Gain Acceptable Experience and Document It
Without an ABET Accredited Engineering Degree, you must have minimum of 4 years of approved engineering experience before you can be enrolled as an engineer intern, and 8 years total approved experience before you can be licensed.
For the most part, the clock for approved experience starts on commencement day. Of course there are exceptions (qualified certified cooperative programs; full time employment and at least eight years as a part time student to earn your degree). Master's degree and doctor's degree in engineering work may count in place of some experience as well (but not if that course work was used to fulfill any missing education requirements.
Click here to review the Approved Experience section of the Illinois Administrative Code that outlines what is considered "Approved Experience".
All experience must be documented when you apply for the exams. ISPE advises that as you change positions, or your supervisor changes, you request your supervisor to complete the VE-PNG (verification of experience) form and mail it to you for your records. Do not open the envelope - leave it sealed. This will be much easier than having to track down supervisors when you are ready to submit the forms.
Apply for the Exam(s)
Once you have gained your experience, you may apply to take the exam(s). Applicants for the FE Exam will use Fundamentals of Engineering - Examination forms. Applicants for the PE Exam (or both the FE and PE Exam) will use Principles and Practice - Examination forms.
Applicants must also submit original official transcripts indicating the conferral of the degree and listing all course work completed for your degree with the school seal affixed. It is suggested you also submit any post-baccalaureate level course work since it may support your eligibility.
You must have each employer for whom you worked as part of your qualifying experience complete a VE-PNG form. If doing engineering work (required experience), a supervisor must be licensed unless exempt by statute (i.e. manufacturers' exemption). The work is not exempt under Illinois law, and it is not being supervised by a PE, either it is not considered engineering work, or you are likely violating the PE Act.
Once you have completed the process and are determined eligible you will receive an "Authorization to Test" that will contain the necessary information to schedule yourself for the exam(s).
Prepare for the Exam(s)
Review the State References, Materials and Procedures for the Illinois Professional Engineering Examinations guide to know what to expect on exam day and what materials you can bring into the facility. For a comprehensive overview of the FE Exam, what is allowed, and what to expect, check out the NCEES FE Exam Guide.
Applicants should not expect to cram and do well. Applicants are encouraged to take their time, develop a study plan. Many tools exist to review.