As a Professional Engineer, you can advance your career and distinguish yourself from the rest. Engineers with a PE license can work as consulting engineers, senior engineers, forensic engineers, patent analysts, public safety, and sell engineering services. However, if you want to qualify for engineering management positions, you may find yourself needing a PE even though you may not need to be registered for legal purposes.
A PE usually earns much more than a non-licensed engineer. A PE license could be necessary later on in your career, even if your first position doesn’t require one. Having a PE license or being on a professional engineering track pays off in today’s economic climate because it allows you to move to new jobs and participate competitively in the industry. An overseas assignment for a work that requires a PE license is also uncommon.
Take note of the following engineering jobs that require certification or licensure for practice:
1. Civil Engineer
To pursue a civil engineering career, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or one of the specializations within the field. The programs in civil engineering combine classroom, laboratory, and fieldwork. Many schools offer degrees in Civil Engineering Technology or a Master of Engineering.
Having direct control of a project and supervising other civil engineers requires a license for a civil engineer. Licenses are obtained by passing the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination, meeting other state requirements, and serving as an intern or trainee in civil engineering. The qualifications for civil engineers include experience and passing other exams.
2. Aerospace Engineer
A professional engineer license is required when an aerospace engineer gains experience and wants to assume more responsibility. To achieve this, a student must typically have a degree from an accredited engineering program and pass the Fundamentals of Engineering and the Professional Engineer exams.
Following graduation from an aerospace engineering bachelor’s program, engineers can sit for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam. Later, they serve as engineers-in-training or engineering interns to gain enough experience to sit for the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam. Many states require aerospace engineers to maintain their licenses by taking continuing education courses.
3. Electrical Engineer
As well as completing a training program, earning four years of experience, and passing two written examinations, electronics engineering and electrical engineering licenses require experience as well. Engineers who obtain a license earn the professional engineer (PE) credential and will have an easier time finding work. Electricians and electronics engineers have fewer opportunities to obtain licenses than other types of engineers.
Some universities offer 5-year programs that combine a bachelor’s degree with a master’s degree. Students who want to advance their electronics design and development skills can earn Master’s degrees in either electrical engineering or computer engineering. As an engineer with a graduate degree, you can also instruct in universities or work in the research and development sectors.
4. Mechanical Engineer
Almost all states require mechanical engineers who work and serve the public to be licensed as professional engineers (PEs). Engineers must obtain their licenses by passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam after college graduation, followed by the Principles and Practices of Engineering Exam after some years of experience.
Many states also require continuing education for PE license renewals. A license from another state will generally be recognized by many states as long as its requirements are at least as good as those of the current state. Several professional organizations, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, offer certification programs that recognize engineers’ expertise in specific fields of mechanical engineering.
5. Petroleum Engineer
All states require petroleum engineers who offer their services to the public to be licensed as professional engineers (PE). Upon graduation from an ABET-accredited university, engineers obtain the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) license. After gaining some experience, engineers take the Professional Engineering (PE) exam.
For the PE license to remain valid, some states require continuing education. State licenses issued by another state will often be recognized in many states as long as they meet or exceed state licensing requirements. The Society of Petroleum Engineers certifies petroleum engineers. For certification, one must become a member of society and pass an exam, among other requirements.