Professional Certification

The Question of Professional Certification

When deciding how you want to structure your engineering studies, you should be aware of issues surrounding professional certification. Some engineering fields do not require Professional Engineer (PE) certification, although civil engineering, among others, does. The best way to determine whether you will need PE certification is to ask practicing engineers who work in the fields you're interested in. Certification requires passing the PE exam.

In Massachusetts, you can take the PE exam after completing an accredited program of study in engineering and four years of experience, or after completing an undergraduate degree in one of the sciences plus eight years of experience. Most undergraduate engineering programs (like Thayer, Caltech, and UMass) are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Surprisingly, most graduate engineering programs aren't ABET-approved. In particular, there are only two ABET-approved graduate programs in civil engineering.