Engineering License

from
Combined Plan Program
Columbia University
School of Engineering and Applied Science

A license to practice engineering is a critical document for many engineers in professional work.

The engineer in a position of responsibility in the practice of engineering is often required to prepare engineering reports and / or plans. For such documents to be useful, they must be signed by a licensed engineer. Unlicensed engineers who sign an official report or engineering plan will be subject to fine and censure.

A license is also necessary for most engineers in consulting engineering work, and is often required for engineers working for large firms doing engineering related work.

In general, two examinations are required to qualify for a license.

The first examination is based on the basic fundamentals in engineering education, usually taken in an undergraduate engineering program.

Those who are taking an undergraduate program leading to the B.S. degree can take the first examination during the second semester of their senior year.

However, those who have taken only the M.S. degree (and not the B.S.) will not be able to take the first examination until five or six years after receiving the M.S. degree.

The second examination, based largely on professional engineering practice, can be taken approximately five years after successfully completing the first examination.

More information on the licensing process and the National Society of Professional Engineers