The Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam tests for a minimum level of competency in a particular engineering discipline. It is designed for engineers who have gained a minimum of four years’ post-college work experience in their chosen engineering discipline.

The PE Control Systems Engineering exam is an 8-hour exam with 80 questions. It is administered in pencil-and-paper format once per year in October.

For more information on the format of the exam and the topics covered, please refer to the NCEES website.

Differences between the CAP and CSE Programs

The CSE is a professional engineering (P.E.) license that can only be presented by a State Board of Engineering in the US CSE is a legal license to practice engineering and the exam focuses on control systems. CAP is a certification program that documents a candidate's knowledge not only in control systems but in the broader area of automation. CAP will be offered and recognized internationally.

Specifications for CSE Exam

PE exam specifications are posted 6 months before the exam administration. Updates for the April exams are posted in November, and updates for the October exams are posted in May. To review the specifications, please refer to the NCEES website.

Study Materials

ISA offers study materials and courses for those preparing for the CSE exam. The CSE Study Guide reflecting the multiple-choice format of the examination, and the Control Systems Engineering Exam Reference Manual: A Practical Study Guide, are both available for order through ISA Publishing. ISA Training also offers a three-day exam review course, as well as other courses that may help you prepare.

Request Information/Listing of Licensure Boards

Professional Engineering registration in the United States is administered by each State Licensing Board. The requirements for licensure vary from state to state. To receive information from your state on the requirements for the CSE examination, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) has a listing of Licensure Boards by state. For more information on the CSE examination, visit NCEES or contact them at: 1 (800) 250-3196.