The licensure exams are a core purpose of NCEES. Even after all states had passed engineering licensure laws, the exams used in the qualification process varied from state to state. This made it difficult to become licensed in other states. By developing nationally normed exams for the licensing boards to use, NCEES has essentially eliminated the variability among exams. This accomplishment took time.
In 1965, 30 states administered the first NCEES FE exam. The FE tests knowledge of what college graduates should have mastered during school. In 1966, a national uniform PE exam was offered. This is a practice-based exam and is usually taken after gaining work experience after passing the FE and becoming an engineer intern. By 1984, all boards of examiners were administering the FE and PE exams.
In addition to requiring the FS exam, which was first administered in 1973, and the PS exam, which began in 1974, most state boards also require surveyors to pass a two-hour state-specific exam.