Planning on taking the FE Exam in Tennessee?
Great, this guide will give you all the ins and outs.
From eligibility requirements to finding the best FE Exam program to study with, we have you covered.
Let’s get into it.
Taking the FE Exam in Tennessee
It is the duty of the Tennessee Board of Engineering to safeguard life, health and property and to promote public welfare through the establishment of standards and regulation of the practice of engineering
Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 62, Chapter 2, establishes the registration requirements for engineers and describes the size and scope of projects for which a registrant is needed.
All individuals on the path to licensure as a Professional Engineer in the great state of Tennessee must pass two NCEES-administered examinations, which are:
- Fundamentals of Engineering Exam (FE Exam)
- Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam (PE Exam)
The FE Exam and PE Exam are standardized tests written and scored by the NCEES and adopted by the Tennessee Board of Engineering as a valid means of qualifying the competence of aspiring engineers.
The board oversees the practice of all licensed professional engineers to ensure that each individual maintains all state rules as they relate to professional conduct and standard of care.
What is the FE Exam?
Though there may be additional state-specific exams required, the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam (FE Exam) is one of two exams that an aspiring engineer will take in becoming a licensed Professional Engineer.
This standardized exam is administered and graded by the NCEES (National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying).
The exam itself is 5 hours and 20 minutes long with 110 questions spanning a wide range of foundational engineering concepts.
Each question is developed to confirm the level of competency of the individual in the fundamentals of engineering.
The FE Exam is a computer-based test (CBT) and closed book, though, each examinee is supplied with an NCEES reference handbook containing commonly used formulas and other useful information related to the material that is covered.
The FE Exam has 7 different exam specifications to choose from.
You may also hear the FE Exam referred to as the EIT Exam (Engineer In Training Exam) or the EI Exam (Engineering Intern Exam), all of which are the same exam.
You can learn more about the FE Exam here.
When can I take the FE exam?
The Tennessee Board of Engineering does not require that an individual submit an application to gain approval to take the FE Exam.
This is great news as it means that you are eligible today to take the FE.
However, after passing the FE, in order to qualify for an Engineer Intern (EI) certificate, the individual must provide evidence that they meet certain educational requirements.
So though this is a bit off in the future, it’s good to know now what will be expected.
Under the current Tennessee state law, the following educational background fulfills the requirements for obtaining your Engineer Intern certification:
- Senior standing in a 4-year (minimum) undergraduate engineering curriculum that has been accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
- A 4-year (minimum) undergraduate engineering degree that has been accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
- A 4-year (minimum) undergraduate engineering degree that has been determined to be substantially equivalent to an EAC/ABET-accredited degree.
If you are unsure of whether or not your program is ABET-accredited, you can perform a program search here:
If you do not hold a degree in engineering from an EAC/ABET accredited program, then you must show proof of an advanced degree in engineering that is deemed substantially equivalent to the EAC/ABET degree requirements.
The board defines substantial equivalency as follows:
- Substantial equivalency means comparable in program content and level of educational experience but not necessarily identical in format or method of delivery. It implies that the graduates of these programs possess the necessary competencies to begin professional engineering practice at the entry-level.
The Tennessee Board of Engineers does not define a specific evaluation company to use. However, the most widely used would be the NCEES Credentials Evaluations found here.
The board does state that an engineering technology program, whether four or two years in length, is not considered to be an acceptable curriculum.
These paths are unique to Tennessee and can be referenced under the current Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 62, Chapter 2 found here.
Can I take the FE exam without a degree?
Eligibility requirements are set state by state and typically have a series of eligibility scenarios that include both non-ABET accredited degrees and progressive engineering work experience.
But what if you don’t have a degree at all, can you take the FE Exam in Tennessee?
As it is currently spelled out within the Tennessee Board of Engineering code, you are not required to validate your educational background prior to taking the FE Exam.
So yes, you can take the FE Exam without a degree.
However, as discussed in the previous section, in order to qualify for an Engineering Intern certificate, or take the PE Exam, you will need to provide evidence of meeting certain educational and experience requirements.
With that being said, though you are able to take the FE, it does not appear that, as they are written currently, the Tennessee Board of Engineers provides a means to gain eligibility absent certain educational requirements for those seeking to become a Professional Engineer.
As these requirements are constantly evolving, you can reference the most current Laws and Rules under Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 62, Chapter 2 found here.
What months can you take the FE exam?
The FE Exam is offered to eligible students year-round in four different testing windows, they are:
- January – March
- April – June
- July – September
- October – December
You are allowed to take the FE Exam once per testing window, but not more than 3 times in a 12-month period starting from the date of your first attempt.
Can I take the FE exam online?
You can not.
The FE Exam will be administered at a local Pearson Vue testing center in your region.
Once you register and are approved by the NCEES to take the exam, you will receive an email giving you the next steps in scheduling your exam appointment.
Through this process, you will be given options for a number of testing centers as well as what dates and times are available at those locations.
You can reference a current list of locations approved by the Tennessee Board of Engineering to take the FE Exam here:
It’s important to schedule your exam as far in advance as possible for the best scheduling availability.
Each Pearson Vue testing center is limited in capacity, so seats are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.
Though it’s never ideal and highly unlikely that there are open seats, you are able to schedule an appointment with as little as one business day before taking the exam.
What is the passing score for the FE Exam?
Any individual who is about to take on a major goal in life is going to want to know where the goalpost of success lies.
I get it.
But if you find yourself floating around the interwebs trying to get some clarity on this question, then you are sure of one thing…
Confusion – and oh, a lot of wasted time.
When it comes down to knowing the passing score for the FE Exam in Tennessee, there is only one right answer and it’s this –
Definitely, a letdown I know, but knowing that this is as much clarity as you will get will allow you to move on to putting in time on something that can actually make an impact come exam day.
We dive deep into this question and add a bit more context around the whole scoring process in this post:
Knowing how the exam is going to be scored can be a huge advantage and give you confidence in the areas that you can control.
What is the FE Exam pass rate in Tennessee?
Tennessee does not release individual statistics for how many people in Tennessee 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.
How do I create an FE Exam schedule?
Getting your FE Exam study plan dialed in from the start is of the utmost importance in ensuring that you see this journey through.
But let’s be real.
We are on record for being horrible estimators of our time.
But it’s not any one of us individually, those big shot estimators who are supposedly “educated” in the realm of scheduling fall right there beside us in falling short.
Think about all those highly funded construction projects that go far past the scheduled finish date.
So with that, how can I best guide you in developing your study plan for your upcoming FE Exam in Tennessee?
We have spent a lot of time developing resources in the realm of FE Exam scheduling, here are a few to start with:
- Your FE Exam Study Schedule Sucks
- Here’s how to actually get started…with confidence – The 80/20 Abbreviated Study Plan
How many hours should I study for the FE Exam?
Determining how many hours a student should be putting in each day is one of the hardest things to do for a coach.
However, after over a decade of helping engineers just like you prepare for and pass the FE Exam, I can give you a general guideline as a starting point.
So whether you are taking the FE Exam in Tennessee or Alabama, start with this.
Over the years, we have seen students spend somewhere between 150-350 hours preparing for the FE Exam.
The lower end of this spectrum is typically those that are recent graduates or within a few years of graduation.
The upper end is typically those that graduated 20+ years ago and haven’t picked up a book in just as long.
Wherever the student feels they will fall, at Prepineer, we encourage them to spread this time over a period of at least 90 days – but prefer to see them give themselves closer to 110-120 days to be prepared.
This historically has played out to be much more realistic in the context of real-life, day-to-day responsibilities.
To help you go deeper in this area, we developed the ultimate guide in determining how long you should study for the FE Exam.
Down to what it all looks like from a daily, hourly effort.
You can access the guide here:
In running through this guide, you will have a much better understanding of what the landscape ahead looks like.
It will allow you to reveal many landmines upfront so you can put in measures to avoid them.
It will help you understand the real effort and reinforce your confidence that you are doing things right when you do inevitably hit those unforeseen obstacles.
It’s the best you can do when it comes to determining how many hours you should study for the FE Exam.
Where is the best place for FE Exam practice?
As you learn more about the FE Exam in Tennessee, 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 FE Exam in Tennessee.
Learn more about how Prepineer is the best way to study for the FE 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.
How much is the FE Exam in Tennessee?
Some state licensing boards require that examinees file a separate application and pay an additional application fee as part of their approval process in order to be qualified for taking the FE.
If you are taking the FE Exam in Tennessee, this is not required and you can register directly through the NCEES.
The current cost to take the FE Exam is $175 and can be paid directly to the NCEES at the time of registering.
The whole registration process can be started through your myNCEES account here.
What are the FE Exam Requirements?
To take the FE Exam in Tennessee, the only requirement that must be fulfilled is that you actually want to take the exam.
As mentioned, eligibility is not set uniformly across the board by the NCEES, but rather, by each state’s engineering board.
With this, the eligibility requirements to sit for the exam in Florida may differ from when one can sit for the exam in Georgia.
To take the FE Exam in Tennessee, eligibility doesn’t require that you validate any engineering educational background at all.
Once you do pass the exam, you will need to submit an application to receive your EIT Certification, and it’s at this point that your education will be verified.
The EAC/ABET accredited degree is the creme de la creme when it comes to fulfilling Tennessee’s educational requirements, but it’s not the only route.
As long as you are able to provide evidence that your engineering degree is substantially equivalent to one that is EAC/ABET accredited, then you will be good.
With all of this being stated, instead of sifting through all the current rules and laws, I suggest you give a call directly to the Tennessee Board of Engineering and they will give you the most direct route to understanding the next step for you.
Who should I contact if I have more questions about the FE Exam in Tennessee?
It has been said a number of times, but it’s worth mentioning again.
Eligibility requirements are constantly in flux, and what is mentioned in this resource may not answer all of your questions.
If this is the case, the Tennessee Board of Engineering can provide you with the latest details concerning the FE Exam in Tennessee.
They can be contacted at:
- Website: https://www.tn.gov/commerce/regboards/architects-engineers.html
- Contact: Michael Schulz
- Email: [email protected]
- Phone: (615) 741-3221
- Fax: (615) 532-9410
- Address: Department of Commerce and Insurance, 500 James Robertson Parkway, Nashville, Tennessee 37243
Final Thoughts on taking the FE Exam in Tennessee
I hope that this resource has brought you clarity on taking the FE Exam in Tennessee.
But I know, just as many answers I have given, there may have been just as many new questions in how you can get it done.
But passing the FE Exam shouldn’t be a mystery.
Sadly though, many will doubt that they can get it done, and in turn, give up on themselves and their careers.
I don’t want that to be you.
If I offered to show you a system that has worked for thousands in your same shoes pass the FE, would you take it? Click here to start your trial and learn the exact framework that will help you pass the FE Exam in Tennessee.