Benefits of a PE License

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Many engineers put off applying for the Professional Engineer (PE) license. They know that the Fundamentals of Engineering exam (FE exam) is not easy and that some companies don't require a PE license. Most engineers have to knuckle down and study hard for these two eight-hour exams. And if you're busy at work (like most engineers in these tough times), the last thing you want to do in your off time is hit the books.

That said, the power of the PE license remains indisputable. Here are a few of the many benefits this certificate provides:

Key Differentiator. The PE license shows that you have the equivalent of a four-year engineering degree, four or more years of progressive experience (in most states), and an understanding of physical and engineering principles. Should you ever decide to go into consulting, you'll need a PE license.

Bigger Paycheck. According to the National Society of Professional Engineers’ 2010 Engineering Income & Salary Survey, the median salary of engineers in all professions without a PE license was $94,000; those with a PE license, on the other hand, earned $99,000.

Sign and Seal Authority. A PE licensed engineer can submit plans and drawings, and be in charge of work in the private sector.

More Employable. In this economy, anything that makes you more professional looking to a prospective employer is a good thing. If you have a PE license, you have an instant leg up on those who don't. Companies benefit from having more PE licensed engineers, so everyone wins.

Work Across State Lines. PE exams and the minimum registration requirements are standardized nationally, so you can register as a professional engineer in any other state.

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Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients.

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