Attaining your Professional Engineer (PE) License in your state gives you certain and well-known advantages in the engineering field. Technically, having a PE means you have the authority to sign and seal engineering documents for many government agencies, educational institutions and municipalities as well as the opportunity to become the “responsible charge” of your own firm. Professionally, as a PE, you can have more flexible career options, allowing you to specialize in a field or earn a higher pay rate.
As a PE in your home state, you get to benefit from all of those advantages. But if you work for a company looking to expand, you may be requested to work in or oversee work completed in multiple states – and you’ll need to be just at ease out of state as you are in state. An answer to that problem? Get your PE in another state!
Sounds easy, but what does it mean to get your PE in another state? Well, the good news is that you don’t have to go through the entire PE licensing process over again. Depending on the state, the process can be as simple as submitting your application and fees then receiving approval for another PE license number for that state. We’ve detailed the first few steps that you have to take care of before you can pursue that approval.
First, know an important organization ready to help you: NCEES
Based on our expansion experience, anyone applying for out of state licensure NEEDS to get familiar with the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). NCEES is a nonprofit organization that enforces standards protecting the public’s health and safety. They also develop and score FE, PE, and Structural Engineering (SE) exams for engineering and professional land surveyor (PLS) licensure.
A few years ago, it was necessary for someone applying for an out-of-state PE to go through each State Board individually, supplying “official transcripts” as well as other personal information repetitively. NCEES, a records program, now centralizes the collection of personnel licensure information and acts as a liaison between applicants and the Boards.
If you passed your Principles of Engineering (PE) exam after October 2010, there's a good chance you are already set up in NCEES. You probably have your NCEES number–formatted XX-XXX-XX, which is different from a PE license number. If you don't have that NCEES number, you will need to set up an account with NCEES (which is free!) to get that number.
Complete the NCEES Endorsement (Comity) Application –You will submit this document to your Board of Professional Engineers in the state you’re applying for. NCEES additionally has contact information for each of the US’s state boards as well as foreign entities engineering boards (in case you want to practice engineering in Japan or Nova Scotia, for example). Sorting out which Boards you are applying to and the information needed for an endorsement helps finish out this initial step.
Next, as we said before, you’re going to need to collect a lot of records together. Once collected and submitted, NCEES will keep that information handy when you want to apply for a new state or renew your current license. To get ready, round up these four things:
Work Experience—This is a comprehensive list of all jobs you have had since either leaving college, or since you started working in the engineering field. The experience is broken down into Tasks and Duties and Projects, with each section having different requirements. Also, there’s a good chance that different states may require different kinds of experience details, so check up on that as well. Overall though, NCEES walks you through exactly what you need for this qualification, so it’s a good place to start.
Verification of Work Experience—These forms must be filled out and verified by Professional engineers that can validate your work experience.
References—you are going to need at least three Professional Engineers as references and five references in total. These references should be able to state the character and diversity of your experience. Your references also can’t verify your work experience, so plan who is going to seal and verify which documents carefully.
Academic Transcript(s)—whether you are just out of college or not, you are going to need an “official” academic transcript from each institution that you attended. Those transcripts also must be sent from the institution to NCEES. If you went to a community college, transferred to a four-year university, then to another university, you will need all three transcripts for this application.
This step requires a good amount of work to complete. However, once NCEES endorses you, then there is a good chance that when applying with the individual Boards, you will only have to send in a small percent of the required documentation with a fee because NCEES has the rest of it already verified.
Once your paperwork is in order, then you can submit! And from that point, each state board will tell you how to proceed. Some may have you take another test (offered online and all year long), some will send you study guides for each state’s individual requirements, but the good news is that once you have all the previous paperwork together you’ve made it through the most time-eating steps. Good luck and keep engineering!
Lauren Stearley is our Marketing Coordinator. She writes the content needed to get Summit’s name out there. Born at 9:09 in February, Lauren has always lived in North Carolina, except for a brief stint in England. When she is not marketing Summit’s many different departments, Lauren enjoys gardening, taking naps in her hammock and reading historical fiction.