Do I need a license to practice as a Civil Engineer in addition to my online Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree?

civil engineering degrees

So, you’ve earned your online bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. What’s next? Every state in America requires civil engineers who work for the general public to hold a license which certifies that they have the skills and knowledge needed to design, construct and maintain our infrastructures and public buildings. To display your technical skills in implementing an adequate design with safety in mind, you must pass the first step which is a required examination administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).

Upon graduation from your bachelor’s degree program (which must be from an ABET accredited program), you will be eligible to sit for the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. This computer-based exam consists of approximately 110 questions, lasting about six hours. The exam fee is $175; although, other charges from testing centers, like application fees, may apply depending on your state’s licensing board regulations.

Your FE exam results will be available 7-10 days after you complete the exam. Upon passing, you will earn the title of “Engineering Intern (EI)” or “Engineer-in-Training (EIT).” What’s your next move? EXPERIENCE! Depending on your state’s requirements, you will need to gain real-world work experience, typically at least four years. You will need to work under a licensed civil engineer and as you gain valuable experience, you should be given elevated levels of responsibility as your mentor sees fit.

After graduation from your online Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree program, passing the FE exam, and completing your work experience requirements, you’ll be prepared for the final exam.  This important test is called the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) examination. The PE exam will take about eight hours of your time and includes 80 questions. The “breadth” portion of the exam will cover test questions from five areas pertaining to civil engineering. The “depth” section of the test will focus on your designated area of concentration. Test fees vary per state, and your test results will be reported to your state’s licensing board within 8-10 weeks of completion.  You can then receive your license to practice!

So, why are these examinations important? You’ve worked hard throughout your time involved in your online bachelor’s degree program in civil engineering, without a doubt. After you’ve gained the required experience and become a Professional Engineer, your license is proof that you are competent, as well as, confident in your capabilities to design public infrastructures to the best of your ability, to ensure safety for all and meet all regulations.

But, what will your accolade mean to your employer and your clients? Your potential employer will appreciate the time, dedication and determination involved in getting your PE license. They will know that you are knowable in your field. Your credentials will allow for promotions and additional money in your wallet. Your clients will also be aware of the commitment that you have put forth; therefore, you will earn their trust, and they will know they can depend on you for their civil engineering needs.

A licensed Professional Engineer can sign, seal and submit engineering designs and plans to private clients, as well as, to public authorities for approval. As licensure is a legal obligation, you will be responsible for performing ethical work for your clients and the public that enjoys the facilities or infrastructures you have designed. Also, if you wish to be an educator in this field, you must also be licensed.

Would you like to learn more? Please see’s list of the Best Online Schools for Bachelor of Civil Engineering Degree Programs that has been compiled for your review.