Professional Engineer (PE) Licensure

In this article, we’ll review what a PE License is, why you should get one (depending on your engineering concentration), and how you can get licensed in the US and Canada.

What is the difference between an Engineer and a Professional Engineer

For the United States and Canada, Professional Engineering (PE) is the exclusive designation (recognized by law) that allows capable individuals to present themselves to the public as “Engineers,” as per regulatory requirements.

Licensure for engineers in government, academia, and multinational corporations has become increasingly significant. As of 2022, all 50 US States (+Washington, D.C.), and all 13 political divisions in Canada require engineers to be individually licensed before practicing or soliciting business.  Even for those not looking to pursue their own business ventures, many federal, state, and municipal agencies stipulate that these positions must be filled by registered professional engineers.  Particularly those considered higher level and responsible positions (under the fiduciary liability standard).

In plain language, not having PE licensure will most likely become an employment barrier.  Especially for high-level engineering positions, as it is often a prerequisite for entry (more on this below).

National Society of Professional Engineers