Approved by the Committee on Licensure on May 4, 2022
Approved by the Public Policy and Practice Committee on June 1, 2022
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 22, 2022
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports the use of licensing examinations to document professional engineers (PE) have attained the minimum level of competency, as defined by each regulatory jurisdiction, allowing for the practice of civil engineering. ASCE advocates that all candidates for licensure demonstrate their competency by passing both the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) examinations, followed by the attainment of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (CEBOK) prior to assuming direct supervision and control of engineering services.
The exam should assess the individual’s academic preparedness as a first step in the licensure process. The Examination should assess the individual's ability to apply engineering principles, gained through progressive engineering experience, in the licensed practice of engineering. It is ASCE’s position (Policy Statement 547) that individuals should obtain the required relevant and significantly progressive engineering experience under the direct supervision of a licensed professional engineer prior to taking the PE examination (mentored experience).
Professional licensure grants an engineer the legal authority to be in responsible charge of engineering. The pathway to licensure includes formal engineering education, progressive engineering experience, and examinations to verify that the professional engineer has the minimum level of competence to assume these duties.
There is variation among licensing jurisdictions in the number of years of experience required before candidates are permitted to attempt the PE examination. The pass rate for the PE examination is typically higher for examinees that have gained a minimum of four years of progressive mentored experience than that for individuals who have not. Despite some successes of individuals testing with less experience, ASCE does not support this practice because the PE examination should assess competence gained through progressive mentored engineering experience.
Licensure as a professional engineer is an important step but is neither a confirmation the individual is ready to be in responsible charge of engineering nor has obtained competency as defined by the CEBOK. Please refer to PS 568 for further discussion.
Licensing jurisdictions utilize the FE and PE examinations, along with relevant progressive mentored experience to grant a license to practice civil engineering. If individuals can pass the examination with little or no engineering experience, the PE examination does not assess the candidate’s minimum level of competence. Passing the examination should be combined with attainment of the CEBOK prior to assuming direct supervision and control of engineering services.
ASCE Policy Statement 432
First Approved in 1994