Should you take the FE Exam after gaining some real engineering experience OR should you take it while still in college? While every student is different, this is a very important decision. In this week’s Pass the FE Exam post, I interview Justin Edenbaum, a licensed Professional Engineer, once again to get his insights on how to decide exactly when to take the FE exam. Justin has been practicing successfully for a while now and he will share his perspective.
Firstly, let me remind you that the FE EXAM or fundamentals of engineering – is the first step to getting your professional engineering license, and through the videos on this channel, including this one, you will learn not only how to properly prepare for the exam, but how to ensure you PASS THE FE EXAM!
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Here are the Questions I ask Justin in this interview as well as his answers:
- Justin, can you briefly introduce yourself to our listeners and tell them what type of engineering discipline you are in, what do you do today?
My name is Justin Edenbaum. Four years ago, I started my own engineering firm called Never Gray. I am a Mechanical Engineer licensed in New York, Nevada, and the Province of Ontario, Canada. My firm specializes in tunnel ventilation and underground fire safety.
- In your experience, should one take the FE Exam after gaining some experience after college, or while still in college?
Take the FE exam in your senior year or immediately after your senior year of University, that’s the short answer (see more info below).
- How much easier do you think it is to take the FE Exam while still in college?
It is important because down the road as one heads towards specialization for gaining experience they tend to forget their chemistry or trigonometry. All these things as time goes on you forget them. You can relearn it if you don’t take the exam right after school. But the closer you are to being in school or just finishing school, the easier it will be to prepare yourself because you just did it and it’s on your brain and you actually used it. After a couple of years of experience, that experience starts to actually push out some of the basics that you are not using anymore.
- What are some of the other benefits of taking the FE Exam early on in your career?
You and your friends as a group should decide in your senior year and commit to studying and taking it together. So between the networking with friends and online tools that are available now, you can keep each other accountable.
- Now we’ve kind of been touting the FE Exam as something you must do in college, however, we do need to consider both sides, so let me ask you this question: What are some of the risks associated with taking the FE Exam while still in college?
It is important to take the October, November or December exam. I know people who have taken exams in October and they have passed and their level of preparation was much less than mine. I did it after two years of my graduation, I did not follow what I am saying then, so I had to pay for it. I was alone and did not have a network. It took more time than people who prepared for the October exam and passing rates are higher as well.
- Do you have any advice you can give our listeners out there that are in the process of studying for their FE Exam or planning on starting to study for it soon?
Take and pass the FE exam now many career options will be available for you later. Let’s say you started a career that does not require PE like computer science or programming. But eventually, you want to become a design engineer, your career and growth may be stunted because you don’t have a PE.
- Last question Justin – for our viewers that are still up in that air about the entire process of obtaining their PE license, what would you tell them based on your career as to whether or not to take the time to pursue their PE license?
Five years after graduating you may work for an employer who is requesting that you obtain your PE, for which you will have to first pass the FE exam. You don’t know what your future or career will take you right now. So keep all your options and opportunities available, especially those with minimal investment and taking the FE exam is a minimal investment coming out of college, but it is a much bigger investment taking it later on in your career. There is flexibility and a pedigree of prestige that comes with passing the FE exam.
You can find answers to all of these questions in the video at the top of the page.
We publish videos weekly on our Pass the FE Exam YouTube Channel. Be sure to visit our page here and click the subscribe button as you’ll get expert tips and tricks each week – to ensure your best success – that you can’t get anywhere else. Believe me, you won’t want to miss a single video.
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