To become licensed as a professional engineer, attend an accredited institution to earn an engineering degree to learn advanced mathematics, physics and specialty training. After graduation, you must work for four years to earn experience or intern. Once completed, take and pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, or the FE, and then the Professional Engineering exam, or the PE, to become licensed.
The FE is only offered in April and October of each year in many states, and once registered, you are provided with a reference handbook for test preparation. You cannot use the book during the exam. Some college seniors are allowed to take this exam before they graduate, which is recommended if offered. The exam is fairly simple, but you are only allowed a short amount of time to answer each question. The exam is an all day time commitment, with one section in the morning and one in the afternoon.
The PE is also only offered in April or October. The exam is approximately 8 hours with a break in the middle, and it is an open book exam. Bring standard reference books to the test. Each exam is about 80 questions. Results are delivered within 12 weeks, with anything over 70 points considered a passing grade for licensing.
Many states require a license from that state for anyone to call himself an engineer. If you do not attend an accredited college, you may still take the exams needed to become licensed. However, the number of years of experience needed jumps from four to eight. The work experience or internship has to be performed under the supervision of a registered professional engineer. It is recommended that you work in a design related area to improve your chances of passing the PE.