A typical answer sheet for a multiple choice test such as the FE exam.
Anyone wishing to become licensed as a Professional Engineer (PE) in the United States must take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam as one of the first steps in the licensing process. Registering for the FE exam is more complicated than simply signing up to take a test; Registration requirements vary by state, but there are certain minimum qualifications that anyone taking the exam must meet, such as studying or graduating from a properly accredited university. Most students are required to submit an application to the state licensing board for approval to register, but some states waive this requirement. The registration itself takes place online through the website of the National Council of Examiners of Engineering and Surveying.
The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam is normally administered during the final year of a student’s undergraduate study.
The qualification process for FE exam registration begins long before anyone can actually take it. To become a licensed professional engineer, a person generally must earn a degree from an engineering program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Engineering and Technology (ABET). The first step to qualifying for the FE exam, therefore, is to apply to an ABET-accredited bachelor’s degree program. A person can take the FE exam after successfully completing about three years in such a program.
Some non-engineering degrees may qualify someone to register for the FE exam as well. A four-year degree in engineering technology from an ABET-accredited program or an engineering or science degree that meets certain minimum requirements will normally qualify. Any degree that qualifies a person to take the FE exam must have a minimum amount of course work in mathematics and engineering sciences, such as mechanical and electrical engineering courses.
The FE exam is usually taken during the last year of a student’s undergraduate study, although it can also be taken by graduate students and people who already hold an engineering degree. Many states require students to be within two semesters of graduating with a bachelor’s degree to take the exam. The applicant must submit an application form to the state licensing board in most states. A person can apply for the FE exam only after receiving approval from its board. Some states do not require an application for FE exam registration as long as the candidate is an enrolled student or already holds a qualifying diploma.
Registration for the FE exam is done online through the website of the National Council of Examiners of Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), which also develops the exam. Once the person is granted permission to register or meets the minimum requirements, they can go to the NCEES website and complete the registration process and pay the exam fee. The FE exam is administered in April and October each year. Application deadlines are mid-February for the April exam and mid-July for the October exam. In states where candidates must apply to take the exam, the application deadline is usually about a month before the application deadline.