30
* I hadn't taken all the courses. Last year Pencil and paper version. Advisor recommended taking it.

FE (2nd try) - 31
*Senior Design killed me. Didn't study.

FE (3rd try) - 32
*On me. Didn't study hard enough.

FE (pass) - 35
*I had life changing events from my 3rd attempt to this one. Glad I waited.

PE (1st try & Pass) - 37
*Oct. 2020; COVID-19 restrictions. Furloughed from job earlier in the year. Was able to focus on studying 24/7.
FE - 33
PE (8 Hour) - 49
CA PE Exams - Pending, studying to get this done this year, in which I will be 51
How hard is it to study for the California PE Exam? I would love to get my CA PE but not sure if I could pass the seismic portion of the exam. Have my Civil PE and registered in 5 different states. Working in California right now on 3-4 projects and would be nice to have.
FE - 28
PE - 37

MechE, US Citizen

(These were both first-attempt passes, I just wasn’t that diligent about taking the tests since they aren’t very important in my sub-field, so I was doing it mostly out of personal interest.)
Last edited:
I thought that you had to have completed the requisite experience before they even let you SIT for the exam.
Many states are starting to remove this requirement. They are allowing you to sit for the exam as soon as you are done with school (after passing the FE), however you still can't get licensed until after getting enough experience.
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.
Agreed about foreign professionals.
I passed my FE at 30 and PE at 33. I'm going for SE for the first time at age of 33-34.

Before my FE, I worked in engineering for 8 years, 3 of which were in my home country and 5 are in US. I couldn't take these exam any earlier due to my first non-ABET degree not approved by the board, but I was able to work for an engineering office doing same engineering work as people with masters.
My understanding is that when you present your experience on your PE application, it all has to be as an EIT. So waiting to take you FE can result in a severe delay in obtaining your PE.

Gone are the days of taking both the FE and PE exams on the same weekend.
In my state, the experience toward licensing is counted from the day you start working with BS degree (+1 year max. of verified experience prior to receiving the degree). You can pass FE and PE and then apply for PE license all in the same year as long as you have 4 years of verified experience after graduation date (+1 year max. prior receiving the degree) when applying for PE license.
FE - 20
First PE - 27 (licensed in Minnesota)
Second PE - 42 (licensed in California)
FE attempt 1- Fail (22) Senior Year
FE attempt 2- Pass (27)
PE Attempt 1- Pass (28) 6 months after FE pass
Interesting, I see quite a few posts saying FE was failed during the senior year. I don’t understand why so many attempt it almost without any studying in the busiest time of their studying life.
My hands were so full (job, family, senior design) that I didn’t even think to take FE then. Instead, I’ve studied after senior design for a couple months and passed FE without any issues.
But I guess it helps with a job search after graduation.