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PE Exam Overview
The PE Exam measures an individual’s professional competency to practice a specific discipline of engineering. An exam is available for 17 engineering disciplines. Passing this exam is a requirement for engineers who wish to earn the title of Professional Engineer (P.E.). Exam candidates should have four or more years of applicable work experience beyond college before attempting to register.
The PE Exam can be available in paper or CBT form. For Civil Engineers, the exam is given in paper format and is offered in April and October. All updates to the exam specifications are published six months before the test date. All reference materials that are used during this exam must be bound. The test is eight hours long, is divided into two sections, and consists of 80 questions. The PE Civil Exam assesses the candidate’s knowledge of construction, geotechnical, structural, transportation, and water resources and environmental topics. The morning session will cover all five subject areas while the afternoon session will explore the specific civil engineering specialty that was chosen by the examinee at the time of registration.
NCEES is the governing body for the PE Exam. The NCEES Examinee Guide is recommended for clarification on official test policies and procedures.
Each state has a licensing board for engineers. Licensing requirements are a combination of education, experience, and exams. The fees, approval and registration requirements for the PE Civil Exam differs between states. NCEES releases exam results to the applicable state licensing board approximately 8-10 weeks after the test date. The licensing board will then notify the examinee. The method used to distribute results varies by state. Exam results are reported on a pass or fail basis with a diagnostic report provided for those who do not pass the exam.