Maine needs engineers.
And there’s a clear and direct path for foreign-trained engineers to get licensed in Maine.
By Stefanie Trice Gill
When immigrant engineers come to the U.S., they’re often told their education, experience, and credentials are not valid and they must “start over.” But foreign-trained professional engineers like Oumalkhaire Barkad Said, featured in the February 1, 2020, issue of Amjambo Africa, prove that foreign-trained engineers don’t need to “start over” to succeed. In fact, foreign-trained engineers can get licensed and find work in the U.S.
The New Mainers Resource Center’s Engineering Licensure Guide outlines several pathways to work as an engineer in Maine:
Find an employer who needs your specific skill set (programmable logic controller (PLC) programming, design, etc.)
Work under a professional engineer (PE) licensed in Maine
Become a licensed professional engineer in Maine: The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) coordinates licensure efforts of engineers and surveyors nationally. Maine’s State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers determines who qualifies to become a licensed engineer in Maine.
There are two engineering credentials in Maine, both open to people with foreign degrees: Engineer intern (EI) certification indicates that a person has met the educational requirements for licensure and passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam (the first of two national exams). Some states call this “EIT.” To get certified as an engineer intern, one needs:
• To pass the NCEES Fundamentals of Engineering exam ($175• Get a NCEES Credential Evaluation ($350)
• Apply to the State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers for EI Certification ($25)
Many company job postings say “EI or EIT preferred.”
Professional engineer (PE) licensure results in instant recognition of an engineer’s professional credentials. To get licensed, one needs:
• Qualifying education (details below)
• To pass the NCEES Fundamentals of Engineering exam
• About four years of engineering work experience (less or more, depending on education)
• Five references, at least three of which are from licensed PEs
• A completed online application ($50)
• To pass the NCEES Professional Engineering exam
• To pay the state licensure fee ($120 for two years)
Can I use a non-NCEES credential evaluation to get licensed?
No. Only the NCEES credential evaluation is accepted for engineering licensure in Maine.
What type of education is considered “qualifying”?
Maine accepts bachelors’ degrees in engineering from any country. You may also qualify if you have a bachelors’ degree in a related science (physics, math, chemistry, biology, geology, etc.). Email any questions about your specific situation to [email protected] .
How can I prepare for the FE exam?
Some people just study a FE Review Manual. Many others take a “refresher” class through the School of PE, Prepineer, or PPI2Pass that allows for online test practice.
How do I start the journey?
• Set up a free MyNCEES account online. It generates a form that you send to your university, requesting that they send your official transcripts and course descriptions directly to NCEES for engineering credential evaluation.
• Email any licensure questions to [email protected]
• Prepare for the FE exam.
• For help with the job search, internships, and other support, contact IntWork at IntWork.com.