In 1920, seven of the 10 states that had adopted engineering licensure laws met and formed the organization now known as NCEES. Its purpose was to recommend ways states could improve uniformity and promote reciprocal interstate relations.
By 1950, all states and the District of Columbia had enacted some form of engineering licensure law. The surveying licensure laws took longer, with the last surveying board being created in Rhode Island in 1990. Today, the organizational structure of NCEES is the same as when it was formed in 1920, but it now has 69 member licensing boards. These boards represent all 50 states, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Licensure itself is still regulated at the state level. To become licensed, engineers and surveyors must meet education, examination, and experience requirements. The goal of licensing requirements is to determine whether someone is minimally competent to practice engineering. Candidates for licensure must demonstrate that they have the basic knowledge required to practice without endangering the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
The NCEES role in this process is to promote uniformity of the licensure processes among the states by providing services and support to its member boards and licensees. The primary way NCEES does is by maintaining the NCEES Model Law and Model Rules. These documents include the education, examination, and experience requirements for licensure. The licensing boards vote on changes to the language in the model documents each year at the NCEES annual meeting. This means that the requirements in the Model Law and Model Rules reflect a consensus of what the licensing boards believe engineering and surveying licensure laws and rules should look like.
Steps to becoming a P.E.
While each state licensing board has its own laws regarding engineering licensure, there is a general three-step process for licensure candidates:
Generally, engineering licensing boards require P.E. candidates to have an EAC/ABET-accredited bachelor’s degree. Each state licensing board has varying educational requirements.
Licensure candidates typically must pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam and the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam.
Most states require four years of acceptable, progressive, and verifiable work experience in the industry.
Steps to becoming a P.S.
While each state licensing board has its own laws regarding surveying licensure, there is a general three-step process for licensure candidates:
Complete the appropriate level of education in your state. Many boards require a degree from an accredited four-year surveying program; a few require only a high school diploma.
Licensure candidates typically must pass the Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) exam, the Principles and Practice of Surveying (PS) exam, and a state-specific exam.
Most states require four years of acceptable, progressive, and verifiable work experience under the supervision of a licensed surveyor.