FE Exam Resource Center
Taking the NCEES FE exam is the first step toward becoming a licensed engineer. After you pass the FE exam, you are considered an “Engineer-in-Training." This resource center is a good place to reference during your journey to get your license.
Should I Take the FE Exam?
What is the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam?
The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam is a 110-question, multiple-choice test developed by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). This computer-based exam is offered year-round at Pearson Vue testing centers and covers topics studied in undergraduate engineering courses. It’s the first of two engineering exams you must pass to become a licensed professional engineer (PE) in the United States. After passing the FE exam, also referred to as the Engineering-in-Training (EIT) exam, you earn an EIT certification and are considered either an engineer-in-training or an engineer intern, depending on your state.
Who should take the FE exam?
The FE exam is designed for engineering students and graduates who want to take the first step toward becoming a PE. Most engineers take the FE exam during or immediately after their final semester as an undergrad so that exam knowledge is fresh in their minds. Taking the FE exam is not a degree requirement to graduate, nor is it an entrance exam for further education, like the GMAT. It is, however, an important career step for ambitious engineers who want to earn their license. Civil Engineers are often required to take the Civil FE exam at the beginning of their careers as they often won’t qualify for promotions until holding EIT certification.
What are the benefits of taking the FE exam?
There are multiple benefits of taking the FE exam, especially if you’re looking to advance your career and earn a competitive salary. Below we discuss some of the advantages of taking the FE exam and earning EIT certification.
Taking the FE exam is the first step toward PE licensure. This is the most important benefit of taking the FE exam, as it will set you up for a long and rewarding career. Once you pass the FE exam, you can take the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam and earn professional licensure after gaining approximately four years of experience as an engineer (depending on your state). Earning a PE license is a huge accomplishment and conveys to employers, the state, and the public that you meet the standards of professional competency, follow the rules for professional conduct, and protect the interest of the public. A PE license also gives you the authority to sign and seal plans and drawings.
Taking the FE exam offers you more career opportunities. Successfully passing the FE exam shows potential employers that you are committed to developing as an engineer and are serious about your career. Furthermore, some employers require you to pass the FE exam and earn EIT certification for certain jobs and promotions. Civil engineers, for example, are often required to earn EIT certification at the beginning of their careers.
Taking the FE exam differentiates you from your peers. Engineering jobs can be highly competitive, and if you’re looking to give yourself an edge in the job market, holding an EIT certificate can give you a leg up on the competition. Passing the FE exam proves you have mastered the fundamentals of engineering and are working towards professional licensure – something employers like to see on a resume.
Will I get paid more if I pass the FE?
There is no guarantee that you will get paid more once you pass the FE exam. Salary raises are more likely once you’ve reached PE status later in your career. However, passing the FE exam is required to become eligible to take the PE exam. You are highly likely to earn a higher salary after passing the PE exam and earning your license. According to a salary survey by ASME, mechanical engineers who passed the FE and PE exams and earned licensure make $16,000 more per year than their unlicensed counterparts.
Whether or not you get paid more after passing the FE exam ultimately depends on your employer. Some employers will pay more for engineers who have passed the FE exam and earned their EIT certification. In fact, 40% of job seekers on Indeed said that earning their EIT Certificate helped them make more money. Civil engineers, for example, are often required to pass the FE exam early in their careers and are not eligible for promotions until they do. Once a civil engineer earns licensure by passing both the FE and PE exams, it is standard practice for that engineer to immediately get a raise.
What can I do with my EIT certification?
Passing the FE exam and earning EIT certification is necessary to become a licensed professional engineer. It demonstrates your mastery of fundamental engineering concepts and indicates you have completed the first requirement of becoming a PE. As an EIT, you can perform engineering work under the supervision of a professional engineer.
The EIT certification itself does not grant you any privileges. In order to stamp and seal engineering documents, you have to reach PE status. Depending on your employer, holding EIT certification can make you eligible for certain promotions (and salary increases). Passing the FE exam and earning EIT certification is a major career milestone and a pivotal step on your way to becoming a professional engineer.
Why You Should Take The FE Exam As Soon As Possible
We recommend you take the FE exam as soon as possible – either in the last year of your undergraduate engineering program or immediately after graduation. The FE exam tests your knowledge of engineering concepts you’ll have studied in school, so it’s ideal to take the exam while those concepts are still top of mind. Even if you aren’t sure about your career goals at this stage, taking the FE exam and earning EIT certification will help your career growth and enhance your resume. Taking the FE exam early in your career also gives you plenty of time to gain relevant work experience if you do decide to take the PE exam down the road.
Which FE exam should I take?
The FE exam is offered in seven disciplines. It’s up to you to choose which FE exam to take, depending on your career goals. When deciding between the exams, consider the specialty you are most interested in as well as the pass rates for each exam. If you don’t know which specialty to pursue, you can take the FE Other (General) exam, which combines topics from all the disciplines. Below is a list of all the FE exams as well as their pass rates as of January 2022, according to data from NCEES.
FE Chemical - 73% pass rate
FE Civil - 62% pass rate
FE Electrical and Computer - 73% pass rate
FE Environmental - 70% pass rate
FE Industrial - 62% pass rate
FE Mechanical - 71% pass rate
FE Other Disciplines - 65% pass rate
What happens after you pass the FE exam?
Passing the FE exam is a significant achievement in your engineering career. Now that you’ve passed the exam, you may be wondering what happens next if your ultimate goal is to become a PE. Below is a step-by-step process of what you should do after passing the FE exam.
Send your transcript to your state board to get an EIT certificate.
Start studying for the PE exam.
Gain experience working as an engineer.
Take the PE exam.
Become a professional engineer after passing the PE exam!
It’s important to note that requirements for PE licensure vary from state to state, so be sure to check with your state’s licensing board on their current list of requirements.
How do I prepare for the FE exam?
The FE exam is known to be a challenging exam, and effective prep is critical to passing on your first try. When creating your study plan for the FE exam, you’ll want to incorporate our six steps for successful FE exam prep. This includes taking practice tests, purchasing a copy of the NCEES FE Reference handbook to use alongside your FE Review Manual, and more. The best way to study for the FE exam is to start early and stay organized. Take the FE exam as soon as possible, and utilize all the resources available to you as you work through your FE exam prep.
How do I sign up for the FE exam?
The FE exam is offered each year during four testing windows: January - February, April - May, July - August, and October - November. You can take the exam up to three times in one year. All FE exam disciplines are administered year-round at Pearson VUE Test Centers. Once you’ve chosen your exam date and discipline, you may be wondering how to sign up for the FE exam. The fastest way is to register via the NCEES website for the most up-to-date exam schedules based on your state. A fee of $175 will need to be made payable to NCEES. Some state licensing boards may require you to file a separate application and pay an application fee as part of the approval process to sit for an NCEES exam.
How long should I study for the FE exam?
How long you should study for the FE exam depends on you as an individual. In general, we recommend 12 to 14 weeks of serious study for a minimum of three hours per day. However, FE exam prep time varies depending on which FE exam you plan to take. Each exam has different questions and a different number of test-takers. For example, the FE Civil exam is the most popular FE exam, and engineering licensure is very common in the civil engineering industry. Because of this, many civil engineering college programs offer FE exam prep review to help their students prepare for the FE exam, which means they need less time to prepare for the FE exam on their own.
It’s also important to review FE exam pass rates to determine how long you should be studying. Yet another factor is how long you’ve been out of school. We recommend engineers take the FE exam during their last year of undergrad or shortly after so that the skills they learn are fresh in their minds. The longer you’ve been out of school, the longer you may need to study for the FE exam.
What FE exam prep courses should I take?
We offer industry-leading FE exam prep courses to help you maximize your test prep and succeed on the FE exam. Our courses cover every topic on the exam and provide you with NCEES-approved materials. No matter your exam date, learning style, or availability, we have an FE exam prep course that will fit your needs.
To supplement your exam prep, we also offer free tools and resources for every type of engineer. Check out our FE Exam Resource Center for more information about the FE exam and earning PE licensure, download our exclusive free eBook on Preparing for the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam, and get answers to frequently asked questions about the FE exam straight from our experts.
We’re here to help you at every stage of your engineering career, so don’t wait - start your FE exam prep with PPI today!
What is an Engineer-In-Training (EIT) License and Certification?
The EIT License and Certification is a professional designation you receive after passing the NCEES FE exam (Fundamentals of Engineering exam) and completing a degree from an ABET-accredited school. “EIT” is an acronym that stands for Engineer-in-Training. This designation is often referred to as “EIT certification,” but it can be used interchangeably with “EIT license” or “EIT FE certification.”
The EIT certification authority is each individual state’s engineering board. While an EIT certification doesn’t give you license to practice as a PE (professional engineer), holding this certificate signifies that you have successfully completed the FE exam. This is the first exam you’ll need to pass in order to become a PE.
What's the difference between the EIT and EI designations?
There is no difference between the EIT and EI (Engineering Intern) designations regarding engineers’ level of expertise. NCEES recognizes both EIT and EI certifications. The two designations are used to describe engineers who have passed the FE exam but have not earned professional licensure. The nomenclature varies depending on your state.
Benefits of earning your EIT certification
Earning an EIT certification has multiple benefits for engineers.
An EIT certification showcases your industry knowledge. Passing the FE exam and earning an EIT certificate are huge milestones in your career and demonstrate your competence with fundamental engineering concepts that every graduate should know.
An EIT certification improves your job prospects. Having EIT certification on your resume can set you apart from other candidates when you apply for jobs. It shows employers that you are committed to learning and are working toward professional licensure.
An EIT certification advances your career. Getting an EIT certificate is one of the most important things you can do for your career in engineering. It demonstrates that you have mastered the fundamentals and are on the road to earning your PE license and a higher salary.
Is becoming an EIT worth it?
Becoming an EIT is worth it for most engineers, but it’s essential for those planning to take the NCEES PE exam (Principles and Practice of Engineering exam) and become fully licensed professional engineers. You are not eligible to take the PE Exam without first passing the FE exam and thereby earning EIT status. Furthermore, having EIT certification can be required for even some entry-level engineering positions. The certification can also help set you apart from other candidates in a competitive job market.
Does having an EIT license increase your salary?
Earning an EIT license or certification may increase your salary, depending on your employer and industry.
Civil engineers are required to pass the FE exam at the beginning of their careers. Most employers will not promote civil engineers until they have passed the FE exam and earned an EIT certificate, so if you’re eyeing a promotion with a higher salary, earning EIT status is crucial.
For other engineering disciplines such as mechanical, electrical, or chemical, passing the FE exam is not required prior to employment. In fact, some employers may value an EIT certificate more than others. However, earning an EIT certificate demonstrates your mastery of engineering fundamentals and your motivation to advance in your career, which may help you earn a promotion or higher salary.
Ultimately, passing the FE exam and earning EIT certification is necessary to become a licensed professional engineer. Once you’ve completed those steps and passed the PE exam, you will earn a higher salary as a fully licensed professional engineer. An increase in annual salary can be anywhere from $2,000 to more than $10,000 once you’ve achieved PE status.
How to Get an EIT Certification
Wondering how to get EIT certification? See below for the step-by-step process to register for the NCEES FE exam and receive EIT Certification.
Review state or local requirements. Requirements for EIT certification vary slightly depending on where you live. Be sure to check state or local requirements as you begin the process.
Register with NCEES. Visit the NCEES website to create a MyNCEES account and register for the FE exam. The FE exam is computer-based and can be taken anytime during the year at a Pearson VUE test center.
Study for the FE Exam. Most engineers take between 3-6 months to study for the FE exam. It is recommended that you take the exam during or just after your senior year so concepts are fresh in your mind.
Pass the FE Exam. FE exam results are available 7-10 days after you take the exam. You can review current FE exam pass rates on the NCEES website. If you fail the FE exam, you can retake the test in the following 3-month time window, up to three times per year. NCEES will also provide you with a diagnostic report letting you know which study areas to focus on for next time.
Apply to your state board for EIT Certification. Once you’ve passed the FE exam, contact your state board to officially receive EIT certification. You’ll have to submit an application and pay the required fee. Exact requirements will vary by state.
How long does it take to get my EIT certification?
How long it takes for you to get EIT certification depends on the amount of time it takes you to complete an ABET-accredited engineering program and pass the 6-hour FE exam. If you pass the FE exam shortly after graduating from college, the process will take just over four years. However, if you choose to delay taking the FE exam after completing your engineering degree, the process will take longer. It is highly recommended that you take the FE exam during or just after the last year in your degree program while concepts are fresh in your mind.
How to List EIT Certification on Your Resume
Earning EIT certification is a huge accomplishment that you’ll want to list on your resume, LinkedIn, email signature, and more. Here’s how to showcase your EIT certification on your resume:
Add EIT after your name in the header on your resume.
Example: John Smith, EIT
Create a “Certifications” section on your resume and list your EIT certification, including your certification number (if applicable), the state where you got your certification, and the date you received it.
Example: Engineer-In-Training certified #123456, New York, January 2022
List EIT on your job title.
Example: Civil Engineer-in-Training
How to Find EIT certification number
Looking for your EIT certification number? The first thing to note is that not all states issue an EIT certification number. This does not mean you have not obtained EIT status, just that your state does not issue a number along with the certification. States that do issue one may list the number somewhere on your EIT certificate. If you have misplaced your certificate, you can check your state engineering board’s website or call the phone number listed on their website to retrieve your EIT certification number.
What is the FE/EIT Exam?
The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam is sometimes referred to as the EIT exam, or Engineer-in-Training exam. Colloquially, the FE exam and EIT exam are used interchangeably. Officially, the exam is referred to as the NCEES FE Exam and the certification you receive after passing the exam is called EIT (or EI, depending on your state).
The FE exam is a 6-hour, 110-question exam. It is administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) year-round at Pearson VUE Testing Centers. The computer-based exam tests your understanding of fundamental engineering concepts and is offered in seven disciplines:
Preparing for the FE Exam
Taking the FE exam can be intimidating, but with proper preparation, you can set yourself up for success. The perfect place to begin is the FE Learning Hub, which offers full online practice exams, a study plan to keep you on track for your exam date, and more. You can also visit PPI’s FE Exam Resource Center for more information and insights from industry experts.
We know your time is valuable, so be sure to get the most out of your exam prep by following our six steps for successful NCEES FE exam prep. Preparing for the FE Exam is no small feat, but passing the exam elevates your career status and gets you one step closer to professional licensure.
What happens after I pass the FE exam?
Once you’ve passed the FE exam, you are officially considered either an Engineering Intern (EI) or an Engineer-in-Training (EIT). Congratulations! You may now be wondering what happens after you pass the NCEES FE Exam, including what your next steps should be. To receive an EIT certificate in the mail, you’ll need to send your transcript to the state board where you want certification. You’ll also want to gain work experience, network with colleagues, and study for the PE exam.
Now that you’ve passed the FE Exam and earned EIT certification, you’re well on your way to becoming a fully licensed professional engineer.
What Happens After You Pass the NCEES FE Exam?
If you have just passed your NCEES Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, congratulations! You’re now considered an Engineer in Training (EIT) or Engineering Intern (EI). While you’ll probably want to go celebrate, remember—there’s still work to be done before you’re a professional engineer.
Steps to Take after Passing the FE Exam
Whether taking the FE exam is behind you, or right around the corner, let’s discuss what happens after your pass the NCEES FE exam. Here are those steps, in brief:
Send your transcript to the state board where you want certification
You’ll receive your EIT certificate in the mail
Start studying for the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam
Network and make connections with other engineers
Gain engineering work experience
Do engineers need a PE license to practice?
While many have opted to pass on the opportunity to obtain a Professional Engineer 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 might 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.
How soon can I take the PE Exam after passing the FE Exam?
The simple answer is; it varies by state. For the most part, EITs can take the PE exam once they’ve successfully passed the FE and have acquired four years of approved engineering experience. We’ll explore gaining relative experience in the sections below. But, it’s worth noting that some states allow EITs to take the PE exam before accruing their four years of experience. The experience is still required, but it’s not a prerequisite for the exam in some states.
Preparing for the PE exam? Test your skills with a free sample quiz. Choose your discipline: PE Civil, PE Electrical, or PE Mechanical.
Engineering Work Experience
You see, even though you’ve passed that FE exam, which is 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).
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.
Building an Entry-Level Engineer Resume
Gaining the required engineering experience 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.
Here are some good sections to incorporate into your entry-level engineer resume:
Contact information: Your full name, phone number, email address, and links to your professional website or networking sites.
Objective statement: Share your skills, and goals to give employers more information on your background and qualifications.
Skills: Highlight your skills relevant to engineering - problem-solving, equipment/software knowledge, math skills, etc.
Education: List your engineering education, including the coursework, extracurricular activities, and the name of each school.
Experience: Remember to add volunteer work, internships, and work experience, including the duties and responsibilities of those positions.
Certifications: List your engineering certifications as well as the name of the certifying institution.
Searching for Engineering Jobs
Strategies for finding engineering job opportunities include:
Networking on job searching websites
Working with your school advisor
Searching on company websites in their “careers” section
Exploring engineering-focused forums or job search websites
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 - including Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn. You can also 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.
Even if you’re not sure about the specific job you want, the above strategies can help you discover your interests and narrow down your search. Maybe you’re interested in jobs with a specific title, or within a certain company, or an area of expertise within an industry.
As you learn more about your preferences and the entry-level engineering job market, it’s time to begin applying for those jobs. Explore ways to tailor your resume and cover letter to each of the positions individually. This may seem like an extra (read: unnecessary) step, but incorporating keywords from the job listing and company website into your resume and cover letter can help you stand out from the other applicants.
Preparing for, and Passing, the PE Exam
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.
Remember, the format and subject matter of 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.
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. Congratulations and best of luck in the next steps of your engineering career!
What to Bring to the NCEES FE Exam
Having a greater understanding of the NCEES FE exam will give better insight as to what you should bring on test day, and set proper expectations for what’s to come while taking the exam.
How Long is the NCEES FE Exam?
Knowing how long you’re going to be at the testing center will help you decide what you’ll need to bring. As a whole, you’ll be given six hours to answer 110 computer-based questions. The session begins with an eight-minute tutorial in which you’ll be instructed on what you can and cannot do before starting the FE exam, followed by a reading of the nondisclosure agreement (two minutes). During the exam, you’ll be given a 25-minute break where you can access your personal items in your locker, have a snack, or simply stretch your legs.
Bring Proper Identification to the NCEES FE Exam
When you arrive at the test center for your FE Exam, you will need to provide one of the following photo IDs:
ID issued by a government entity in the country in which you are testing
International travel passport in roman characters from your country of citizenship
U.S. military ID
Your ID must be current and contain a signature. This is typically a driver’s license or passport. A student ID card is not acceptable for admittance. The first and last name on the photo ID must match the name on your appointment confirmation letter.
Bring Your NCEES Appointment Confirmation Letter to the FE Exam
NCEES recommends that you bring a copy of your appointment confirmation letter in order to speed up the check-in process. In most cases, Pearson VUE will email this to you, or you can download it from your MyNCEES account 2–3 weeks prior to the exam date.
Is the NCEES FE Exam Open Book?
Because the exam is administered via computer, you are not permitted to bring any books to the testing center. However, you will be provided with the NCEES FE Reference Handbook to search through during the exam. The Reference Handbook is updated on a regular basis, so make sure you’re using the most up-to-date version when you’re preparing for the FE exam.
Materials the Pearson VUE Test-Center Will Provide
The NCEES-approved Pearson Vue Test Center can provide you with a few items to bring into the exam if needed. These items include:
A reusable booklet and marker
Do You Need to Bring Writing Materials to the NCEES FE Exam?
Writing materials will be provided to you by the NCEES. They will give you a laminated notebook with a marker to take notes or to use as scratch paper during your exam. Try out the marker before the exam begins to ensure it’s functioning properly. If you need more space to write in your notebook, do not spend time erasing what you’ve already written. Instead, raise your hand and the administrator will provide you with another notebook.
What Items Can I Bring into the NCEES FE Exam Room?
Separate from the items provided to you by the NCEES, below is a list of personal items you may bring to the FE exam room.
Your ID (same one used for admittance to the exam)
Key to your test center locker
One NCEES-approved calculator without a case
Anything included on the Comfort Aid List, including bandages, braces, casts, unwrapped cough drops, inhalers, eye drops, and more
Eyeglasses (without cases)
Light sweaters or jackets
The NCEES has guidelines for the kind of calculator you’re permitted to use during the FE exam. Those approved calculators include:
Casio FX-115 and FX-991
Hewlett Packard HP-33 and HP-35
Texas Instrument TI-30X and TI-36X
What Items Should You Leave in the Locker During the NCEES FE Exam?
Typically, the test center will have lockers where you can keep your personal items that aren’t permitted during the test. Since you’ll be there for a little more than six hours, it’s wise to bring snacks and refreshments so you can refuel during the 25-minute break.
Depending on your situation, any of the following items may prove useful but should be left in your test center locker or your car.
Contact lens wetting solution
Spare reading glasses
Loose shoes or slippers
Eyeglass repair kit, including a small screwdriver for fixing glasses (or removing batteries from your calculator)
You may wear a watch during the test if you’re able to turn off any beeping functions. Similarly, it’s important to silence your cell phone and any other electronic devices stored in the testing locker. For more information on rules and recommendations for your exam day, check out the Pearson VUE Professional Examination Rules PDF. As your NCEES FE exam date approaches, make sure you’re taking advantage of the many resources in the PPI FE Learning Hub.
Six Steps for Successful NCEES FE Exam Prep
Deciding to take the NCEES FE exam is a big step. Your time is valuable, so get the most out of your prep time with these six steps.
1. Purchase the NCEES FE Reference Handbook
2. Determine Which Knowledge Areas You Need More Help With
3. Make a Schedule Before You Start Reviewing
4. Work Through Everything
5. Be Thorough
6. Complete as Many Practice Problems as Possible
What to Expect on NCEES FE Exam Day
Want to know more about how your exam day will go? Understanding the structure of your NCEES FE exam, as well as the question formats you will see, is another way to prepare for exam day.
The Structure of the FE Exam
FE Exam Duration
Your FE Exam is Unique
About Alternative Item Types (AITs) on the FE Exam
- Select one correct answer from four given options.
If you are unsure of what the correct answer is, you should make an educated assumption. You will not be penalized for a wrong answer.
Multiple Choice (Check-All-That-Apply)
- Select all the correct choices from the list by clicking on each one.
- All of the correct answers (and only all of the correct answers) must be selected; there is no partial credit.
If you change your mind, click on a choice to de-select it.
Point-and-Click (Hot Spot, or Mark Location)
- Click on a single target, or hot spot icon, to place on the base image in the correct location or general area.
- If you change your mind, click again on your choice to unselect, or click on the new preferred answer.
- These questions may ask you to sort, rank, place, or label items. Confirm whether all items need to be chosen or moved, then be sure to sort, rank, place, or label each one.
- After you have decided the proper sorting, ranking, placing, or labeling, click and drag an object to the target spot.
- If you change your answer, you can move an object to a different open spot in the target area, or you can move it back to the starting area.
- Read the answer specification carefully; it should state the number of decimal places for your numeric answer.
- Compute your answer, then round if needed to the required number of decimal places (0-4, round down; 5-9, round up).
- Do not enter the units for your answer.
- Do not spell out a number, like “four”.
- If you change your mind, blank out the entire field before you enter another answer.
- May be multiple-choice, check-all-that-apply, hot spot, drag-and-place, or fill-in-the-blank.
- You are able to click on browser-like tabs on top of the computer screen to go back and forth between the case study scenario and resource documents provided.
About the NCEES FE Exam
We recommend taking the FE exam as soon as possible. That way you have ample time to gain relevant work experience if you decide to take your PE exam down the road.
How important is the FE exam?
If you are unsure if you will pursue your PE license later, taking the FE exam leaves the door open for you. Many past examinees are grateful that they took their FE exam as soon as possible even if they were initially unsure of the path their career would take in the future. Taking the FE exam only benefits you and your career.
What are the benefits of taking the FE exam?
There are many benefits of taking the FE exam, including better pay, more career opportunities, and showing potential employers that you have a high level of competency and drive. Passing your FE exam sets you apart from other engineering grads when applying for jobs or graduate programs. Taking the exam sets you up for future success and is a great place to start when thinking about your options after graduation.
Who administers the FE exam?
The exam is discipline-specific and split into two sessions, each with approximately 55 questions (totaling 110). Keep in mind during any simulated tests throughout your FE exam review that the scheduled six hours of exam time includes a nondisclosure agreement, tutorial (eight minutes), the exam (five hours and 20 minutes), a scheduled break (25 minutes), and a brief survey. The exam computer screens are 24 inches wide so there is enough room to display the exam questions and the NCEES Handbook side-by-side.
What is the required passing score for the FE exam?
FE exam scores are based on the total number of questions answered correctly, with no deductions made for questions answered incorrectly. Raw scores may be adjusted slightly, and the adjusted scores are then scaled. In the past, NCEES has rarely announced a minimum required passing score for the FE exam, ostensibly because the average score changed slightly with each administration of the exam. However, inside information reports that the raw percentage of questions that must be answered correctly was low—hovering around 50%.
What are the current FE exam pass rates?
- FE Chemical: 74%
- FE Civil: 73%
- FE Electrical and Computer: 73%
- FE Environmental: 79%
- FE Industrial: 70%
- FE Mechanical: 79%
FE Other Disciplines: 75%
What reference material can I bring to the FE exam?
The NCEES FE exam is a “limited-reference exam.” So keep in mind during exam preparation that nothing except what is supplied by NCEES may be used during the exam. NCEES provides its own searchable, electronic version of the NCEES Handbook for use during the exam. Computer screens are 24 inches wide so there is enough room to display the exam questions and the NCEES Handbook side-by-side.
Will the NCEES Handbook contain everything I need to reference during the exam?
For all practical purposes, the NCEES Handbook will have everything that you need to reference during the exam. For example, if the NCEES Handbook covers only rectangular concrete columns, you won’t be asked to design a round concrete column. If the NCEES Handbook covers only the Rankine earth pressure theory, you won’t be expected to know the Coulomb earth pressure theory. If you take your preparation seriously, the NCEES Handbook is pretty much a guarantee that you won’t waste any time learning subjects that are not on the FE exam.
Does the NCEES Handbook contain everything I need to study for the FE exam?
The NCEES Handbook was never intended to be something you study or learn from, so it is most definitely inadequate for that purpose. Background, preliminary and supporting material, explanations, extensions to the theory, and application rules are all missing from the NCEES Handbook. Many subtopics (e.g., contract law) listed in the exam specifications are not represented in the NCEES Handbook. To see everything you need to prepare for the FE exam, take a look at review options here.
What is the requirement for looking up values in tables during the FE exam?
For some questions, you might have to look up a value, but in those cases, you must use the value in the NCEES Handbook. For example, you might know that the modulus of elasticity of steel is approximately 29 106 psi for soft steel and approximately 30 106 psi for hard steel. If you needed the modulus of elasticity for an elongation calculation, you would find the official NCEES Handbook value is “29 Mpsi.” Unless the question is specifically determining whether you can read a table or figure, all relevant values needed to solve the question are often included in the question statement. NCEES does not want the consequences of using correct methods with ambiguous data.
What calculators am I permitted to use during the FE exam?
To prevent unauthorized transcription and distribution of the exam questions, calculators with communicating and text editing capabilities have been banned by NCEES. You may love the reverse Polish notation of your HP 48GX, but you’ll have to get used to one of the calculators NCEES has approved. If you start using one of these approved calculators at the beginning of your review, you should be familiar enough with it by the time of the exam. NCEES approved calculators are listed here.
What units are used on the FE exam?
While preparing for the FE Civil exam or any other discipline, you will need to learn the SI system if you are not already familiar with it. Contrary to engineering practice in the United States, the FE exam primarily uses SI units. Customary U.S. units are used for code-based structural topics, but for little else. The NCEES Handbook generally presents only dimensionally consistent equations. Although pound-based data is provided parallel to the SI data in most tables, many equations cannot use the pound-based data without including the gravitational constant.
Is the FE exam hard or tricky?
Commonly made mistakes are routinely incorporated into the available answer choices. Thus, the alternative answers (known as distractors) will seem logical to many examinees. For example, if you forget to convert the pipe diameter from millimeters to meters, you’ll find an answer option that is off by a factor of 1000. In order to avoid the complications of being too practical, the ideal or perfect case is often explicitly called for in the question statement (e.g., “Assume an ideal gas.”; “Disregard the effects of air friction.”; or “The steam expansion is isentropic.”). For all disciplines, you won’t have to draw on any experiential knowledge or make reasonable assumptions. If a motor efficiency is required, it will be given to you. You won’t have to assume a reasonable value.
When do I find out if I passed the FE exam?
The diagnostic report may help you figure out what to study before taking the exam again. If you don’t pass the exam, you may take it again. NCEES’s policy is that examinees may take the exam once per testing window, up to three times per 12-month period. However, you should check with your state board to see whether it imposes any restrictions on the number and frequency of retakes.
What if I need to reschedule my FE exam?
If you need to cancel or reschedule your FE exam appointment, you can do this through your MyNCEES account. Depending on the date that you cancel or reschedule the exam, you may be entitled to a refund.
Wondering where to start?
The Best Time, Tips, and Tools for Preparing for the NCEES FE Civil Exam
The Best Time To Take the FE Civil Exam
The Best Resources for the FE Civil Exam
Motivation to Take the FE Civil Exam
Wrapping It Up
Engineering Career Advice From TLC Engineering Solutions
Engineering Career Advice from TOTH & Associates
Engineering Career FAQs Answered by TOTH & Associates
Achieve Your Engineering Career Goals with the Time You Have Now
How to Prepare for Engineering Licensure Now
Gather your study materials.
Familiarize yourself with the study materials.
Once you have purchased your materials, it is time to start getting familiar with them. This includes tabbing and highlighting.
Put together a study plan.
Before you get too far in your quest to familiarize yourself with your materials, you could benefit from putting together a study plan.
Work through practice problems.
The most important portion of your study time will be the time you spend working through practice problems.
Take a practice exam.
After taking enough time to go through enough practice problems, there will be a need to evaluate your progress before the exam. You can evaluate yourself by taking a practice exam in a realistic environment and timeframe.
You Can Do This
—Josh Ogle, PE, SE
How to Get an Engineering Job
Step 1: Take the Fundamentals of Engineering FE Exam
Step 2: Network with Peers and Executives
Step 3: Join Professional Organizations
Step 4: Research Potential Employers
What Does a Civil Engineer Do?
Civil Engineering History
Civil Engineering Job Duties
- Analyzing survey reports, maps, drawings, blueprints, and aerial photography in order to plan projects efficiently
- Computing load and grade requirements, water flow rates, and materials’ stress factors for design specifications.
- Inspecting project sites and monitoring progress
- Estimating quantities and material costs (to determine project feasibility)
- Compiling public reports (bid proposals, environmental impact statements, and property descriptions)
- Testing soils and materials to determine their strength in different conditions for use in large projects
What Can You Do With a Mechanical Engineering Degree?
Mechanical Engineering Job Opportunities
What Does an Electrical Engineer Do?
Skills of Successful Electrical Engineers
- Communications systems: Engineers hone in on basic television, radio, and telephone technology, as well as the more complicated wireless and laser transmission technologies.
- Computers: Digital systems, microprocessors, and computer hardware design and manufacturing are highlighted.
- Integrated circuits and solid-state devices: Focus here is on new products for the gaming industry, home appliances, and navigation systems.
- Robotics: Concentration is on artificial intelligence, designing robotic arms, and ways to handle dangerous substances.
- Power systems: Attention is on designing power grids and maintaining generators, as well as making energy more efficient.
Is Electrical Engineering a Good Career for Me?
Electrical Engineering Job Outlook and Growth
Electrical Engineering Job Opportunities
- Operate computer systems
- Create electrical schematics
- Confer with technical personnel to prepare designs or operational plans
- Discuss designs or plans with clients
- Design electrical equipment or systems
Four Fast-Growing Environmental Engineering Jobs
Environmental Engineering Degree Jobs
What Does an Environmental Engineer Do?
Environmental Engineer Job Duties
Qualities of a Successful Environmental Engineer
- Good communication skills. Environmental engineers need to bring a team together, motivate them, and explain any issues coherently.
- Not afraid to get dirty. Many environmental engineers must be willing to get a little dirty when they confront situations and issues out in the field.
- Critical thinker. Common in most engineering jobs, critical thinking is the ability to articulate problems, identify C
- Collaborative. The best environmental engineers are open to hearing all sides of an issue in order to create the most effective, cost-efficient, and environmentally friendly solutions. They work with planners, hazardous waste technicians, and other engineers, as well as with specialists in law and business, to address environmental problems and environmental sustainability.
What Does an Engineer Do?
Maybe you’re on the fence about becoming a licensed engineer. Maybe you’re just looking for some career inspiration. Or perhaps you’re wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into now that you’ve acquired your engineering degree. Engineering provides candidates with a plethora of job possibilities and an opportunity to touch people’s lives in more ways than you may have previously imagined. So, what does an engineer do on a daily basis?
If you performed a simple Google search to discover what an engineer actually does, you’ll come up with a vague and easy-to-regurgitate response like this one: “Engineers apply the principles of science and mathematics to develop economical solutions to technical problems.” While that may be true, it does not even begin to scratch the surface of what engineers do, and we couldn’t possibly sum up every amazing engineering feat in one definition.
Popular Engineering Careers
What Do Mechanical Engineers Do?
What Does a Mechanical Engineer Do?
- Designing cost-effective equipment
- Testing and evaluating theoretical designs
- Solving complex manufacturing problems with suppliers and customers
- Developing, testing, and evaluating theoretical designs
- Ensuring reliable product production
- Managing projects
- Planning new production processes
- Dealing with issues such as cost, safety, and time constraints
What Does a Mechanical Engineer Work On?
- Automotive: car chassis, engines, transmissions, sensors
- Aerospace: airplanes, aircraft engines, control systems for airplanes and spacecraft
- Bio-technology: implants, prosthetic devices, fluidic systems for pharmaceutical industries
- Computers and electronics: disk drives, printers, cooling systems, semiconductor tools
- MEMS: sensors, actuators, micro-power generation
- Energy: gas turbines, wind turbines, solar energy, fuel cells
- Environmental: HVAC, air-conditioning, refrigeration, compressors
- Automation: robots
- Manufacturing: machining, machine tools, prototyping, microfabrication
Where Do Mechanical Engineers Work?
What Jobs are Available for Mechanical Engineers?
What Do Industrial Engineers Do?
Industrial Engineering Education Requirements
What Do Industrial Engineers Do?
- Scheduling and production. An industrial engineer reviews when production is slated, as well as the process flow. By being familiar with the manufacturing method, the industrial engineer can make informed suggestions on how to better utilize time and people assets.
- Cost containment. An industrial engineer with a financial background can develop management control systems that will streamline financial planning and cost analysis.
- Quality control. Production problems are costly. Not only do industrial engineers enact quality control measures, but they also design those systems to coordinate manufacturing activities and ensure products meet quality standards.
- Standardization. Sometimes, companies make or buy 20 different widgets for 20 different products when one universal widget could easily be created. An industrial engineer with deep knowledge of the manufacturing and design process can determine how to create standard parts that provide cost savings and assembly line efficiencies.
Five Famous Industrial Engineers in American History
5 Famous Industrial Engineers
When Should I Take the NCEES FE Exam?
Why Should I Take the Exam Now?
Five Reasons Why You Should Become a Civil Engineer
1. Industry Flexibility
2. Civil Engineering Job Stability
As the infrastructure of the United States and other developed countries continues to age, civil engineers are vital for managing projects to rebuild bridges, repair roads, upgrade levees and dams, and maintain airports and other buildings. State and local government work regarding water availability and quality will likely lead to future civil engineering projects concerned with making water use more efficient. For developing nations, civil engineers play a critical role in meeting demands for energy, transportation, waste disposal, earth moving, environmental cleanup, telecommunication, and infrastructure.
3. Civil Engineering Salary
4. Community Service
What is Civil Engineering?
A Day in the Life of a Civil Engineer
How to Study For—and Pass—the NCEES FE Exam
Why do I even have to take the FE exam?
Ok, I get it. Now how do I pass the FE exam?
Thinking about taking the FE exam? Download the Preparing for the FE Exam eBook.
Some Additional Tips
How to Prepare for FE Exam Day
For some people, taking exams can be stressful, no matter how well prepared they are. Taking steps to understand the exam process can help ease that stress. Here are some tips and suggestions for preparing for exam day.
A Few Days Before the FE Exam
As you are wrap up your FE exam review, consider familiarizing yourself with the exam center, visit the testing center building, parking areas, examination room, and restrooms.
Prepare two examination kits (See “What to Bring to the Exam”). The first kit includes items that can be left in your assigned locker (e.g., your admittance letter, photo ID, and extra calculator batteries). The second kit includes items that should be left in your car in case you need them (e.g., copy of your application, warm sweater, and extra snacks or beverages).
The Day Before the FE Exam
The Day of the FE Exam
During the Exam
Examinee Study Tips for the FE Other Disciplines Exam
A: I was unsure how I would handle the length of the exam (six hours) since I haven't really taken a long exam in years. However, once I was in the test room, time flew by because I was so focused on the exam.
Also, I was unable to study the final week leading up to the exam due to being very busy at work. I was a bit worried because I felt I still had some things to review and was a bit shaky on some subjects. However, looking back I am glad I was able to take a break from studying that week. I would have likely been very overwhelmed going into the exam had I tried to study on top of all of the extra work I was already doing that week. In the end, I didn't need that additional study time, and I was not mentally burnt out on exam day.
How to Use Your FE Review Manual with the NCEES Handbook
About the FE Review Manual Structure
- General section title
- Background and developmental content
- Equation name (or description) and equation number
- Equation with NCEES Handbook formatting
- Any relevant variations of the equation
- Any values typically associated with the equation
- Additional explanation and development
- Worked quantitative example using the NCEES Handbook equation
Important Engineering Skills for a Successful Career
Qualities of Successful Engineers
According to Monster.com, some of the most common qualities you’ll need to be a successful engineer include good communication, high interpersonal skills, enthusiasm, organization, and technical expertise. While these are helpful qualities to possess, let’s expand on this generic list a bit.
First and foremost, you need a mind that’s geared toward problem-solving. Part of being a good problem-solver includes the ability to remain objective, determine obstacles, identify opportunity, take action, and implement reverse engineering. Fantastic problem solvers also need to be able to delegate responsibility and push their (often large) egos aside.
Skills of Successful Engineers
- Math, science, IT skills
- Ability to explain design ideas and plans clearly
- Ability to analyze large amounts of data
- Project management skills
- Ability to work within budgets and deadlines
- Knowledge of relevant legal regulations
- Experience conducting experiments, designing systems, components, or processes that meet desired needs for economic, environmental, social, health and safety, and sustainability factors
- College math
- Computer structure and logic
- Knowledge of AC-DC electronics, networking, probability, physics, microprocessor systems, power systems, semiconductors, electro-optics, and linear control systems
- Ability to produce and interpret technical diagrams
- Understanding of electrical health and safety regulations
- IT (software, computer-aided design)
- Technology design technique skills
- Knowledge of blueprints and models
- Budgeting skills
- Ability to adapt to changing circumstances
- Ability to work under pressure and deadlines
- Science (some physics and chemistry), technology, and mathematics
- Production and processing
- Design techniques and tools
- Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software
- Math (arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications)
- Chemical composition and structure
- Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, computer hardware and software, design techniques, and tools
- Relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies
- Relevant laws and legal codes
- Practical application of engineering principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment
- Business and management skills
5 Entry-Level Engineering Jobs with Great Potential
Earning an engineering degree is hard work. The course load is focused and challenging, and it often takes more than four years in college to complete. It's a very structured undertaking, and students who complete the requirements are generally highly sought-after job candidates.
Entry-Level Engineering Jobs
Computer Software Engineer
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