Path to Licensure - Non ABET Accredited or Related Science Degree

What to Know First

  • Graduates without a degree from a US-Based ABET accredited engineering program may apply to take the FE & PE exams if the following conditions are met:

    (1) The institution from which the degree is granted is legally recognized and authorized to confer a baccalaureate degree in engineering or related science; 
    (2) The degree is a four-year program that includes a minimum of 120 semester hours (180 quarter hours):
    (3) The program includes an appropriate number of hours in a variety of disciplines (click here to review the coursework requirements.)  

  • Post-baccalaureate work may be used to satisfy any deficiencies in the undergraduate course work (with some limitations).

  • Illinois statute specifically outlines that a degree in engineering technology does not meet the definition of “related science” for the purposes of application for licensure.  Candidates with a degree in engineering technology should contact the Department for further information. 

Gain Acceptable Experience AND Document It

Without an ABET Accredited Engineering Degree, you must have minimum of 4 years of approved engineering experience before you apply to take the FE Exam and 8 years total approved experience before you may apply to take the PE exam.  

For the most part, the clock for approved experience starts on commencement day.  Of course there are exceptions (qualified certified cooperative programs; full time employment and at least eight years as a part time student to earn your degree).    Master's degree and doctor's degree in engineering work may count in place of some experience as well (but not if that course work was used to fulfill any missing education requirements.

Click here to review the Approved Experience section of the Illinois Administrative Code that outlines what is considered "Approved Experience".

All experience must be documented when you apply for the exams.  ISPE advises that as you change positions, or your supervisor changes, you request your supervisor to complete the VE-PNG (verification of experience) form and mail it to you for your records.  DO NOT OPEN the envelope - leave it sealed.   This will be much easier than having to track down supervisors when you are ready to submit the forms. 

Apply for the Exam(s)

Once you have gained your experience, you may apply to take the exam(s).   Applicants for the FE Exam will use Fundamentals of Engineering - Examination forms.  Applicants for the PE Exam - or both the FE and PE Exam -  will use Principles and Practice - Examination forms.  

The forms can be a bit confusing.  Pages 3-6 of the PDF serve as instructions for completing the actual application found on pages 17-20 of the PDF.   Page 9 sums up the the requirements for Licensure - Acceptance of Examination.   Important items on the Actual Application:

  • Part I  A1. Profession Name = Professional Engineer.  2. Profession Code = 062  3. Licensure Method = Acceptance of Examination  4. Fee = $100.
  • You must answer the rest of Part I, Part II, and Part III.  (Even if submitting a copy of your NCEES record, you MUST fill this out.)
  • Part IV =  List any other licenses you may have (Land Surveyor, etc)  
  • Part V = This should at minimum include the FE and PE exams, and any other attempts prior to the successful passage.  
  • Part VI = Required
  • Part VII = Instructions say do not complete this section
  • Parts VIII & IX = Required.

Applicants must also submit original official transcripts indicating the conferral of the degree and listing all course work completed for your degree with the school seal affixed.  It is suggested you also submit any post-baccalaureate level course work since it may support your eligibility.

You must have each employer for whom you worked as part of your qualifying experience complete a VE-PNG form.   If doing engineering work (required experience), a supervisor must be licensed unless exempt by statute (i.e. manufacturers' exemption).    The work is not exempt under Illinois law, and it is not being supervised by a PE, either it is not considered engineering work, or you are likely violating the PE Act.  

You must submit the CT-ENG form from each jurisdiction where an exam was passed.  If you passed the exam(s) in Illinois, you do not need to complete a CT-ENG for the Illinois Exam.

Once you have completed the process and are determined eligible you will receive an "Authorization to Test" that will contain the necessary information to schedule yourself for the exam(s).

Because the application review process takes time, please note that the deadline for the April exam is early February and for the October Exam is mid-May.  Please allow yourself plenty of time to receive the materials you need and get them submitted.



Prepare for the Exams

Review the State References, Materials and Procedures for the Illinois Professional Engineering Examinations guide to know what to expect on exam day and what materials you can bring into the facility. For a comprehensive overview of the FE Exam, what is allowed, and what to expect, check out the NCEES FE Exam Guide.  

Applicants should not expect to cram and do well.   Applicants are encouraged to take their time, develop a study plan.  Many tools exist to review. 

Register to take the Exam(s)

Once the board approves your application to take the exam(s), you will receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) form that includes all of the information you need to formally register for the exam(s), including a 7-digit number you will need for registration.

Good luck!