How I am Getting my PE License After a Year and a Half Out of School

Take PE Exam in South Carolina, and take state specific tests in Georgia and getting licensed in a state 2500 miles away that I haven’t been to in 9 years, California. Each state has its own rules on when you can take the PE exam and when you can get your PE license.  I knew that I did not want to wait too long to take the PE exam because I did not want to forget all the information that I had learned when I was in school. I also wanted to get licensed as soon as possible so that I could put that I am a licensed Professional Engineer on my resume so I could apply for a new job. The only problem was that I was living in South Carolina and I did not have four years of experience yet. Luckily the South Carolina Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors allows you to take the test early and then just submit an application and a check when you get enough. Even with taking the exam early I still did not want to wait for four years of experience so I started looking into other states that I could take the exam and get licensed earlier.

I found out that California requires six years of experience to take the PE exam and get licensed. A bachelor’s degree from an ABET accredited school counts toward four years of experience and a master’s degree from an ABET accredited school counts toward one year of experience. With this I would only need one year of work experience so I decided that I would take the PE exam in California after one year of work. I started looking into the application process and talked to the California board and found out that I could apply for licensure in California and take the PE exam in another state and then just call and change the application type from a new applicant to a comity applicant since I would have already passed the PE exam in another state. I also found out that the CBT (Computer Based Tests) that California required to be passed were administered by a national company and I could take the test at any of their locations. So I opted to take the tests in Augusta, GA which is about 30 minutes away.

This was great news as South Carolina does not charge an application fee for admittance to the PE exam for early examination. I would be able to save the cost of an airplane ticket, a rental car and a hotel (well I may have been able to stay with a friend in California and then I wouldn’t have needed a hotel and possibly not a rental car either).  I also would not need to try and transport all of my study materials to California and I wouldn’t have to take extra time off of work so that I could fly out west and get jet lagged.

It took a little bit of coordination but now I will be able to get licensed as soon as possible and I didn’t have to go to California where I am going to be licensed.