I am considering moving from abroad to the US, and hoping to obtain an engineering license for employment. I have a bachelors and graduate degree in physics, but I have heard that many states require a bachelors in an ABET accredited program to become licensed.

Which states do NOT require an engineering bachelors? If they don't require this, do they have some other requirement instead?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I'm from Brazil, so can't answer this question, but... are there any that don't? $\endgroup$
    – Wasabi
    Feb 3 '16 at 9:30
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think you should leave the question here as it might be useful to others in the future, but what type of engineering are you looking to do? Licensure is only a requirement in certain fields and industries. I'm employed as an engineer and there is no need for me to obtain a PE license to continue in my company or field. $\endgroup$ Feb 3 '16 at 13:20
  • $\begingroup$ Some licensing boards have specific procedures for accepting education gained outside of the USA. It usually involves providing transcripts. $\endgroup$
    – hazzey
    Feb 3 '16 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ I second the comment from @TrevorArchibald. Many people work as engineers without having a PE license. I really depends on whether you are working in one of the very specific fields that require one. Can you describe what work you are interested in doing? $\endgroup$
    – Eric S
    Apr 19 '18 at 14:08
  • $\begingroup$ This also depends greatly on which specific discipline as well as location. $\endgroup$
    – Paul
    Apr 19 '18 at 18:06

As you have noted each state in the USA has different requirements. The general requirements are as follows:

  • Obtain a Bachelor's in Engineering (BSE) from an ABET accredited engineering program. The disciplines that I am familiar are Electrical, Civil, and Mechanical. I suggest you review the references below for more detailed information.
  • Successfully complete the Fundamentals in Engineering exam to obtain Engineering in Training (EIT) status.
  • Gain professional experience (typically four years minimum).
  • Successfully complete the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam.

Considering that you have bachelor's and graduate degrees in physics, you have a few options:

  • Enroll in a ABET accredited engineering program to obtain a Bachelor's in Engineering. With your physics background you are most likely to get a significant amount of credit. It is likely that you will be able to obtain a Bachelor's in Engineering in about 2 year depending on the University.
  • Submit your credential to the licensing authority; hopefully they will accept your credentials and allow you sit for the EIT exam. You will have to do more research on this topic. I suggest that you review the Washington Accord.
  • If you are already a licensed, practicing engineer, submit those credentials to the appropriate licensing authority. They may accept your current credentials. I have submitted my USA credentials to Engineers Australia and obtained registration in Australia for an Australia-based engineering project.


  • $\begingroup$ The B.S.E. is not really a general requirement; it could be a B.S. or B.Eng. or some other style of degree. What matters is the "ABET accredited engineering program" part. There are exceptions in the California code (I would have to look them up) for working professionals to sit the FE and earn their EIT without having a college degree but I'm not sure if this is commonplace. $\endgroup$
    – Air
    Feb 3 '16 at 21:55

You do not need a license in any state to be an engineer; I was one in IL IN and TX. However you need a license in every state to be a "Professional Engineer". Which will require a combination of formal education and experience. Many states do have reciprocity agreements with other states , so one license will let you practice in several states. Apologies; I believe I answered the question he wanted to ask , not the question that was asked.


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