Licensing is necessary for an engineer to prove they maintain the expected level of professional competency. A degree alone is not enough. Practicing as an engineer involves important safety and public health issues. For this reason, licensing is required as proof that the individual understands the concepts, their applications and the code of ethics behind working as an engineer.
The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) governs the licensure of engineers. They prepare all the engineering licensing exams, regardless of the state the exam is taken in.
There are many advantages to becoming a licensed engineer. For one, only a licensed engineer may use the initials P.E. after their name (Professional Engineer). In addition, only a licensed engineer may use the title “engineer” to the public and become a private practitioner.
As you probably already recognize, with the uncertainties in this day and age, the more credentials you have, the better your chances of finding employment are. Therefore, becoming a licensed engineer only makes sense.
To summarize the steps to gaining your Professional Engineers License, most states require the completion of an engineering degree and the passing of an 8-hour Fundamentals of Engineering exam. Upon completion of the degree and the passing of the FE Exam, you will qualify for the EIT certificate.
Once you complete the engineering experience requirements (usually 4 years of experience is required) and an 8-hour Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam in the your specialty, you will qualify for official certification as a Professional Engineer and may use the initials P.E. after your name.
So once you graduate, make sure you start the licensing process (if you have not already done so) by gaining the pre-license certificate known as the Engineers in Training (EIT) certificate. Then begin gaining your experience. Be sure to tell your employer that you plan to become a licensed engineer. They will usually be happy to ensure that your work experience meets the criteria for licensing.