NCEES Mining and Mineral Processing
PE Examination

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What and when is the PE Examination?

The NCEES Mining and Mineral Processing PE examination is offered once a year in October. The examination schedule can be found on the NCEES website. Requirements for eligibility vary by state, and each candidate is advised to contact his or her own licensure board for requirements, applications, fee and dates of the examination. Contact information for individual state boards can be found on the NCEES website. Requirements generally include:

  • Education requirements.

  • Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination.

  • Professional experience.

  • Complete an application that must be verified and approved by the state board.

  • Pass the PE Examination to demonstrate professional competence.


Deadlines to receive state board approval to take the PE examination can be months prior to the exam dates, so the application process should be started well in advance of the examination date.

The official guide to policies and procedures for examinations is provided in the NCEES Examinee Guide and on the NCEES website. The examination is administered in two parts, a morning session and an afternoon session, each lasting four hours. Each session consists of 40 multiple choice questions for a total of 80 questions. There is no penalty for incorrect responses, so all questions should be answered

Both the morning and afternoon sessions are open book examinations. Specifications for the reference materials, types of calculators and other items that can be taken into the examination room can vary over time and by state. Each candidate is advised to check the NCEES and state board websites for the most up to date information.

Be Prepared! Take the SME PE Review Course

SME sponsors a Review Course to prepare examinees for taking the examination. Completing this course, as part of an individual’s preparation for taking the PE exam, is highly recommended by people who have successfully passed the exam.

Learn more about the SME PE Review Course


Additional Information about the NCEES Mining and Mineral Processing PE examination

Accreditation or licensure is required for a number of professionals in order to practice their trades including doctors, dentists, nurses, attorneys, financial advisors, plumbers, electricians and many more. Historically, engineers working in the mining and minerals industry were seldom required to be licensed as professional engineers in order to work in the industry. However, it is becoming more and more common that licensure as a professional engineer is strongly encouraged or required by companies. The Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) supports and encourages engineers working in the mining and minerals industries to seek professional licensure.

The examinations used for engineering and surveying licensure in the United States are developed, administered and scored by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). The most current information about the organization can be found on its website ( The members of NCEES are the engineering and surveying licensure boards from 50 states, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories.

Examinations in a variety of engineering disciplines are developed by professional organizations whose members are subject matter experts for the disciplines. Some significant changes to the exam are anticipated within the next five years. This includes a change to computer based testing (CBT) for the PE exam and development of a reference book specifically designed to be used for the PE exam.

PE examinations are designed to test the minimum competency of general knowledge about mining and mineral processing. Minimum competency, as measured by the examination component of the licensing process, is defined as: The lowest level of knowledge at which a person can practice professional engineering in such a manner that will safeguard life, health, and property and promote the public welfare.