The Civil Engineering PE Exam for the Over 40's

For anyone over 40, taking the PE Exam may seem like a younger persons endeavor. Not so…

Here’s a recent comment we received from Carla, responding to this post, The Holiday Spirit and that looming PE Exam:

I really like the article Holiday Spirit and that Looming PE Exam. However, I do not consider myself a “young engineer”. I’m 50 years old and even though I graduated in 2006 (yes it took me 8 years and I worked as an Engr. Tech) sometimes I feel that I should push this out of my mind and consider myself a “young engineer”.

Any advice on not letting my age make excuses for me? I do feel younger than 50 and I’m trying to work that one!


Carla, you’re not the first and won’t be the last PEreview.net subscriber that remembers Ronald Reagan’s inauguration. As society becomes ever more mobile, the professions are more like jobs used to be; people switch more. Careers are more changeable than ever as educational and training opportunities cater to adaptable demands. This means there are more aspiring engineers, who began their careers in other professions. The challenge with engineering is that it’s so numerate. It’s math as applied as it gets. This means that we have increasing numbers of new engineers who are coping with engineering principles drawing on rusty recollections of calculus, algebra, and trig. The good news is that with more opportunities to train and learn, there are also more ways of learning. Distance Education is more accessible than ever. Its strength is that is is usually self-paced. This means career shifting engineers don’t have to be strapped to worn out conventional “chalk & talk” methods.

You have more patience than youth, and more wisdom on how to learn. So, while you may not be as quick as some of the younger engineers, you have a measured approach to learning. Even more important is the effect of the will. The actual desire to learn always trumps ability. Give me an enthusiastic student of any age, and I can work with him – or her. The “bright” and “gifted” student who has yet to find motivation is a far weaker prospect. Anyone over 40 who is prepared to take on the PE Exam has will. And where there’s will, there’s persistence. I know, because I was made in the ’50’s, and my wife will tell anyone about my persistence – but she uses another word.