“Engineers are recognized by employers, peers, and society alike for their character, ethics, and quality of work. Those who earn and maintain the title adhere to the highest technical, professional, and ethical standards, and they do work that makes a difference in society. Their ability to solve complex problems benefits people everywhere.” – Engineers Canada

In Canada Engineering is a licensed profession, this has many different implications for those who desire to become a Professional Engineer. 

What does that mean?

Engineers are licensed professionals which means one has to meet a specific set of requirements relating to education, skills, knowledge, and experience to be able to call oneself an Engineer. This is because only engineers can do engineering work (as defined by the province), or sign off on engineering work completed by someone else (this varies by province).


Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) Is the regulatory board in Ontario that is responsible for licensing Engineers, and upholding the Engineers Act. To obtain a license to practice in Ontario, one must meet the following requirements:

  1. be at least 18 years old.
  2. be of good character.
  3. meet the academic requirement 
  4. pass the National Professional Practice Exam 
  5. satisfy the experience requirements 

The academic requirement is satisfied upon completion of an accredited engineering program (All engineering programs at Waterloo are either accredited or are new and therefore in the accreditation process).

The National Professional Practice Exam is a 3-hour, closed-book, on-line exam on ethics, professional practice, engineering law and professional liability. This can be taken at any point in time during the process of acquiring the experience requirements.

The experience requirements state: to be licensed all applicants must gain 48 months (4 years) of verifiable, acceptable engineering work experience gained after completion of their undergraduate engineering degree.

Up to 12 months (1 year) worth of experience can be completed during your undergraduate degree, granted that the experience is after half way through your education (any co-op terms completed after the 2B term).  To record co-op (pre-graduation) experience you must complete the following form (and have it signed off by your supervisor).

Pregraduation Experience Record

For more information on the PEO and how you can get involved reach out to the VP Communications vpcomm@engsoc.uwaterloo.ca or check out  their student webpage.

What if I want to work outside of Ontario?

Becoming a licensed engineer is regulated differently province by province (or territory) in Canada. Because of the Canadaian Free Trade Agreement, once licensed in one region an engineer is able to be licensed in any region they wish to practise, without having to become recertified (some exceptions may apply). If you are looking to become an engineer outside of Ontario you can find information regarding all other provinces and territories licensing boards here: 

All Canadian Regulators 

What if I want to work outside of Canada?

Or if you are interested in practising in a different country, a Canadian P.Eng license may be able to qualify you to practise. For more information about practising Engineering in a different country click here:

International Mobility