Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Licensing
What are the prerequisites for applying for a professional engineer license in Texas?
Per the Texas Engineering Practice Act and Board Rules, the requirements are (refer to Section §1001 of the Act and Board Rules 133.13, 133.21, 133.31 and 133.51):
- Must have graduated from an approved curriculum in engineering or related science (B.S., M.S., or Ph.D.);
- Depending on degree accreditation, must have at least 4 or 8 years of creditable engineering experience referenced by a P.E.; and
- Must have taken and passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Examination.
Board Rule §133.69 allows for waiver of examinations for those who have met specific educational and experience requirements, submitted a written request of waiver, and have not taken and failed the P & P exam in the previous four years. See Board rule §133.69 for the specific requirements.
Can I request a waiver of the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) examination?
Applications for a waiver of the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) examination will only be accepted from persons who are either:
- Currently Licensed in a U.S. State or Territory; or
- A former Texas Professional Engineer license holder; or
- An Engineering Educator who meets the requirements of Board rules 133.25 and 133.69 (c) (2).
See Board rule §133.69 for detailed information regarding examination waivers.
How do I get an application and information about P.E. licensure in Texas?
The application is now available online. This system also allows application fees to be paid with a credit card, application status can be checked anytime and additional items can be identified along with instructions on how to submit them. Refer to: http://engineers.texas.gov/app.
Alternatively, you may access the application form, instructions, and the Texas Engineering Practice Act at http://engineers.texas.gov/downloads/#general or you may contact the board office to receive the application packet via regular mail.
What is the amount of the application fee?
The application fee is $80.
How long does it take for the Board to process an application?
Typically, the average application processing time is two months depending on how complete the application is and the depth of review necessary. Applications requesting waiver of one or both of the examinations take longer than applications requesting to take the P&P exam or for those currently licensed in another jurisdiction by NCEES exams. The staff will request any missing, insufficient, or incomplete information from the applicant. Submitting an incomplete or insufficient application typically adds to the processing time.
See Board rules §133.83 and §133.89. In summary:
The staff will review the application materials and notify the applicant if the information is deficient. The staff will give the applicant 45 days to complete the application materials. Upon written request from the applicant, the staff may give one additional 30-day period to complete the application materials.
If the applicant does not submit the required documents, the application shall be administratively withdrawn. To reactivate an application that has been administratively withdrawn, the applicant must pay a reactivation fee of $80.00, submit all the missing application information, and submit any up to date information as appropriate. If the application has been administratively withdrawn for six months and the applicant does not provide the necessary information, the application shall be denied.
How far in advance can I submit my application?
Applicants should submit the application and the supporting documentation at the same time. Applicants should not submit the application knowing that they will not have the supporting documentation ready for several months. Once received, applications can only stay pending for a maximum of 30 days before being subject to administrative withdrawal.
I have taken and passed the NCEES exams and am licensed in another jurisdiction. Can I obtain my license by reciprocity or comity?
The Act does not allow a true reciprocity or comity between Texas and another state, but does allow an individual licensee in another state and meeting the minimum requirements the ability to apply for a license. The Board will accept the results of NCEES examinations passed in another state. Anyone currently licensed in another state will need to submit a complete application including supplementary experience records (SERs), ethics exam, official transcripts, fee, references, and other applicable documents to support the request for licensure.
A current NCEES record may also be submitted in lieu of the SERs, official transcripts, professional engineer references, and exam and license verifications.
If I am currently licensed in another country, can I gain licensure in Texas by reciprocity?
The Act allows for reciprocity between Texas and other countries, but the agreements in place at this time are limited to temporary licensure only. Texas has temporary license agreements with Mexico, Canada, and Australia based on the NAFTA and AUSFTA free trade agreements. The temporary license is good for one year, and may be renewed only two times. For a standard license, one must pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam.
I am licensed in another state/country. Do I have to complete all the application requirements?
Texas does allow engineers from other states or foreign countries to obtain a standard license using the regular application process. Even if you are licensed elsewhere, you must fulfill the application requirements. Each application for licensure is reviewed on an individual basis by the Director of Licensing and must be approved by the Board before a license is issued.
My license has been expired for over two years, can I still renew it? If not, what do I have to do to get a license in Texas?
A license that has been expired for two or more years is not renewable by law. In order to get re-licensed in Texas you would have to re-apply for licensure under the rules that are in effect at the time you apply. There is a rule 133.23, that may help for former Texas license holders. Previously submitted application materials are maintained on file, so less information may be required to re-apply.
Is the P.E. license discipline specific?
No, Texas does not license by discipline. Your primary discipline will be listed in the Board records, based on what you indicate on your application. If you have expertise in another discipline and can submit sufficient evidence of competency in that discipline, rule 133.97(k), the Board can list a second or third discipline in the records. However, the licensed engineer is bound to only practice engineering in areas where competent, trained, and qualified or may be subject to enforcement actions.
What is the minimum education required to apply for a license in Texas?
Graduation from a four-year program of engineering or related science from a recognized institution of higher education. The Act gives preference to degree programs accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (EAC/ABET); the Washington Accord; and Consejo de Acreditacion de la Ensenanza de la Ingenieria, Mexico (CACEI). EAC/ABET and its associates list the specific engineering disciplines and year when accredited. The Act also provides for non-accredited degrees in engineering and/or related sciences that include at least 8 hours of math beyond college algebra and trigonometry and 20 hours of engineering or related sciences courses. Please refer to Subchapter D. EDUCATION, Board Rule §133.31 for specifics. If you have a transcript from a country that is not listed above, you will need to have a Foreign Credential Evaluation of your transcript.
Can I be licensed if I do not have a degree or non-engineering or related science degree?
Section §1001.302 of the Act specifically requires graduation from a curriculum in engineering or related science. In Texas, if you do not have a degree in engineering or related science, you cannot be licensed.
What is an accredited degree from an engineering curriculum or program?
The Act gives preference to degree programs evaluated and accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (EAC/ABET); the Washington Accord; and Consejo de Acreditacion de la Ensenanza de la Ingenieria, Mexico (CACEI). This can also be a combination of engineering or related science degrees with a Masters Degree in Engineering. Please refer to Subchapter D. EDUCATION, Board Rule §133.31 for specifics.
What is a non-accredited degree from an engineering curriculum or program?
The Act provides for degrees in engineering and/or related sciences that are not accredited by ABET and include at least 8 hours of math beyond college algebra and trigonometry and 20 hours of engineering or related sciences courses. In the rule, some technology degrees are accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET but still classified as "non-accredited" at the engineering level. Please refer to Subchapter D. EDUCATION, Board Rule §133.31 for specifics.
How do I tell if my degree is accredited by EAC/ABET or other acceptable organization?
To check and see if your university and degree program is ABET accredited you may visit their website, www.abet.org, or call the Board to confirm accreditation. The ABET site does link to international organizations. ABET lists the discipline and year the accreditation was gained. The Board recognizes those graduating two (2) years prior to the actual accreditation year as acceptable. For example, if you graduated in Civil Engineering from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 1984, the Board would confirm the degree as "accredited" since that program was granted accreditation in 1986.
Transcripts and Commercial Evaluations
What are the Board Rules and policies concerning proof of education or transcripts?
The Board Rule §133.35 requires official transcripts for all degrees utilized to meet the educational requirements for licensing be sent directly from the registrar to the Board. For applicants with a non-accredited degree, an official transcript is also required for any school where 15 or more hours were earned that count toward the degree. Official transcripts in the possession of the applicant are not acceptable to the Board. An applicant may, however, have a credentials evaluation service validate the transcript by sending a copy to the issuing institution for verification.
What if I cannot arrange for an official transcript to be sent directly from my university?
If the applicant can show that a diligent effort was made to obtain the transcript but the school has not responded, the Board will consider alternatives including validating original transcripts in the possession of the applicant by a credential evaluation service.
This is only considered in cases where it is documented that school records have been destroyed or are unavailable.
What commercial evaluation of a foreign non-ABET degree will the Board accept?
Several commercial evaluation services are available. The evaluation shall determine if the non-accredited degree is "equivalent" to an accredited degree and include a description of the courses in semester hours with grades following the practices recommended by the National Council for the Evaluation of Foreign Educational Credentials. The applicant is cautioned to let the service know the evaluation is for an "equivalency transcript". If the applicant has an advanced graduate degree from a U.S. institution and that institution evaluated the non-accredited transcript and determined the degree to be "equivalent, then the applicant can have the institution submit a statement that informs the Board that an evaluation was performed and the non-accredited degree was found equivalent to an accredited degree.
Board rules allow applicants with a foreign degree to have that degree evaluated against ABET criteria. If the degree is found to be equivalent to an ABET degree, then the applicant can apply with the same qualifications as someone with an ABET accredited degree.
Is there a deadline for applying for the PE examination?
The application deadline and the registration deadline for the Principles and Practices examination is posted for each administration on the TBPE website http://engineers.texas.gov/lic_exam_dates.htm. If an application is to be reviewed in time to schedule for an exam, it must be submitted before the PE application deadline. If a complete application is submitted by that date, we will review it in time for the applicant to schedule for the exam. If an applicant applies after the submittal deadline, we will strive to review the application in time to schedule for the exam, but will not guarantee it will be completed.
Historically, the application processing time has been several months depending on the completeness of the application materials submitted. If one does not submit complete application materials, transcripts, degree evaluations as appropriate, SERs, references, the ethics examination, or other required documentation, then this may delay the processing of an application. To ensure you are approved to sit for an upcoming examination, you must submit a complete application and all supporting materials prior to the established PE application deadline.
Alternatively, if you are a Texas Engineer in Training (EIT), starting May 1, 2016, you may register to take the P.E. exam prior to earning the necessary 4 years of experience. Refer to the following pages for additional information:
Texas EIT Information Page
Decoupling of PE Exam and Experience Requirement
Who is eligible to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination?
An undergraduate student who is enrolled in and is within two regular semesters of graduating from an approved engineering program is eligible to take the FE exam. The FE exam is administered by NCEES.
A non-student (previously graduated) who has a degree in engineering or related science may register to take the examination through NCEES.
is eligible to take the Principle and Practice (P&P) examination, sometimes
referred to as the PE exam?
(Board Rule §133.67)
The eligible examinees are:
- License holders taking the exam for record purposes.
- Those whose applications have been approved by the Board.
- Those who are a Texas Engineer in Training (EIT). Refer to the Certification of Engineer in Training webpage.
When approved, an applicant is given three opportunities to take the PE exam. If one does not pass the PE exam within the three allotted opportunities, the application is denied, and the applicant must re-apply to take the PE exam again. See Board rule 133.87(c).
How do I register for an exam?
You must register for all FE and PE exams on-line at the NCEES exam registration system.
The exam registration system is at: http://www.ncees.org/Exams/States/TX_engineering.php
Exam registration is only available during the established exam registration period.
When are the exam dates and what are the fees?
The FE exam is given throughout the year during the months of January, February, April, May, July, August, October, and November. The exams will be conducted at Pearson VUE testing centers. Most disciplines of the P&P exam are given twice per year. Some P&P exams are only given once a year during the April or October administration. Please consult the Examination Dates page (http://engineers.texas.gov/examdates.htm) for the current schedule and locations. Please consult the Fees page (http://engineers.texas.gov/fees.htm), and http://ncees.org/exams for the current exam fees.
I was not able to take the exam on the test date. Can I get a refund? Or use the fee toward the next time I sign up to take the test?
Exam fee refunds and transfer requests are handled through the NCEES system. Fee refund requests and fee transfer requests must meet specific deadlines to be considered by the NCEES.
Once you are approved to take the PE exam, you have three (3) chances to sit for the exam in a four year period. If you have taken the exam and did not pass, you may simply register for the next exam available. You do not need to re-apply. If you did not pass the PE exam within the three allotted opportunities, you will need to re-apply to take the exams. You must gain at least one year of additional engineering experience from the time you are notified of failure to pass the third exam, or complete six credit hours of college engineering course before you can re-apply. (Board Rule §133.87(c))
You can re-register to take the FE exam immediately. The NCEES policy allows examinees to take the FE exam once during any two-month testing window, and no more than three times in a twelve-month period.
How many times can I take the exams?
For the FE exam, as many times as necessary to pass the exam. The NCEES policy allows examinees to take the FE exam once during any two-month testing window, and no more than three times in a twelve-month period.
For the P&P exam, each approved applicant has three (3) consecutive chances to pass the exam during a four year period. (Board Rule §133.87(c))
For the P&P exam, I missed an exam due to illness, death in my family, travel problems, business schedule, misunderstanding of the rules, etc. Can I ask to for an extension to the three (3) chances?
No extensions can be granted under any circumstances (Board Rule §133.67(b)(4)).
Can I take the P&P in any discipline or branch that I choose?
When approved, you may choose to take the exam that best fits your experience.
Where do I find study materials or a review course?
Many universities offer FE preparation classes. There are commercially available courses and materials for the FE and most PE exams. The NCEES website also has resources available
Congratulations. If you passed the PE exam for initial licensure, within a few days you will receive an email from the Board giving specific instructions for paying the Professional Fee for license issuance. When you receive your PE Number, your name will appear on the PE Roster and you will receive instructions for how to have your engineering seal made.
I am a veteran. Can I get reimbursement for my exam fees?
The Texas Board of Professional Engineers has been approved by the VA under the GI Bill for reimbursement of examination fees for the FE and PE exams. This approval allows veterans and other eligible persons to receive reimbursement for the cost of license examinations/tests from the VA. The effective date of approval is March 1, 2003. This reimbursement is not from the state of Texas or the Texas Board of Professional Engineers. Please do not contact the board for information or reimbursement. The reimbursement information is available at http://www.gibill.va.gov/pamphlets/lcweb.htm under "Licensing and Certification".
What type or types of experience may be used to qualify for a P.E. license?
The Act lists engineering activities that are currently acceptable to the Board. Please consult the application guidance document for some specific examples and guidelines. The Board prefers each applicant to possess some design and/or analysis experience and document that appropriately in the Supplementary Experience Record.
Does experience prior to receipt of my degree count?
Generally speaking, experience gained prior to receipt of an engineering degree does not count toward experience. However, if an applicant has successfully completed junior and senior level engineering classes and can document application of theories and principles learned in these classes, the Board may accept such experience. The specific requirements are explained in rule 133.43(b).
Does co-op experience during college count toward a P.E. license?
If an applicant has successfully completed junior and senior level engineering classes and can document application of theories and principles learned in these classes, the Board may accept such experience. The specific requirements are explained in rule 133.43(b).
Does research experience count toward engineering experience?
The Act allows one (1) year of engineering experience credit for each advanced degree (MS and Ph.D.) from an ABET accredited engineering degree program. Research associated with obtaining an advanced degree is not creditable; however, if the applicant worked as a researcher, independent of work toward a degree, this experience may count toward the years of creditable engineering experience.
Does my experience count if I did not work under the direct supervision of a P.E.?
It might. Section §133.43 allows for certain engineering work to be exempt from the requirements of the Act and that experience may not need to be directly supervised by a P.E. If your employment falls into an exempt category, it can count towards the experience requirements but must still be referenced by a P.E for the application. Board Rule §133.51 allows for a P.E. reference who did not work with the applicant to review and judge the SER. An applicant must get a P.E. reference to verify the minimum years of experience as needed in the application.
How many references do I need?
If not requesting exam waivers, three (3) references are required, all must be currently licensed P.E.s. If requesting exam waivers, then five (5) references are required from currently licensed P.E.s. The P.E. references not licensed in Texas must provide a copy of their current pocket card to verify licensure.
What do I do if I cannot find my original boss or P.E. supervisor to verify my experience?
Board Rule §133.51(b) allows for a reference who did not work with the applicant to review and judge the SER. An applicant might ask any of the references that are familiar with the applicant to review and judge the experience. The reference shall mark the appropriate box on the reference Statement (Character and Review of SER only for Purpose of Reference Statement).
For References: What do I do with a reference statement?
The instructions should be on the back of the reference statement or ask the applicant to supply them to you. In summary, if you are verifying the Supplementary Experience Record, you should read the record carefully, sign it if it is accurate, and fill out the appropriate blocks on the Reference Statement. You can add additional pages if necessary. If you cannot answer the questions on the Reference Statement because the applicant worked with you a long time ago or other reason, please note that the question is N/A (not applicable) and state the reason. Be sure to include your Texas P.E. number or a copy of your current pocket card if from another state. Place the completed Reference Statement, signed SER, and copy of your pocket card in an envelope. Seal the envelope and sign your name across the seal. Please place a piece of clear tape over your signature. This procedure is important to ensure confidentiality and that references are not screened. You may either mail the envelope to the Board or return it to the applicant.
For the Reference: I know the applicant, but I did not work with him/her and did not supervise the work in the SER. Can I still be a reference for the applicant?
Yes. Board Rule §133.51(b) allows for a reference that did not work with the applicant to review and judge the SER.
What do I need to do to get my EIT certificate?
After you pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, you must submit an official transcript to the Board along with the $15 registration fee. The Board will mail to you your certificate. You can link to the necessary forms at: http://engineers.texas.gov/downloads#eit.
Will my EIT certification expire? And can it be renewed?
EIT certificates are good for eight (8) years and can be renewed upon request. FE exam scores do not expire.
Is it mandatory to have EIT certification in Texas?
No. EIT status is not mandatory in Texas; however, all graduate engineers are encouraged to become EITs to maintain professional ties with other engineers, to keep informed of various P.E. and other engineering issues, and to continue your professional growth.
Can my EIT status be transferred to Texas from another state?
Since each state does its own licensing, there's no way to do a transfer but you can apply for an EIT in Texas even if your education was in another state and you took the FE exam in another state. You can find the EIT Certification Form on this website. The Board will need official transcripts from the university showing that your degree has been conferred. You will also need to have the verification of the exam results sent to us from the appropriate state Board. Click here to go to the EIT Certification Form
Although I received my degree from a foreign university, I have been in the United States for several years and communicate well in the English language. Do I still need to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)?
Board Rule §133.21(c) addresses this topic. Either the passage of the TOEFL exam or verification of the applicant's proficiency in written and spoken English language is required. Rule 133.21(d) allows for an applicant to request waiver of the language test requirements. This request should be supported by correspondence or other documentation from someone who can vouch for the applicant's ability to communicate in the English language.
Once I have a license, how often do I need to renew?
The Texas P.E. license is renewed annually. The Board will mail renewal notices and e-mail reminder notices but the license holder is solely responsible for renewal payment. Licenses are renewed on the date preceding the quarter in which the license was issued. The renewal dates are December 31, March 31, June 30, and September 30 of each year. For example, if the license was received on February 20, 2000 (1st quarter), the renewal fee would be due on December 31, 2001.
Are there continuing education requirements associated with getting a P.E. license in Texas?
Yes, the requirements are outlined on the following page: CEP Information