PASS THE FE EXAM — In this post, I’d like to discuss five specific benefits of why ALL engineers should take and pass the FE Exam. However, before I do that, let me start by telling you what exactly the FE Exam is. The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam is designed for recent engineering graduates and students who are close to finishing an undergraduate engineering degree. The degree must be from an EAC/ABET (Engineering Accreditation Commission or Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accredited program. The FE exam is a computer-based exam administered year-round at NCEES-approved Pearson VUE test centers.
The FE exam includes 110-questions, and the exam appointment time is six hours long with about five hours and twenty minutes of that time being actual exam time. You can register for the exam through the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) website at NCEES.org.
So, why is it important to take this exam?
Firstly, the FE exam is the first step to getting your professional engineering license, and there are so many benefits to that including accelerating your career path, promotions, salary increases, more exciting job opportunities and projects to work on and more. However, let me stay focused here on the benefits of actually taking and passing the FE exam. Here are five reasons to take and pass the FE exam.
#1) The FE Credential Will Bolster Your Resume
Regardless of your GPA in engineering school (and mine wasn’t great), the FE credential, usually designated by EIT which stands for Engineer-In-Training, shows companies that you are dedicated to the profession and focused on getting licensed, and that license will be valuable to the company that you work for, making you more valuable to them.
#2) The FE Credential Shows That You Are Thinking Big Picture
Every engineering company wants as many licensed professionals on staff that they can get. Passing the FE exam assures companies that in about four years from now, you’ll be taking and hopefully passing the PE exam. And again, they want PEs on staff, and this will also help them to feel confident that you will stick around with their company for four years.
#3) The FE Credential Raises Your Salary Ceiling
Typically, when you achieve a career milestone like passing the PE exam, you get a raise. So, the sooner you take and pass the FE exam, the sooner you can get your PE license and make more money. Who doesn’t want to do that? This also can put you on a path to owning your own engineering consulting firm, another way to drastically increase your earning potential.
#4) The FE Credential Elevates Your Professional Expertise
All engineering companies want professionals with good ethical standards, current certifications, and of course professional expertise. Passing the FE exam shows companies that you are on the path to achieving all of these things.
#5) The FE Credential Gives You Flexibility
Engineers tell me all the time, that the PE license isn’t needed in their specific engineering discipline. My response to them is, “How do you know what you’re going to be doing in 5, 10 or 20 years from now?” What if you decide to change disciplines, or you go to work for a company that requires a professional engineering license to achieve a certain title or salary in that company? You should seek your FE credential NOW, while many of the concepts are fresh in your head. Even if you don’t ultimately seek the PE license, you are at least giving yourself career options and flexibility and that is invaluable.
I hope this post, and the video at the top, helped answer some of the questions you have about the FE Exam.
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Lastly, I encourage you to ask questions in the comments of the videos or here on this page and I’ll read and respond to them in future videos… so if there’s a specific topic you want me to cover or answer, we have you covered.
I’ll see you next week…
Anthony Fasano, P.E.
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success