States that require experience to sit for the NCEES PE Exams

Professional Engineer & PE Exam Forum

Help Support Professional Engineer & PE Exam Forum:

steel

Well-known member
Joined
May 5, 2021
Messages
4,760
Reaction score
757
I see a lot of people asking whether they can take the PE exam early in their state.

My best advice is to call or email (preferably call) your state board. They will give you the 100% most correct answer.

But here's something to get you started. The blue states have "decoupled" their education and experience requirements generally do not require board approval or a minimum amount of experience to sit for the PE exam.

For more information, go to this link, click your state, select the exam you want to take, and view more specific requirements.

1648149389586.png
 
Last edited:

leggo PE

Straight Waffle-izer
Joined
Dec 9, 2016
Messages
17,956
Reaction score
3,414
Location
California
CA should be blue per your description. It has decoupled the ability to take the P.E. Exam from experience and also the application process to become a licensed CA P.E.
 

steel

Well-known member
Joined
May 5, 2021
Messages
4,760
Reaction score
757
CA should be blue per your description. It has decoupled the ability to take the P.E. Exam from experience and also the application process to become a licensed CA P.E.
I have CA listed as not decoupled because the NCEES exam isn’t the only exam required to become licensed as a PE in civil engineering, and they require an application to sit for the Seismic and Surveying exams. So, since it’s not decoupled for all disciplines, that’s why I have them green.
 

MI-Roger

Active member
Joined
Dec 17, 2015
Messages
31
Reaction score
11
Location
Ypsilanti, MI
I would be cautious with use of the term Decoupled. Michigan recently revised the Professional Engineer Licensing Requirements, and via my reading of the new Regulations which are sitting next to me on my desk as I type this, the State no longer specifies when the applicant may take the exam. Nor do they identify a specific score required.

HOWEVER, they do still require the Applicant obtain a "Passing Score" on both the NCEES "Fundamental of Engineering" exam and the "Principles & Practice of Engineering" exam. There are alternate means to each of these ends (such as obtaining a PhD in Engineering in lieu of passing the Fundamentals exam, or passing Parts I and II of the Structural Engineering exam in lieu of the Principles and Practices exam, but these are special cases).

It seems the State is allowing NCEES to determine who is qualified to sit for the NCEES exam. Sort of a 'Not my Circus, not my Monkeys' approach. The State is relying upon the NCEES to evaluate evidence of meeting minimum engineering competency and experience necessary for an applicant to sit for the NCEES exam.

The State still specifies the minimum length of Engineering Experience required for full licensing, sets guidelines regarding how this minimum total span of experience is to be split between Education and Work, how the applicant's experience is to be documented, and who is allowed to provide this documentation to the State for the applicant.

Far different from an interpretation of Decoupled that some may make, one that no minimum specified experience is required to sit for a Michigan Only exam. Those pre-test experience limits still exist but have been delegated to NCEES.
 

leggo PE

Straight Waffle-izer
Joined
Dec 9, 2016
Messages
17,956
Reaction score
3,414
Location
California
I have CA listed as not decoupled because the NCEES exam isn’t the only exam required to become licensed as a PE in civil engineering, and they require an application to sit for the Seismic and Surveying exams. So, since it’s not decoupled for all disciplines, that’s why I have them green.
That makes sense, but what confused me is your original wording in the initial post then:

So I see a lot of people asking whether they can take the PE exam early in their state.
But here's something to get you started. The blue states have "decoupled" their education and experience requirements to sit for the PE exam and generally do not require board approval.
It’s an important distinction, sitting for the P.E. Exam vs. applying for licensure. It seems to me your map is meant for the former, but your explanation is addressing the latter. It could definitely cause confusion.
 

steel

Well-known member
Joined
May 5, 2021
Messages
4,760
Reaction score
757
I would be cautious with use of the term Decoupled. Michigan recently revised the Professional Engineer Licensing Requirements, and via my reading of the new Regulations which are sitting next to me on my desk as I type this, the State no longer specifies when the applicant may take the exam. Nor do they identify a specific score required.

HOWEVER, they do still require the Applicant obtain a "Passing Score" on both the NCEES "Fundamental of Engineering" exam and the "Principles & Practice of Engineering" exam. There are alternate means to each of these ends (such as obtaining a PhD in Engineering in lieu of passing the Fundamentals exam, or passing Parts I and II of the Structural Engineering exam in lieu of the Principles and Practices exam, but these are special cases).

It seems the State is allowing NCEES to determine who is qualified to sit for the NCEES exam. Sort of a 'Not my Circus, not my Monkeys' approach. The State is relying upon the NCEES to evaluate evidence of meeting minimum engineering competency and experience necessary for an applicant to sit for the NCEES exam.

The State still specifies the minimum length of Engineering Experience required for full licensing, sets guidelines regarding how this minimum total span of experience is to be split between Education and Work, how the applicant's experience is to be documented, and who is allowed to provide this documentation to the State for the applicant.

Far different from an interpretation of Decoupled that some may make, one that no minimum specified experience is required to sit for a Michigan Only exam. Those pre-test experience limits still exist but have been delegated to NCEES.
To my knowledge, NCEES does not approve or deny you to sit for the Principles & Practice exam. That's what I mean be "decoupled." Michigan, as you said, requires passing FE and PE exam scores to apply for licensure. But that's just it. You can take the exam BEFORE applying.
 

CAPLS

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 27, 2010
Messages
847
Reaction score
374
Location
Sacramento
It's a little more nuanced than what you are providing based upon the title of this thread and the chart. Technically speaking, the majority of the states, which allow for "decoupling", require both 1) the minimum education component and 2) previously passing the FE exam prior to allowing you to register with NCEES to sit for the national PE exam. There are a few (like CA) which only require the second criteria element. Looks like you were attempting to convey which licensing boards allow for this prior to meeting the third criteria for licensing (experience) which is supplied by submitting an application "for licensure" to the board.

@MI-Roger - NCEES does not review or determine who sits for the PE exam. The individual licensing boards do and NCEES is only facilitating the exam scheduling/administration process for those licensing boards, in accordance with the licensing board requirements and pertinent delegation.

The point of "decoupling" (I really have always disliked this term) is to more clearly show that the permission to sit for whatever exam is a different process than submitting an application to obtain a license. While very much related, they are definitely not the same.
 

steel

Well-known member
Joined
May 5, 2021
Messages
4,760
Reaction score
757
People seem to be ignoring the part where I say FOR MORE SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS GO TO NCEES.
 

steel

Well-known member
Joined
May 5, 2021
Messages
4,760
Reaction score
757
But yes, I’m showing the states that allow one to take the PE exam BEFORE submitting an application for licensure.
simply put, these states do not need to grant you permission to take the test.
 

pgheng

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2022
Messages
23
Reaction score
4
I know for sure Texas is decoupled, I took the PE exam there without submitting references or experience. Texas requires a Texas EIT certificate though.

The NCEES does indeed approve or deny you to sit for the Principles & Practice exam for Maine. Maine does require 4 years experience, ABET/EAC or ABET/ETAC, and they accept the NCEES Record without further review of references or experience. You can sit for the Maine PE exam at any Pearson VUE site in the United States. Highly recommended especially for Pennsylvania residents having trouble sitting for the test for initial licensure. The usual disclaimer, no guarantee of comity or reciprocity applies.
 

pgheng

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2022
Messages
23
Reaction score
4
Steelnole15, the NCEES doesn't always steer you in the right direction. They accepted my payment to sit for the PE exam even though they know Pennsylvania does not accept the NCEES record for initial licensure. After doing the NCEES record, my references wouldn't do the paper PA board forms a second time. Without states like Maine I would have to get another 4 years experience with different references.
 

steel

Well-known member
Joined
May 5, 2021
Messages
4,760
Reaction score
757
I know for sure Texas is decoupled, I took the PE exam there without submitting references or experience.
This is straight from the NCEES website, which I linked to in my original post.

1648563968637.png

The NCEES does indeed approve or deny you to sit for the Principles & Practice exam for Maine. Maine does require 4 years experience, ABET/EAC or ABET/ETAC, and they accept the NCEES Record without further review of references or experience. You can sit for the Maine PE exam at any Pearson VUE site in the United States. Highly recommended especially for Pennsylvania residents having trouble sitting for the test for initial licensure. The usual disclaimer, no guarantee of comity or reciprocity applies.
As @CAPLS stated above, NCEES does not review or determine who sits for the PE exam. It is not their decision to approve or deny you. Now, if you're in a state such as Pennsylvania that requires board approval to sit for the exam, your registration on NCEES will say "Pending board approval" until the STATE approves you. And the STATE will approve you based on whether you have already submitted an application to them.

Steelnole15, the NCEES doesn't always steer you in the right direction. They accepted my payment to sit for the PE exam even though they know Pennsylvania does not accept the NCEES record for initial licensure.

You proved my previous point. NCEES will not stop you from registering or sitting for an exam for which you are ineligible.

After doing the NCEES record, my references wouldn't do the paper PA board forms a second time. Without states like Maine I would have to get another 4 years experience with different references.
I don't know who you asked to be your references, but you picked the wrong people. I have several people that filled out both my NCEES record reference form and filled out a form for my Pennsylvania board application. Also, you should have known that you need Pennsylvania's permission to sit for the exam. Registering with NCEES before you submitted your application to the state board was the wrong method.
 

steel

Well-known member
Joined
May 5, 2021
Messages
4,760
Reaction score
757
Without states like Maine I would have to get another 4 years experience with different references.
Also, that's BS. Your references and your experience are not linked. If the PE you worked under refuses to give you a recommendation, that is a much different problem than anything to do with state boards, NCEES, or applying for licensure.
 

CAPLS

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 27, 2010
Messages
847
Reaction score
374
Location
Sacramento
FYI - heard recently that Maine just passed a law allowing for decoupling (PE and SE) which I believe will become effective later this spring. So you may see a change on NCEES's website soon.
 

pgheng

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2022
Messages
23
Reaction score
4
If you apply for initial licensure in Pennsylvania through NCEES, your registration on NCEES will say "Pending board approval" FOREVER until Pennsylvania changes the law. The NCEES gladly takes your money to sit for the PA exam even though it won't happen.

The NCEES record is preferred over completing paper forms due to convenience, feedback, and ease of comity after licensure.
My references are not completing paper forms for me or possibly anyone else after doing the NCEES record for me online. It's much easier for them. This is why I would need double the experience without NCEES record.
With the convenience of states like Maine, and possible decoupling, who would even bother to get initial licensure in Pennsylvania at all? Yes, the NCEES does have engineers review references and experience. All the Maine board does is verify the NCEES has reviewed everything. I k ow this because Maine approved me to sit two days after applying there. Sharing my experience to make it easier for others. I know multiple people who were either delayed a year to sit or gave up after the Pennsylvania board rejected them. There is a better way.
 

steel

Well-known member
Joined
May 5, 2021
Messages
4,760
Reaction score
757
If you apply for initial licensure in Pennsylvania through NCEES, your registration on NCEES will say "Pending board approval" FOREVER until Pennsylvania changes the law. The NCEES gladly takes your money to sit for the PA exam even though it won't happen.
As long as you apply to the state board before registering for the exam, they’ll approve you within two weeks.
 
Last edited:

Reverse Polish

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 19, 2019
Messages
167
Reaction score
119
Location
North Coast
I'm not sure why any of the above matters. You still can't obtain licensure as a Professional Engineer until you meet all of the requirements established by the state board. Passing the 8-hour NCEES PE exam is just one of those requirements.

In many states, however, the boards require that the exam be passed *only* after obtaining the requisite experience. This applies to comity applicants as well. One might think he/she is circumventing an obstacle by taking the exam "early" in a decoupled state, but may find difficulty obtaining licensure in his/her home state (or an adjacent state) down the road. Just something to think about.

In all cases, the state boards have explicit instructions in applying for licensure, and it behooves the applicant to follow those to a T.
 

steel

Well-known member
Joined
May 5, 2021
Messages
4,760
Reaction score
757
I'm not sure why any of the above matters. You still can't obtain licensure as a Professional Engineer until you meet all of the requirements established by the state board. Passing the 8-hour NCEES PE exam is just one of those requirements.

In many states, however, the boards require that the exam be passed *only* after obtaining the requisite experience. This applies to comity applicants as well. One might think he/she is circumventing an obstacle by taking the exam "early" in a decoupled state, but may find difficulty obtaining licensure in his/her home state (or an adjacent state) down the road. Just something to think about.

In all cases, the state boards have explicit instructions in applying for licensure, and it behooves the applicant to follow those to a T.
That's my entire point of the map I posted. The states colored blue generally allow you to sit for the exam before gaining the experience. But in ALL cases, you CANNOT apply for licensure until you have the experience.

My point of this thread was simply to show which states generally allow you to take the exam before gaining experience, as opposed to making you wait until after, like Pennsylvania does.
 

steel

Well-known member
Joined
May 5, 2021
Messages
4,760
Reaction score
757
The NCEES record is preferred over completing paper forms due to convenience, feedback, and ease of comity after licensure.
My references are not completing paper forms for me or possibly anyone else after doing the NCEES record for me online. It's much easier for them. This is why I would need double the experience without NCEES record.
With the convenience of states like Maine, and possible decoupling, who would even bother to get initial licensure in Pennsylvania at all? Yes, the NCEES does have engineers review references and experience. All the Maine board does is verify the NCEES has reviewed everything. I k ow this because Maine approved me to sit two days after applying there. Sharing my experience to make it easier for others. I know multiple people who were either delayed a year to sit or gave up after the Pennsylvania board rejected them. There is a better way.
1) NCEES will not deny you from taking the exam. They do not determine whether you are eligible.
2) States such as Pennsylvania require an application to the state board before registering with NCEES. So yes, of course the state board won't approve your registration if you didn't apply first to them.
 
Last edited:

pgheng

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2022
Messages
23
Reaction score
4
The NCEES does indeed determine whether you are eligible, for Maine. They do this with the NCEES Record.
See the website. It's much more streamlined than the Pennsylvania process.

Professional Engineer Licensing | ProfessionalEngineers (maine.gov)
Initial Licensure (NCEES Record Holder)
Applicants for initial (first-time) licensure who hold a current NCEES Record (including transcripts, FE exam, work experience, and PE references) must:
Pay NCEES to transmit your NCEES Record to Maine;
Complete the online application and payment. Please Note: the online application will remind you to send your NCEES Record even if you have already sent it.
 
Top