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P.E. Electrical Engineer: What Is It and How to Become One

  • 03 June, 2022

P.E. Electrical Engineer: What Is It and How to Become One

How do you distinguish yourself in the electrical industry and what does it take to officially stamp a set of engineering drawings?

The term "electrical engineer" can be used to describe an immense range of different professionals in the electrical and electronics industries-from a technician planning computer circuit boards to a designer modeling power distribution transmission lines. An individual engineer can be characterized by their years of experience, participation in different project types, or specific skills/knowledge in their field. The title of Professional Engineer (PE) is reserved for individuals that have met requirements in these categories and completed the necessary steps to become licensed through their state professional licensing board.

A PE license carries different weight in different industries. In some industries, particularly those more closely related to public safety, a PE's ability to certify and stamp engineering designs and drawings is required to do business. In others, a PE certification and licensure may bring greater credibility to an individual but may not be essential to day-to-day business. While becoming a PE will typically advance your career and open new opportunities, it's always important to consider whether the benefits are worth the effort required.

Since PEs are licensed in the state/territory that they practice, they must meet the requirements of that state or territory's particular professional licensing board. Generally, the following is required:

*In some states, more than 4 years of experience may replace the requirement to graduate from an ABET program. Be sure to check your individual state licensing board requirements

The National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors (NCEES) offers three different exam subjects for electrical engineers, listed below. Click on each of the links to review the official topics that are covered:

One of the main purposes of becoming licensed is the ability to stamp/seal/certify engineering drawings. Typically, this action is required for any designs that must be approved by a public authority. The PE status denotes that the stamping professional engineer is responsible for all aspects of the drawings and that the design is safe.

If you're interested in learning more about what an electrical is and how to become one, check out these other posts that can provide more detail and insight into the process:

About the Author: Mitch Hanson

Mitch Hanson, P.E. passed his PE exam with help from School of PE in 2019 and currently practices electrical engineering in Colorado.

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