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Preparing for the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam: Home

To become a licensed Professional Engineer (PE), the first step is the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam which is generally taken during the applicant’s final year of undergraduate education.

Why take the FE exam?

The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, also referred to as the Engineer in Training (EIT) exam is the first of two exams that engineers must pass to be licensed as a Professional Engineer (PE).  You may take the FE exam in your senior year of college. So why begin the process of becoming a professional engineer? 

  • Only a licensed engineer may prepare, sign and seal, and submit engineering plans and drawings to a public authority for approval, or seal engineering work for public and private clients.

  • PEs shoulder the responsibility for not only their work, but also for the lives affected by that work and must hold themselves to high ethical standards of practice.

  • Consulting engineers - Licensure for a consulting engineer or a private practitioner is not something that is merely desirable; it is a legal requirement for those who are in responsible charge of work.

  • Public service engineers - In many federal, state, and municipal agencies, certain governmental engineering positions, particularly those considered higher level and responsible positions, must be filled by licensed professional engineers.

  • Engineering educators - Many states require that individuals teaching engineering must also be licensed.

 

About the FE exam

The FE exam is a computer-based exam administered year-round (during four testing windows: Jan-Feb, Apr-May, Jul-Aug, Oct-Nov) at NCEES-approved test center. Nearest Pearson Vue Test Center is located at 2815 NW 13th Street, Suite 101, Gainesville, Florida 32609.

The FE exam includes 110-questions. The exam appointment time is 6 hours long and includes:

  • Nondisclosure agreement (2 minutes)
  • Tutorial (8 minutes)
  • Exam (5 hours and 20 minutes)
  • Scheduled break (25 minutes)

The exam will be discipline-specific for both morning and afternoon sessions and will be divided into two sections of approximately 55 questions each. You should select the module (options are listed at www.ncees.org/exams) that best corresponds to your undergraduate degree. Grades will be released within 7-10 days of your exam date directly to you and to the Board by NCEES.

A score of 70 is required to pass the exam.

Only certain calculators are allowed (2019 list):

  • Casio: All fx-115 and fx-991 models (Any Casio calculator must have “fx-115” or “fx-991” in its model name.)
  • Hewlett Packard: The HP 33s and HP 35s models, but no others
  • Texas Instruments: All TI-30X and TI-36X models (Any Texas Instruments calculator must have “TI-30X” or “TI-36X” in its model name.)

Reference material:  The only reference material that may be used is a handbook which is issued to examinees in the morning; it must be left in the room after each session. For study purposes, this handbook may be obtained by downloading from the NCEES website (http://ncees.org/exams/exam-preparation-materials/ or by purchasing a hard copy. However, examinees may not bring their own copies to the test site; they must use the ones issued to them by the proctors and may not write in them.

Engineers at work

Advantages of being a PE

 Licensure is the mark of a professional. It’s a standard recognized by employers and their clients, by governments and by the public as an assurance of dedication, skill and quality. NSPE

Your PE License Sets You Apart
The PE license demonstrates that you have the equivalent of a four-year engineering degree, four or more years of progressive experience (in most states), and a multidisciplinary understanding of physical and engineering principles. It shows that you have met all the standards required of the profession. For fields like electrical engineering where the PE is preferred but usually not required, it gives you another opportunity to stand out.

A PE License Generally Means a Higher Salary
According to a 2012 report from the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, engineers with a PE license earn a median income of $100,000, compared with the $95,500 for unlicensed engineering professionals -- a difference of about 5%. And according to a 2019 article based on a survey by the American Society of Civil Engineers, engineers with a PE license earn about 20% more than non-licensed engineers (ASCE. Civil engineers’ income rises faster than national average. Available: https://www.asce.org/templates/press-release-detail.aspx?id=32866

A PE License Can Be a Differentiator in the Hiring Process
If a company has to choose between two qualified applicants, one with a PE license (or an EIT working toward his license) and one without, which one do you think it will choose? Companies typically decide based upon which candidate they believe will bring the most benefit to the company.

A PE License Gives You the Ability to Sign and Seal Plans and Drawings
Only a licensed engineer can submit plans and drawings, and be in charge of work in the private sector. These requirements lead to more responsibility for the licensed PE, and thus greater career potential.

You Can Officially Call Yourself an Engineer Only If You Have a PE License
If you do not have a PE license, you cannot officially call yourself an engineer -- and your company cannot identify you as an engineer -- in official documents, such as business cards, letterheads and resumes. Additionally, you will need to register as a PE if you decide to work for yourself as a consultant.

You Can Work Anywhere in the Country
Since the FE and PE exams and the minimum registration requirements are standardized nationally, you can work as a professional engineer if you transfer to a state other than the one in which you were licensed. You would need to register with the board of engineering in your new state, and your new state may have additional requirements, but in general, you can use your PE license throughout the US.

Kent, J. (PE). The Power of the PE License. https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/professional-engineer-license-pe

Library resources

Library West and the Marston Science Library offer study guides for the FE and PE exams. Note that in 2015, the FE exam was changed to be discipline specific. Older review manuals may be helpful for the general subject areas, but refer to the manuals issued after 2014 for the most up-to-date question format. Here are a few of the latest study guides available at the Marston Science Library:

*FE Chemical Engineering Review Manual (UF Marston Science Library QD42 .L56 2016)
http://uf.catalog.fcla.edu/permalink.jsp?20UF035396953

*FE Civil Engineering Review Manual (UF Marston Science Library TA159 .L5726 2014)
http://uf.catalog.fcla.edu/permalink.jsp?20UF033017334

*FE Electrical and Computer Engineering Review Manual (UF Marston Science Library TK169 .L545 2015)
http://uf.catalog.fcla.edu/permalink.jsp?20UF035595538

*FE Mechanical Engineering Review Manual (UF Marston Science Library TJ159 .L495 2014)
http://uf.catalog.fcla.edu/permalink.jsp?20UF035595536

*FE Other Engineering Disciplines Review Manual (UF Marston Science Library TA159 .E385 2014)
http://uf.catalog.fcla.edu/permalink.jsp?20UF035851801

Front Cover

 

4 Steps to becoming a PE:

  1. Graduate from an ABET-accredited engineering program.
  2. Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam (exam may be taken in your senior year).
  3. Work under a professional engineer for four years.
  4. Pass the Professional Engineering (PE) exam (you cannot take the PE exam without first passing the FE exam).

FE exam offered in 7 disciplines

The FE is offered in seven disciplines:

Starting July 1, 2017, the computer-based FE introduces a new testing component: alternative item types (AITs). AITs are questions other than traditional multiple-choice questions.  Learn more about AITs.

Questions common to all the tests are Mathematics, Probability and Statistics, Ethics and Professional Practice, and Engineering Economics.

How much does it cost?

The FE exam fee is $175.
The state where you take the exam may also have additional fees.

For Florida:
Option 1 - Direct Registration with NCEES: Additional cost of $100.
or
Option 2 - Apply with FBPE prior to registering for FE exam. Additional cost of $30.

For more information on Florida registration:  https://fbpe.org/licensure/application-process/fundamental-examinations/

Websites

NCEES Examinee Guide is the official guide to policies and procedures for all NCEES exams. All examinees are required to read this document before starting the exam registration process. It is your responsibility to make sure that you have the current version. http://ncees.org/exams/examinee-guide/

Exam experience - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLiZ0hjHNi9jzR8RW69ndkjIgH8bzj0ew

Florida Board of Professional Engineers (FBPE) - https://fbpe.org/licensure/application-process/fundamental-examinations/

University of Florida Home Page

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