Information Regarding Engineering Experience for Professional Licensure


In the past, the Texas Board of Professional Engineers (Board) has received a number of complaints from applicants, and engineers writing letters of reference, that the experience requirements for licensure were confusing and unclear. Better descriptions of the kinds of engineering activities required for licensure will help the Board provide clearer information and guidelines to both applicants and licensed professional engineers.  This will aid applicants in completing the Supplementary Experience Record and the Licensed Professional Engineer in validating that record.  In addition, this will ensure consistency and fairness in the review of applications by the staff.    The Board's goal is to be descriptive rather than prescriptive in defining experience criteria for licensure.


Eleven professional engineers attended a focus group on April 25, 2001 and discussed the experience criteria for licensure.  The following draft criteria is based upon a combination of the existing Board rules, experience criteria for other jurisdictions, and the focus group responses.


If you wish to review the experience requirements currently in the Texas Engineering Practice Act, they are located in Board Rule 131.81 (b)(1)(A)-(K).  The Act can be accessed on the Board’s website.


The experience criteria document is listed below:


Categories of Engineering Activities


In their Supplementary Experience Record (SER), all applicants must demonstrate the skillful application of the theories and principles of engineering in practices or activities that require engineering education or experience for adequate performance. 


The focus group categorized the practice of engineering activities into four areas applicable to all twenty-six branches recognized by the Act:




The successful applicant will demonstrate application of engineering theory and principles in the design of engineering projects.  Design is defined as:  "design, conceptual design, or design coordination for engineering works, products or systems."  Engineering activities related to design and considered for licensure include:


·               Determining the goal of the project, proposing engineering solutions, planning and scheduling the project

·               Developing or optimizing plans and specifications for engineering works, products, or systems

·               Designing based upon the analysis of proposals, permit applications, standards, code compliance, and specifications

·               Sizing, specifying, and evaluating process equipment

·               Drawing and design layout

·               Planning the use or alteration of land, water, or other resources




The successful applicant will demonstrate the application of engineering theory and principles in the analysis of engineering projects.  Analysis is defined as "analysis, consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning, testing or other related services for engineering works, products, or systems."  Engineering activities related to analysis and considered for licensure include:


·               Collecting and characterizing information and data for engineering projects

·               Evaluating processes for design (studies, pilot plants, process review)

·               Determining the feasibility and technical merit of proposed solutions

·               Performing calculations appropriate to the project (load analysis, mass transfer, heat/energy balance)

·               Assessing legal and regulatory requirements 

·               Conducting risk assessments (safety, environmental)

·               Applying specific regulations to the analysis of data/information in order to draw conclusions and make recommendations for further action.

·               Conducting a cost analysis of engineering alternatives

·               Performing engineering surveys, studies, or mapping

·               Engineering for testing and evaluation (materials, software)

·               Testing including methodology and techniques, functional specification verification, product or technology commissioning and assessment




The successful applicant will demonstrate the application of engineering theory and principles in the implementation of engineering projects.  Implementation is defined as "engineering for program management, construction, manufacturing or review of construction or manufacturing," Engineering activities related to implementation and considered for licensure include:


·               Optimizing processes or process components

·               Directing or supervising the implementation of a design (construction, manufacturing process, installation)

·               Implementing a start up process including writing procedure manuals, calibration, evaluation, and feedback

·               Performing cost studies and cost benefit analysis

·               Conducting process flow and time studies

·               Quality assurance implementation




The successful applicant will demonstrate the application of engineering theory and principles in the communication of engineering projects.  Communication is defined as "communicating engineering concepts, principles, and projects in writing or in oral presentations."  Engineering activities related to communication and considered for licensure include:


·               Writing operations and maintenance manuals

·               Preparing technical documents or reports for local, state, or federal governmental entities

·               Communicating engineering ideas/projects to the public

·               Teaching engineering subjects in an ABET program as an adjunct instructor or assistant professor.

·               Selling products which require the application of engineering theory and principles in the analysis of client needs, process, selection and design of equipment/materials, and oversight of installation and start up

·               Participating in the management of public processes

·               Providing expert engineering testimony


 The Texas Board of Professional Engineer's rules require an applicant's experience  to be composed of "an acceptable combination" of engineering activities.  The focus group was asked what would constitute "an acceptable combination" of engineering experience for an applicant with 4 years of experience applying for licensure.    


The engineers participating stated that they felt that experience in any one or a combination of experiences from any of the four categories would constitute "an acceptable combination" of experiences for licensure as long as the applicant was also able to demonstrate progressive responsibility, complexity, and competency in their work.  The focus group also emphasized that a licensed professional engineer must have supervised the experience presented for licensure. 


For example, if an engineer had four years of experience with all of their engineering activities in the category of analysis and was able to document increased responsibility and complexity in their work, that would be sufficient for licensure.  This would also be true if the person applying for licensure had four years of experience in writing technical manuals or in sales that required the application of engineering theory and principles. 


Miscellaneous Questions:

Dr. Lowery,


I'm currently working as a Mechanical Engineer, but my degree is in Civil Engineering. What are my options as far as obtaining my PE license in 4 years. Would I be able to take the Civil exam even though my experience is in Mechanical, or would I be able to take the Mechanical exam even though my degree is in Civil? 



Ben Alexander '14




I am pretty sure that you can take the exam in either, as long as you have your degree in either, and get your experience in the one you take the exam for, under a registered PE.  However, “pretty sure” won’t cut it.  Just call or email the Board and ask directly.  They will give you an informed answer, which you can hang onto and know exactly where you stand.


See Section 17c.  They give you phone numbers, but if you call them and get your answer I would highly recommend you either record it, or then get the email address of whoever you talk to and email them back saying “Dear Mr. Jones:  Thanks very much for your time today regarding my registration procedure.  As I understand it, I can take the CE exam etc. etc. etc. …  Just checking that I wasn’t reading something into it that was incorrect.”


That way you have a permanent written record on what you were told.


Please let me know what you find out so I will know too.


Good luck,