Now onto the topic of how to become a Registered Professional Engineer. Each state will have their own specific requirements for applying for and becoming a mechanical PE, but all will have the following general requirements.
1. Education. All states will setup a minimum amount of education required. Typically, this is a 4 year engineering degree from an accredited university. If you have this type of engineering degree, you will meet the education requirement for ALL the states. Some states will allow technical engineering degrees or science related degrees instead, but this is on a state by state basis. See the mechanical PE State Requirements page for more details. Some states will even allow people to become Professional Engineers with no degree, but again this is on a state by state basis.
2. Fundamental of Engineering examination (FE). The FE is typically taken during an engineering student's senior year in college, but can be taken during any stage of an engineer's career. Passage of this examination is typically required before the engineer can sit for the PE exam but again, there are some states that have different requirements. Some states will allow engineers to become Professional Engineers without sitting for or passing the FE.
3. Engineering Experience. The amount of engineering experience required to become a PE will be determined upon the level of education the engineer has and whether or not the engineer passed the FE exam. The most common requirement states have is to finish four years of engineering experience after taking the FE exam. Again, for each state this requirement will be different, and will be based upon the combination of education and whether or not the engineer passed the FE exam.
4. Character References. This item may be a little difficult if you don't have Professional Engineers as your supervisors or co-workers. You will be required to submit character reference forms which are filled out by Professional Engineers who are familiar with your work and ethics. These forms will ask relatively simple questions about you as a person (are you ethical, trustworthy, honest, etc.) and about your work experience (are the items you listed for your work experience actually the things you worked on). All states will require that a portion of your character references be Professional Engineers. Typical requirements are five total character references, with three of these five being Professional Engineers.
5. Principals of Practice Examination (PE). The final stage in becoming a mechanical PE is to pass the mechanical PE exam. Engineers will not be approved to sit for this examination until they have met their state's requirements for education and experience. Once the engineer passes this exam they will be eligible for licensure as a Professional Engineer. This requirement applies to ALL states.