About John Rico

Hey Everyone! My name is John Rico and I always wanted to become a Professional Civil Engineer.


I studied Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in the Philippines. I took it for 5 years and after I graduate, I immediately flew to California, USA. I am currently based in Los Angeles where all of my family also lives.

Pursuing my Engineering Career in America was Never Easy. 

On my first year, having an engineering related job didn’t happen for me. I started to work on a small bakery as a cashier and server. Aside from that, I also work part time as a math tutor.

I also worked as a ride operator in a theme park and even made some couple of money from being a cashier on a fast food restaurant.

Honestly, I was already losing hope to get a job that is in line with what I have studied. I tried to send my resumes online but no one seems to respond to my emails.

Not until I applied for this stone company that is looking for a CAD Drafter. I took my chance and got the job. Personally, I don’t like drafting. It is so time consuming and requires patience as you will be in front of the computer for 8 hours a day.

Even though this job is more focused on architectural side of the construction, it is still the closest one that I can have to the engineering field. I worked in there for 3 years as a drafter/designer/assistant project manager.

While working, I also spent 1-2 hours per day after my 9-5 job to study and prepare for the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam.

Generally, FE exam should be taken in order to get your Engineering-In-Training (EIT) certificate and start your journey to become a Professional Engineer (PE).

I studied for a year and thankfully, on just one take, I passed the FE Civil exam on September 2016. I thought everything is already done after the FE exam but little that I knew that I am just getting started.

On September 2018, I landed on my first job that is engineering related. I worked as an Engineering Assistant (Government Job) of the Public Works Department of a Large City that is an hour away from Los Angeles.

Even though the commute was tiring because of the long drive, I still managed to compose myself and work their for almost a year.

While working in the City, I also started to study for the PE exam. By the way, it was just recent when the California Engineering Board already allows people to take the PE exam even before they gain their engineering experience. I still suggest that you contact your Engineering Board to confirm this new rule.Anyway, after almost a year, I was able to find a new job that is closer to my home.

At present time, I currently work as an Assistant Engineer (Government Job) of Public Works department  on a Medium Sized City 20 mins away from Los Angeles.Right now, I am planning to take my PE exam on October 2019. I will be taking the PE Civil exam and Construction as my discipline. I am still preparing for the examination and hoping that all my hard work will pay off.

*March 2022 Update

On my third try, I passed the PE Civil Construction Exam! It was a difficult journey but thankfully I made it. I am now preparing my PE application and send it to the board for their review.

WHY DID I CREATE BecomingPE.com?

I created this website because I wanted to help those people who are eager to know the process of becoming a Professional Engineer in America.

This is also dedicated to everyone who have the same problems as I have with regards to pursuing their engineering career.

I know the feeling of being stuck and not knowing what to do. So I hope that BecomingPE.com can be your Guide in your Engineering Journey.

Since I graduated from a foreign country, I am not familiar with EIT or FE examination. That’s why I did my research to better understand the process.

When I first researched about how to get my EIT certificate, there is not much resources online that provides adequate information about the process. Even though there are some sites that showed information, it is not that clear and easy to understand.

I even called NCEES contact number in order to verify all the information that I have learned about taking the FE exam.

I want to use this platform to share my experience and provide valuable advice to my fellow dreamers.

THE GOAL OF BecomingPE.com

This website aims to provide guidance, tips, support and resources that you will be able to use throughout your engineering journey.

The #1 goal of BecomingPE.com is to help as many people as possible in reaching their dream – to become a Professional Engineer.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

John Rico


email: john@becomingpe.com

By John Rico

John Rico is an Engineer-in-Training Professional that works his way up to become a Licensed Professional Engineer.


  1. Wonderful story!. That inspired me a lot.

    I am in the same scenario to you. I completed B.S.C.E degree in Vietnam and just came to US for 6 months. I wished I would have seen your website earlier once I was in Vietnam so I could have prepared a little bit better. But anyway I am working on my way to pass FE exam while working full time.

    It would be nice to be your friend and to learn more from your experience.

    Thank you!

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