What is the FE Exam

I Passed the FE Exam! Now What?

Congratulations on passing your NCEES Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. You’re now considered an Engineer in Training (EIT) or Engineering Intern (EI). While you’ll probably want to go celebrate, don’t get too excited—there’s still work to be done before you’re an official engineer.

What’s next? Send your transcript to the state you want to be certified in, get a job, make some connections, and begin researching the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. You see, even though you’ve passed that FE exam, and that’s a wonderful accomplishment, the PE exam requires that you have knowledge gained in engineering practice—four years of engineering practice to be exact (in most states).

While many have opted to pass on the opportunity to obtain a PE license due to lack of time or willingness, it’s important to remember that a PE license separates you from the crowd. It often means you can earn more money and may be the deciding factor for an employer debating between two qualified candidates. You can call yourself whatever you’d like, but you’re not considered an engineer until you’ve received your PE license.

Thinking about taking the FE exam? Download the Preparing for the FE Exam eBook.

Next Steps After Passing the FE Exam

Once you’ve agreed that a PE license is something you want to attain, you’ll want to get an entry-level engineering job. Because you’re an EIT, you’ll be required to work under the supervision of a registered professional engineer.

This means you’ll need to put together a resume. You’re just starting out, so if you don't have a great deal of relevant work experience when applying, be sure to emphasize the skills that you’ve used in other non-technical positions, such as management skills or public speaking experience. Also, be sure to include courses related to your field or intended career.

Before you graduate, check in with your school advisers to see if they can guide you in finding an opportunity in your area. Otherwise, you can search the internet’s many job websites, or simply send out resumes to companies for which you’d like to work. According to Payscale.com, some of the most popular employers for those with an EIT certification include major engineering players like Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

One example of an EIT position open at this time is a mechanical engineer job at Ameri-Force Craft Services, which requires the EI to work under the supervision of a licensed professional mechanical PE to perform electrical evaluations and system calculations, as well as contribute to client proposals.

Now Let’s Fast-Forward a Few Years

Once you’ve gained all of the necessary experience, you’ll want to start preparing for the PE exam. Be sure to contact your state engineering licensure board, because most states require that applications be submitted well in advance.

Just like for the FE exam, PPI offers a series of test prep materials for the PE exam. Be sure to browse PPI's offerings and select the exam in the area that pertains to you. Remember, each discipline’s test varies. For example, the PE Environmental exam is an 8-hour, open-book exam that consists of 50 multiple-choice questions in the morning session and 50 multiple-choice questions in the afternoon. It covers engineering areas such as water, solid waste, air, and environmental health and safety. On the other hand, the Civil Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam is an exam of breadth consisting of 40 multiple-choice questions. It is also open-book, but contains questions from civil engineering areas such as transportation, geotechnical, construction and structural.

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