Nuclear Engineering PE Exam at June ANS Meeting

By Jennifer Varnedoe

Ready for the next leap in your career? Who doesn’t like extra letters after their name? Well then, why not get a Professional Engineer license?

As the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) states:

Just as the CPA defines the accountant, and a law license defines the lawyer, the PE license tells the public that you have mastered the critical elements of your profession. It demonstrates your commitment to the highest standards of engineering practice. The PE after your name is an advantage that will open doors for the rest of your life.

Four good reasons from NSPE to get licensed:


PEs are respected by the public and are seen in the same positive light as those licensed professionals in other fields. PEs are also held in high esteem by their peers in the engineering community, who see a licensed PE as part of an elite group.

Career development

Employers are impressed with engineers who have their PE license. Licensure not only enhances your stature, it shows commitment to the profession and demonstrates heightened leadership and management skills. Licensure is also a necessity for rising to increased levels of authority and responsibility.


Having a PE license opens up your career options. You can become a specialist, or establish your own business. It also protects you during industry downsizing or outsourcing. The PE license allows you to go as far as your initiative and talent will take you.


Studies have shown that PEs earn higher pay throughout their business careers. Having your PE allows expanded opportunities beyond a company structure—as an independent consultant, for example.

ANS Nuclear PE workshops

The American Nuclear Society periodically offers workshops through the Professional Development Committee to help you get your mind wrapped around the “administrivia” of taking the nuclear PE exam and the actual exam content. The workshops cover how to register for the exam and how the process differs from state to state, and provides an overview of the exam formats. For each of the four basic skill areas—nuclear power, nuclear fuel cycle, interaction of radiation, and nuclear criticality/kinetics/neutronics—the instructor walks through the topics and the skills tested within each topic. During the course, example questions are presented in depth, and you’ll have an opportunity to work some problems on your own and then review them with the group.

And the best part… [drumroll, please!]

ANS will provide you with a study guide, including a sample exam, along with additional helpful resources!

In addition to assisting you in preparing for the test, ANS supports the development of the test as well. So, once you get your license, you can step up and be instrumental in developing and grading the test. What a great way to give back to the profession!

Please join us in Chicago for the next “Preparing for the Nuclear Engineering Professional Engineering Exam” session at the June ANS Meeting. The session will be held on Sunday, June 24, 2012,  from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.

NOTE: If you are not attending the ANS meeting in June to participate in the workshop, you can order a copy of the newly revised PE study guide—as a
downloadable PDF file, or as a CD-ROM or a hard-copy three-ring binder version mailed to you—from the ANS Store .



Jennifer Varnedoe is chair of the ANS Young Members Group. She is a project engineer with Advanced Programs at GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy. She has been an ANS member since 2007 and is a guest contributor to the ANS Nuclear Cafe.

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