Applying for a professional engineering license (in Ontario, at least) is a long and effort-filled process. By the time it is over, you will have invested quite a few hours into writing up your experience, filling out and submitting forms, studying for and writing the professional practice exam, and managing your references.
While some of you will be fortunate enough to have your employer footing the financial bill for your application, others will have to spend more than just time. The costs of obtaining and then maintaining your P. Eng license are not insignificant. Here is a breakdown of what you’ll have to spend, at a minimum:
Note: fees were increased on May 1, 2019
- Application fee: $360 + HST = $406.80
- PPE fee: $200
- Final registration fee: $300 + HST = $339
- 1-year license fee (recurring): $265 + HST = $299.45
TOTAL = $1,245.25
(before the fee increases, when I was licensed, my total was closer to $1,000)
Keep in mind, this does not include the significant fees for technical exams, which are $700 for the first exam, $200 for another attempt, and $360 for submitting a thesis. If technical exams are needed, your cost could exceed $2,000.
That’s right. After taxes, going through the whole process to become a P. Eng for a full year will make your wallet more than one thousand dollars lighter. And remember, these are only the mandatory fees. If you’re taking a course to help write your experience record, or study for the PPE, those may save you time, but they will cost you even more.
Is it worth it?
The answer is, of course: it depends. Quantifying the benefit you get out of your P. Eng license over the course of your career isn’t easy. Perhaps you need it to do your job, which makes it an easy decision. However, if you’re like me, you could do your job with or without it. Maybe the letters behind your name will help you move up the corporate ladder, but maybe not.
One tangible benefit you get with PEO membership is a good group discount for car insurance. My car insurance was already quite low, so this didn’t represent an improvement, but it’s worth checking out once you have your license.
For me, the jury is out and likely will be for the next 5-10 years, when I’ll get to see whether having the title of P. Eng has any effect on my career. Stay tuned.