The EIT Exam.
If you are in the world of engineering, then you are likely to hear this term thrown around quite often.
What is it?
Where did it come from?
Why is it important?
In this resource, we get into the most crucial elements revolving around the EIT Exam so you are sure you aren’t missing the bus on what it can do for you and your career.
What is the EIT Exam?
So let’s start here, what is the EIT Exam?
The EIT Exam is the first of two exams that any aspiring engineer will take as they pursue becoming a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) in their state.
Also referred to as the FE Exam, this exam tests the individual’s understanding of the fundamentals of engineering, ranging from the most basics of Mathematics and economics to the more practicable applications such as Statics and Fluid Mechanics.
The EIT Exam is developed by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) and uniformly administered throughout all states (and a number of locations outside the US).
The exam is computer based and offered year-round in four different testing windows, which are:
- January – March
- April – June
- July – September
- October – December
Though it wouldn’t be ideal, one is allowed to take the EIT Exam once per testing window, but not more than 3 times in a 12-month period from the date of the first attempt.
Why the EIT Exam?
The roots of the EIT Exam trace back to 1907 when Wyoming passed laws regulating the practice of engineering within the state.
The concept quickly spread, and by 1920, 10 additional states had similar laws in place.
It was at this point that 7 of the 10 states formed the Council of State Boards of Engineering Examiners (CSBEE).
Together, the states would continue to build, enforce, and refine laws through national meetings where they would convene to discuss common interests and concerns.
These meetings evolved and reinforced regulations over time and eventually molded the first licensing test in 1965.
This licensing exam is the one we have all come to love and know as the EIT Exam (Engineer in Training Exam), more formally referred to as the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam (FE Exam).
Today, CSBEE is now the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) and continues to administer the EIT exam.
As stated in their vision, the NCEES has a goal of providing:
[L]eadership in professional licensure of engineers and surveyors through excellence in uniform laws, licensing standards, and professional ethics for the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare and to shape the future of professional licensure.
Engineers collectively share this vision in hopes of providing quality, safe, and efficient products and services to the general public.
So why the EIT Exam?
Because it’s an important element in ensuring that those involved in engineering are qualified and able to maintain high standards throughout their practice of engineering, and ultimately, protect the public and enhance commerce.
Professional Engineers affect your life in ways you probably don’t even realize.
They are responsible for making some of the most mind-bending conceptual designs become reality around the world!
From Tesla to Nasa, power grids to bridges, planes to ships…Professional Engineers are at work every day solving the world’s most challenging problems.
And that’s why a well thought out licensing process is needed, which includes the EIT Exam.
What are the benefits of EIT?
The EIT Exam (Engineer in Training exam) and certification is the first step in the process of becoming a licensed Professional Engineer (PE).
As a licensed PE, you become part of a group of Engineers granted a number of exclusive service opportunities.
As a recognized licensed leader in the industry, you will gain the benefits of:
- Stamping and sealing Engineering drawings
- Owning your own Engineering Firm with your name associated with it
- Performing individual consulting services to the public
- Increased asset value leading to salaries far greater than the average
Though passing the EIT Exam is not the final step in the licensing process, it is a major milestone that allows you to apply for your EIT Certification and become an EIT (or EI).
As an Engineer Intern, you are fast on your way to realizing the full scope of what is means to be a true Engineer.
Still on the fence on whether or not you should take the EIT Exam?
Here are few reasons why you should get it done now:
- Above all, you are reinforcing the importance of laws, standards, and ethics which expands to protect the general public
- You become more marketable across the Engineering industry, opening up new opportunities and/or solidifying your current value/role to your employer.
- The road preparing for the Engineer in Training exam gets tougher by the day the further you go post-college.
- States are going to continue ramping up the Continuing education requirements for Professional Engineers
What is EIT qualification?
Often times people are dropping by asking about EIT Qualification.
Though there is nothing formally referred to as “EIT Qualification”, most times they are referencing what is known as EIT Certification.
We lightly mentioned this in the previous section, but to expand a bit further, the EIT Certification (Engineer In Training Certification) is simply a document.
This document, either physical or electronic, provides a formal means of validating that you have successfully shown competent knowledge of the fundamentals of engineering.
The EIT certification and its associated number are issued by each individual’s state engineering board after passing the EIT Exam.
More information about the ins and outs of the EIT Certification can be found here:
How hard is the EIT Exam?
One of the first thoughts that comes to most people’s minds when they first hear of the EIT Exam is how hard it is going to be.
As we tell all those who ask this question, we would be blowing smoke if we claimed that we could objectively answer this for you.
The difficulty of the EIT Exam differs for everyone based on so many uniquely personal factors.
Some (but not all) of these factors include:
- How long you hace been out of school
- What degree you hold
- What your current responsibilities are (family, work, etc)
- Whether or not you have taken the exam before
- When you want to take the exam
- How much time you have for studying
- How you typically perform on timed exams
So how hard is the EIT Exam going to be for you?
I couldn’t tell you.
But what I can tell you is this.
We have helped individuals who had failed the exam 5-6+ prepare for and pass this exam.
We have helped individuals pass the exam who had tried and failed so many times that they literally dropped out of the industry.
We have helped individuals pass who had been out of college for over 35+ years.
You can read more of these Prepineer success stories here.
But the point isn’t to applaud our program, it’s to illustrate that it doesn’t matter how “hard” you think it’s going to be, it’s how committed you are in getting it done.
We have seen it time and time again, that’s it’s not a matter of knowledge, it’s a matter of will – that’s what will ultimately get you past the EIT Exam.
So with all that being said, let me lay out some general statistics.
There is not one state that releases individual statistics for how many individuals are passing or failing the FE Exam in any given period of time.
However, the NCEES keeps a tally of these statistics for a single testing period for the population as a whole.
Currently, the FE Exam pass rate ranges from 35% to 83% depending on the exam discipline taken.
This is a huge range, and honestly, can’t really be relied on for a number of reasons.
These statistics account only for:
- Those who took the FE exam for the first time.
- Those who attended an EAC/ABET-accredited engineering program.
- Those who took the FE exam within 12 months of graduation.
I can tell you this much –
Of 100 students that come into our program at Prepineer, 95% fall outside one (or more) of these criteria.
The moral of the story, these stats reflect a population of individuals who meet the ideal testing characteristics of a candidate, not the mean characteristics as a whole.
Use them with a grain of salt.
So just know, again, that this exam is designed to ensure that those involved in engineering are qualified and able to maintain high standards as practicing engineers.
It has to be challenging, just like our weed-out classes in college.
But knowing that, and expecting that, should give you a leg up when hitting the obstacles that you are sure to hit along the way.
Those that persevere can, and will, conquer the EIT Exam.
It doesn’t matter how hard it will be.
Does passing the FE exam make you an EIT?
In some states it’s automatic, while in others there is an application process.
But yes, as mentioned in a previous section, once you pass the FE Exam you will become eligible to apply for your EIT Certification and become an EIT (or EI depending on the state you live).
What is the difference between EIT and FE exam?
This is a great question.
As we have been using these terms interchangeably throughout this resource, it’s important to know that the EIT Exam and the FE Exam are exactly the same.
The NCEES refers to it as the FE Exam (Fundamentals of Engineering Exam) while some states refer to it as the EIT Exam (Engineer in Training Exam).
At the end of the day, whether you live in a state that calls it the EIT Exam or the FE Exam, you can be confident in knowing that it’s only a single exam that must be taken in route to becoming a licensed professional engineer.
Does EIT expire?
It most states, no.
However, there are some states that do have laws that currently put a cap on the amount of time you can hold the EIT before moving on and taking the PE Exam.
As state by state regulations are often evolving, it’s important that you view the most up to date regulations for your state here:
When can I take the EIT Exam?
Although eligibility requirements are unique to each state’s engineering board, generally speaking, if you are either graduated from, or in your final year of an ABET-accredited engineering program, then you should be good to get at it.
If you are unsure of whether or not your program is ABET-accredited, you can do a quick search here:
If your degree is not ABET-accredited, don’t worry, remember, eligibility requirements are set state by state and typically have a series of eligibility scenarios that include combining both non-ABET accredited degrees with progressive engineering work experience.
You can get more details about your particular state’s eligibility requirements here:
How do I prepare for the EIT Exam?
As you learn more about the EIT Exam in your state, you will realize just how much needs to get done and how important preparing for it the right way is.
I am confident in saying that you can get this done…
But truth is, most won’t pursue the FE Exam because they will tell themselves that they can’t, for one reason or another.
At Prepineer, we have put together a proven system of coaching and curriculum that has helped even the most challenged individuals pass the EIT Exam.
Learn more about how Prepineer is the best way to prepare for the EIT Exam and get started for free.
In Prepineer you will:
- Get a real coach who knows how to get you to the finish line, despite how impossible you may think it is.
- A custom study plan that breaks down exactly where you should be spending your efforts.
- Proven curriculum that has helped even the most challenged find success.
Use Prepineer for 7 days free, with no obligations.
Should I take the EIT exam?
I will save the oration for another time, but here are my general thoughts.
You spent at minimum 4 years (probably more) getting that degree of yours, why surf the world of cubicles until you retire.
Many people do, and if that’s your choice, I respect that.
But many of you don’t want this to be your story, you just feel stuck.
- Stuck behind doubt.
- Stuck behind excuses.
- Stuck behind fear of failing.
- Stuck behind supervisors you feel are holding you down
Whatever it is that is holding you back, just know that all it takes is one simple step in a direction you deep down want to go that can change it all.
One simple step.
And then another.
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
You didn’t get your Engineering degree in a week.
It took commitment to get where you are, and that’s what it will take to make this a reality in your life.
- Commitment to turn from limiting beliefs.
- Commitment to telling yourself you are more than just an employee.
- Commitment to accepting that progress in life will be uncomfortable.
It was never meant to be easy.
Becoming a Professional Engineer is hard…but it is what all engineers should be aiming for.
It’s liberating both personally and professionally.
The doors it will open can’t even be projected.
Engineers that were once thinking the same thoughts you are took that first step and are now making amazing impacts around the world every single day.
But it all starts with passing the EIT Exam and becoming an Engineer in Training.
Don’t let the fact that you have been out of school for years or have already attempted and failed hold you back.
That means nothing.
We’ve seen it play out time after time, students who have come into Prepineer with these doubts but were able to defy their own odds and go on to pass the exam with flying colors.
This can be your story.
I am confident in saying that.