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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.

Exam Preparation Resources

ISA offers study materials and courses to help you prepare for the CSE exam.

Study Guides

Training Course

The Control Systems Engineer (CSE) PE Exam Review Course (EN00) is offered in three formats:

  • Classroom (EN00)
  • Virtual Classroom (EN00V)
  • Instructor-Guided, Online (EN00E)

​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 the CSE Exam

PE exam specifications are posted six 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.​

National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES)

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