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Professional Engineer Navigator

The purpose of the Professional Engineer Guide is to provide transparency, inform applicants of expected timelines for receiving your license, and outline steps you can take to reduce mistakes and mitigate delays. To provide the greatest clarity on the licensing process from start to finish, we will break it down into three phases, providing estimated times for each stage of the process, and recommendations for how to reduce processing times.


A Professional Engineer (PE):

  • Pass an examination given by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) and hold a license issued by the State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists
  • designs public or private buildings, structures, machines, equipment, processes, works or engineering systems
  • consults, investigates, and evaluates engineering surveys, construction management, planning

Two of the primary ways to receive a Professional Engineer license in PA are by examination or by reciprocity. 


Professional Engineer License By Examination

Obtaining a professional engineer license by examination means you have completed at least 4 years of progressive engineering experience earned under the supervision of a licensed Professional Engineer, or similarly qualified individual, after the issuance of your Engineer in Training (EIT) certificate, and you have passed the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) Fundamentals of Engineering Examination (FE) and Principles and Practice Examination (PE).  Applicants must have an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) Accredited Bachelor of Science degree.

 Accordion ‭[1]‬

Expand AllClick here for a more accessible version
Phases & Timeframes: Professional Engineer License By Examination

Phase I

CURRENT TIMEFRAME:
? weeks
in calendar days.

Phase One measures the time between a submitted application and the Board staff’s initial determination of the application status. This phase may include exam authorizations or a follow-up request in the case of incomplete applications.

Phase II

CURRENT TIMEFRAME:
? weeks
in calendar days.

Phase Two measures the time that it takes for an applicant or third-party entity to respond to the Department with all application requirements. This phase may include the applicant preparing for and taking an exam, third-party institutions providing education or training documents, or scoring and certifying exam results.

Phase III

CURRENT TIMEFRAME:
Less than a week
in calendar days.

Phase Three measures the time between the Department’s receipt of a complete application, including examination results, and when a license is issued to an applicant.



Tips for reducing processing time for Professional Engineer License By Examination

To help reduce your processing time, please note the following suggestions and information:

Board staff cannot begin to process professional engineer applications until the applicant pays the $225 administrative fee to the testing institution.  This fee may be paid by calling Pearson VUE at 877-883-1370. 

All Professional Engineer applicants must have successfully passed the NCEES Fundamentals of Engineering examination (FE) and obtained their Engineer in Training Certificate (EIT).  If the state that you sat for the NCEES FE examination does not offer an EIT Certificate, the Board will determine when the EIT would have been issued, using the date of the FE Exam or the conferral date of the ABET-Accredited Bachelor’s degree, whichever is later.

An official state criminal history record check (CHRC) is required from your current state of residence. For applicants living, working, or completing training in Pennsylvania, your CHRC will be generated automatically as part of your application and the required fee will be included at checkout.

  • In addition to the background check from your current state of residence, you will need to submit official state CHRCs from every state where you have lived, worked, or completed training during the last 5 years. An FBI background check can be submitted in lieu of state checks where you previously lived, worked or trained. No record checks can be dated more than 90 days prior to the date you submit your application.

You are required to submit a copy of your Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) Accredited Bachelor of Science engineering transcript directly from your University to Dasher Inc., the third-party entity that will be collecting your supplemental documents.  Your transcript can be sent directly to Dasher Inc. at paboards@dasherinc.com.  If your University does not email transcripts, it can be sent to the mailing address below:

Pearson Vue
c/o Dasher Inc.
PO Box 60669
Harrisburg, PA 17105

You are required to provide 5 references that have personal knowledge of your work experience and can collectively attest to the entire amount of required engineering work experience. 

  • Three references must be a licensed Professional Engineer.
  • The other two may be a licensed Professional Geologist, licensed Professional Land Surveyor, or unlicensed engineers who, through education and experience, possess an equivalent level of expertise as that of a professional engineer.

A reference that is not a professional engineer licensed in the United States is required to submit a curriculum vitae. All work experience must be supported by a Reference Information Form submitted by the licensed professional engineer who supervised the work experience.  Your references may email their forms directly to Dasher at paboards@dasherinc.com

To assist the Board in evaluating your engineering work experience, you must submit an Amplified Record of Engineering Work/Design Experience form (Amplified Record) which has been completed in its entirety and provides specific, thorough, and detailed descriptions of your progressive professional experience in engineering work/design that you obtained under the supervision of a licensed professional engineer or similarly qualified engineer, after the issuance of your Engineer in Training (EIT) Certificate and prior to initial licensure.

The amplified record must:

  • clearly describe the supervised engineering work/design that you personally performed;
  • delineate your role in any group engineering activity;
  • provide an overall description of the nature of work/design you personally performed,
  • specifically indicate how your engineering skills and responsibilities have progressively increased during your years of experience, and
  • must demonstrate conclusively the years of progressive professional experience you have obtained (including detailed examples of how engineering knowledge and engineering principles, including the principles of math and science, were actually employed) in engineering work/design of a grade and character to fit you to assume responsible charge of the work involved in the practice of engineering.

Please do not attach a resume or curriculum vitae in lieu of an Amplified Record.

Your amplified record should begin after the issue date of your EIT certificate.

Do not list more than one year of work experience per page of the amplified record; however, you may use as many pages as necessary to accurately describe each year of experience.

Please upload your amplified record to the Board through your PALS account using the “Amplified Record” checklist item.




Professional Engineer License By Reciprocity

Obtaining a professional engineer license by reciprocity means you have already obtained a professional engineer license in another state or jurisdiction.  A person is eligible for licensure by reciprocity if they are currently licensed in another state, territory or country whose licensure requirements either were equal to those in effect in Pennsylvania at the time of initial registration, or are now substantially equivalent to those in effect in Pennsylvania.  Applicants must have an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) Accredited Bachelor of Science degree and passed the NCEES FE and PE exams.

 Accordion ‭[2]‬

Expand AllClick here for a more accessible version
Phases & Timeframes: Professional Engineer License By Reciprocity

Phase I

CURRENT TIMEFRAME:
? weeks
in calendar days.

Phase One measures the time between a submitted application and the Board staff’s initial determination of the application status. This phase may include exam authorizations or a follow-up request in the case of incomplete applications.

Phase II

CURRENT TIMEFRAME:
? weeks
in calendar days.

Phase Two measures the time for an applicant or third-party entity to respond to the Department with all application requirements.  This phase lasts from the date that a follow-up request is sent to the applicant until all items are received by the Department.

Phase III

CURRENT TIMEFRAME:
Less than a week
in calendar days.

Phase Three measures the time between the Department’s receipt of a complete application, and when a license is issued to an applicant.



Tips for reducing processing time for Professional Engineer License By Reciprocity

To help reduce your processing time, please note the following suggestions and information:

Professional Engineer by reciprocity applications are processed in the order they are received. Please submit your application as soon as possible.

An official state criminal history record check (CHRC) is required from your current state of residence. For applicants living, working, or completing training in Pennsylvania, your CHRC will be generated automatically as part of your application and the required fee will be included at checkout.

  • In addition to the background check from your current state of residence, you will need to submit official state CHRCs from every state where you have lived, worked, or completed training during the last 5 years. An FBI background check can be submitted in lieu of state checks where you previously lived, worked or trained. No record checks can be dated more than 90 days prior to the date you submit your application.

If you hold an NCEES Council Record, you are still required to complete the online application in its entirety, however you are not required to submit the supplemental documents (Amplified Record, Reference Forms, Verification of Examination/Licensure) since this information will be included in your NCEES Council Record.  Please have NCEES transmit your Council Record directly to the Pennsylvania Board Office.





Renewal of Professional Engineer Licenses

On average, renewal Professional Engineer licenses are issued within three calendar days.

renewal-time-3days.png


Process Overview

How to Apply for a Professional License.

 

What Happens to My Application?

 

  1. Sign in or create account at www.pals.pa.gov

  2. Select the Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists to apply and plain-language questions will appear to help you get started

  3. Application appears – review checklist, upload required documents, follow prompts

  4. Review all information and edit as needed

  5. Pay the required fee and your application is submitted

  6. Keep an eye on your email or get real-time updates at www.pals.pa.gov