Frequently Asked Questions
When am I eligible to take the FE Exam
Every week I am meeting with engineers around the world ready to get after taking the FE Exam in a pursuit of becoming a licensed Professional Engineer.
Some of these individuals are deep in to their careers, hitting the bureaucratic red tape that tends to reveal itself when one attempts to make moves in bettering their professional position.
Others are fresh out of school, applying for jobs all over the place and realizing that one of the glaring requirements is having an EIT or EI.
And every situation in between.
There has never been a time when passing the FE Exam has been more important in how the market values us as engineers.
Recently, a student came through with this question:
I came across your review videos and am ready to get it done – when can I take the exam?
We at Prepineer obviously believe that the sooner you can take the exam post-academia, the better – but the truth is, most of us don’t even become aware of the need until we are too far removed.
I am truly surprised when someone comes our way while in college, because their aren’t many who have it on their radar until it becomes an obvious need.
But that’s besides the point, let’s touch on the question at hand:
When am I eligible to take the FE Exam?
Eligibility requirements are not set uniformly across the board by the NCEES, but rather, by each engineering Board in their respective state.
With this, when one is eligible to sit for the exam in Tennessee may differ to when one can sit for the exam in California.
You can review your individual state’s eligibility requirements here, but please note, they often change so it is best to double check directly with your state board of engineer’s website to confirm the latest statutes.
In most cases, however, those who are at minimum in the final year of an ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accredited Engineering program (or graduated from) are eligible to take the exam.
But what if you don’t have an ABET accredited degree?
What if you don’t have a degree at all?
Or your degree is from a university outside the states?
Is there any way that you can still gain eligibility?
The short answer is YES!
Now the actual path to eligibility in these cases will be unique to the situation, which again, I will refer you to this page to hone in on the specifics of your particular state.
However, there are often multiple paths to eligibility for the FE Exam defined by each state.
The ABET accredited degree is the creme de la creme when it comes to gaining eligibility, but it’s not the only route.
Let’s take Alabama as an example, they have established a nice flowchart outlining the various paths to eligibility:
As you can see, everything starts from an ABET accredited degree and adds on from there.
If one has an unaccredited, TAC or unrelated science degree (plus an ABET MS in the latter scenarios), then an additional 2 years of progressive engineering experience would be required.
Jumping over to Texas as another example of how each state defines unique minimum eligibility requirements, section 133.65 [EXAMINATION ON THE FUNDAMENTALS OF ENGINEERING] in the TBPELS Acts and Rules states the following:
In Texas, all EAC/ABET, ETAC/ABET, engineering related and non-engineering related programs can lead one to eligibility, albeit, with those last two scenarios having some additional verification requirements attached.
Now how long are you eligible?
Some college programs require their students to take (not necessarily pass) the FE Exam prior to graduation, but ultimately, unless you are in a program that has this as a requirement, you are not obligated to take it the moment you are eligible – you are free take it as late as you desire.
Yes, in theory it may be an easier journey to get the exam done the closer you are to your undergrad studies due to the fact that the material being tested on is covered in the classes recently completed; however, taking the FE Exam while still in college, or once eligible, is not required to pass the exam.
In fact, at Prepineer, we have worked with individuals who had been out of college for 35+ years – or altogether, never received an engineering degree – yet, went on to pass the FE Exam and move on to becoming Professional Engineers.
No matter where you feel you are today, no matter how daunting the task may seem, you can do the same – I have worked with enough engineers to be confident in saying that.
We are here to help you do just that.
As always with Love, from Prepineer.