So you got your bachelor degree in engineering and the next step on your list is to get your professional engineering (P.Eng.) licence. Where do you start? Is there anything you can do to help you with the application process?

I got my P.Eng. licence in Ontario in August 2020 and there's some things I learnt along they way that will definitely help you with your application.

Have a bachelor’s degree in an engineering program

Many of you may already be on your way to fulfilling this step. If you're a student in a Canadian university then most likely that engineering program is accredited by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB). However, if your degree is from an international engineering program, there is a different process you will have to follow. Make sure to get the information that you need.

Take the engineering ethics and law exam

This exam is called the National Professional Practice Exam (NPPE). It's not a difficult exam, however, I highly recommend taking it right after you graduate. You're still in "exam mode" after graduation and it's better to get it over with sooner than later!

Have 4+ years of engineering experience and fill out the experience record form

There is a form called the "experience record form" that you have to fill out and submit to the professional engineering body in your province (mine was Professional Engineers of Ontario PEO). In this form you will have to explain your engineering experience in 5 categories:

  1. Application of Theory

  2. Practical Experience

  3. Management of Engineering

  4. Communication Skills

  5. Awareness of Social Implications of Engineering


Here's a tip for you: fill out these forms every 6 months of your experience. Don't leave it to the last minute. Imagine you have to sit and write in detail what you did at work 4 years ago. You can even submit your forms ahead of time to your professional engineering body and get their feedback.

Have your references sign the experience record forms

You will need a reference to sign your forms. At least one year of your experience has to be under the supervision of a professional engineer. So when you decide to work for a company, make sure you identify who will be signing your experience record forms.

Here's another tip: If you leave a job or change projects, have your reference sign your record form before you leave. It may be hard to track them down in the future. (It took me a long time to track down my manager at the company I worked at 7 years ago! Don't make the same mistake I did!)

Submit your forms and wait for an examiner to be assigned to you

If you see the process is taking too long, follow-up with your examiner to make sure they have all the documents they need. They may ask you for further references or even for an interview!

Some more tips I have from my friends who got their license:

  1. 1If you have a master's degree in engineering, it counts towards your experience record

  2. Your employer will most likely pay for your application fee and your annual membership. Make sure to ask.

  3. You could be eligible for a salary increase once you get your license. Again, make sure to ask.

Good luck!

If you need more tips for engineering students, click here to read my guide:

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