Planning for an engineering career in the US (MC) *

by Maurice Chee (M75)

Note :

The contents may not be up to date, since this is a re-post of an old article. However, the principles should apply.

Step One

For RIT graduates to become registered professional engineers, they need to take the Engineering-in Training which is an eight-hour exam given by the Department of Consumer Affairs, State of California. The exam is given twice a year. The following is a list of information and guidelines on E-I-T that I have extracted from the web site, http://www.dca.ca.gov. 


Certification as an Engineer-in-Training (EIT) is the first step required under California law towards becoming licensed as a professional engineer.

Certification as a Land Surveyor-in-Training (LSIT) is the first step required under California law towards becoming licensed as a professional land surveyor.

Each applicant must file the application, pay the stated filing fee, and sit for the assigned 8-hour written examination. Persons who pass the written examination will be issued a certificate as either an Engineer-in-Training or a Land Surveyor-in-Training, whichever is appropriate.

Neither U.S. Citizenship nor California residency is required. However, you must provide your social security number or individual taxpayer identification number, or your application will NOT be processed. Disclosure of your social security number is mandatory. U.S. Citizens, if you do not have a social security number you may contact your local United States Social Security Office at 1-800-722-1213 or http://www.ssa.gov/online/forms.html. Non-U.S. citizens without a social security number may request an individual taxpayer identification number from The Department of Treasury (Internal Revenue Service) at (215) 516-4846 or http://www.irs.gov/ind_info/itin.html.

Examination Requirements

EIT applicants must have either completed 3 years of course work in a board-approved engineering curriculum OR have 3 years of engineering-related work experience, and never have been convicted of a crime related to the practice of engineering.

Examination Scope

The EIT examination covers fundamental engineering subjects including mathematics and the basic sciences. The exam has a four-hour morning and four-hour afternoon session. In the morning, all examinees answer the same 120 questions, each worth one point, covering the breadth of knowledge in engineering. In the afternoon session, examinees choose one of the six following subject areas: General, Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, or Industrial Engineering. Candidates identify the chosen subject area at the examination.

Each has 60 two-point questions, written to test the depth of knowledge in the selected subject area. The total number of possible points for the morning and afternoon session is 240.

The LSIT examination covers material related to the fundamentals of land surveying. The exam has a four-hour morning and a four-hour afternoon session. In each session all examinees answer 85 questions and all are required.

The total number of possible points for the morning and afternoon sessions is 170.

Both the EIT and LSIT examinations are closed-book examinations. NO REFERENCE MATERIALS OF ANY KIND ARE ALLOWED. Calculators are acceptable, however, any calculating device having a QWERTY keypad arrangement similar to a typewriter or a keyboard will not be allowed for the exam.

How to apply

Submit a completed and signed application form to the Board office in Sacramento, together with a check or money order in the amount of $60 made payable to the “Department of Consumer Affairs”. Self-address and stamp a 4 x 5″ postcard for notification that your application has been received by the Board.

You may provide your own postcard. The card will notify you of the progress/status of your application. It will be mailed to you approximately two weeks after the receipt of your application.

The Board recycles reference manuals from the previous exam. EIT applicants (except renewal applicants) will receive a recycled manual from the Board. Applicants may purchase a new copy of the handbook for $9.95 from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), 1820 Seneca Creek Road, Clemson, South Carolina 29633-1686, (800) 250-3196. It is possible to place an order on the publications page of the NCEES website.

LSIT applicants can purchase, for $9.95, a reference handbook on the Fundamentals of Land Surveying to help them prepare for the examination from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), 1820 Seneca Creek Road, Clemson, SC 29633-1686, (800) 250-3196, or you may order it directly from the publications page on the NCEES website. Your application must be postmarked by the final filing date noted in the exam schedule to be accepted for the next examination. Applications received requiring postage due will not be accepted by our office. Final filing dates will not be extended for those who have their applications returned for insufficient postage.

Your admission notice will be sent approximately 10 days before the exam to the address indicated on your application. Use the Board’s address change affidavit to notify the Board if your address changes after you apply.

Step Two

After passing the E-I-T exam, one needs to obtain four years of experience under the direct supervision of a registered professional engineer (California License). You will need to get four references as part of your application. The registration fee is $175.00 and DCA administers the exam twice a year.

Please contact DCA to obtain the following information:

General References:

Professional Engineers Act: Business and Professions Code sections 6700-6799

Professional Land Surveyors Act: Business and Professions Code sections 8700-8805

Rules of the Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors:

California Code of Regulations sections 400 – 474.5

(For print copy of all three above, send $5.00 check, payable to DCA, to:

Attention: Cashier, P O Box 349002, Sacramento, CA 95834-9002. If you are licensed by this Board, you may receive a free copy. Just include your license number with your request)

Professional Engineer Plain Language Pamphlet (.htm)

Professional Land Surveyor Plain Language Pamphlet (.htm)

Professional Land Surveyor Plain Language Pamphlet (.pdf)

EIT/LSIT Examinee Instructions

Professional Engineer and Professional Land Surveyor Examinee Instructions

Special Civil Examination (Seismic & Survey): Reference List

Special Civil Examination (Seismic & Survey): Information for Examinees


Traffic Engineer Examination Reference List

Geotechnical Engineer Examination Reference List

Structural Engineer: Special Format Information and Examination Instructions

Structural Engineer: Information for Examinees e_ge00refs.htm

The Eight-Hour Mechanical Engineering Exam format is now all multiple choice.

For information, follow this link to Principles and Practice of Engineering Examinations on the NCEES website.

The Eight-Hour Civil Engineering Exam format is now all multiple choice. The NCEES “Transportation Design Standards” has changed. For information, follow this link to Principles and Practice of Engineering Examinations on the NCEES website.

For information regarding use of codes or standards for any other examination offered by this Board, contact the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying (NCEES). The NCEES toll-free telephone number is: 1-800-250-3196.

Test Plans for California Specific Exams:

Geotechnical Engineering Test Plan

Land Surveyor Examination Test Plan

Special Civil Engineering Survey Test Plan

Special Civil Seismic Principles Test Plan

Structural Engineering Test Plan

Traffic Engineering Test Plan

Step Three

Job Opportunity:

RIT graduates with E-I-T certification and with no local experience can apply for entry level position as junior engineer with City and County of San Francisco and Bay Area Counties. There are several engineers including myself working for City and County of San Francisco and many hold higher engineering positions. Hin Lok Kung, a 1967 RIT graduate is the manager of the electrical section. Cal-Tran also accepts RIT graduates. U Myat Htoo is a Senior Transportation Engineer with Cal-Tran. Further, job advancement in civil service jobs requires registration as professional engineer. Most RIT graduates start their career with Consulting Engineers as design engineer or designer and many of them obtained their registration through the steps that I have described above. There are several consulting firms with RIT graduates as principal or partner.

Other Options

For those who are single, young, ambitious, academically good and financially sound, we would recommend to follow the footsteps of Mr. Benny Tan (M70) and Dr. Kim Chen aka U Nyo Win (M65) and go for post grad studies. To do so you may need to take the GRE and with good score you may be able to get admission to local universities.


The suggestion mentioned above is based on choosing an engineering career in the A&E industry. As always, career success depends on other factors such as possessing good communication, analytical, and problem solving skills, and a blend of theory and practice in the chosen engineering field.

Categories: P Q R

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