FE Exam questions/preparation/advice

Discussion in 'Career Advising' started by LymanT, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. LymanT

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 25, 2014
    Hey guys,

    I been really considering trying to get my FE for awhile now. Although it's been close to 4 years since I graduated, I feel it will help me greatly in the future. However, I don't really know where to start. My degree is in B.S in EET. I have the outline for the Electrical and Computer CBT and it covers a great deal of material I've forgotten throughout the years, maybe even don't remember learning about. I know this is going to take some time(half to a year) to be fully prepared. I wanted to know how those of you that have your FE/PE prepared for the exam, how it has helped you in your field, and would you recommend pursuing the license? I have some technician experience but I want to one day be an EE. I eventually want to go back to school for Systems Engineering or something similar, but that won't be some time. Any advice and motivation would be greatly appreciated.

  2. WBahn


    Mar 31, 2012
    In most EE-related fields the FE/PE is irrelevant. There are some specific areas where that isn't true. Having said that, having more credentials in your kit is seldom a bad thing.

    I took the FE exam as a graduating senior and I think that is by far the best time to take it. It may have changed significantly since I took it (over a quarter century ago) so keep that in mind, but it covered a very broad range of topics (with the understanding that any given person was expected to be weak in several of the areas). So taking it when the bulk of your education in all of those other areas is still reasonably close at hand is a big help. But back then there was a single FE exam (it had just changed from being called the EIT exam) and now there are half a dozen or so specific categories, so that may not be as useful as it used to be.

    I didn't really study for it at all -- taking it wasn't something I needed to do and I had no real use in mind for it, so I didn't really care whether I passed or not. It's something that is big in the civil engineering and public works areas and that is something that my college was strongly tied to, so they strongly supported students taking it. I looked over the Reference Material that they had provided (and that would be available on exam day) to see if I understood most of what was in there. That, in and of itself, was a useful exercise even if I hadn't taken the exam at all. I found the test itself to be quite enjoyable and reasonable, but then I've always focused on learning fundamentals and it really was an exam that stressed engineering fundamentals, so it just happen to be a good fit for me. I remember that for number of people taking it with me it was their third or fourth time and the guy sitting next to me was taking it for the sixth time, IIRC, and, when I left, I glanced at his answer sheet and he wasn't even half way finished. So it can definitely be a big hurdle for some people.

    There are a lot of exam prep materials out there, so finding those should be easy. Check out the NCEES website as a starting point.
  3. hp1729

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 23, 2015
    FE? PE? SE? What is the difference" If you have an EE degree doesn't it cover these things?
  4. WBahn


    Mar 31, 2012
    If you work in certain fields, particularly in many fields related to public works, there are licensure and certification requirements in order to perform certain job duties. This is why it is a very big deal in the Civil Engineering community. For many of these positions, the entry is to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam and become registered as an Engineering Intern or Engineering Trainee. Then you normally work for so many years in documented roles gaining experience under the supervision of a licensed Professional Engineer before becoming eligible to sit for the exam itself. There are other ways to become a licensed PE, too, but they are a lot more cumbersome. In most states, you can't serve as an expert witness in court in any matter related to engineering unless you are a registered PE in that state. But for most EE positions in most fields, you can go your entire career and never knowingly interact with a PE. It all very much depends on the specific field you are in.
  5. ESSO

    New Member

    Feb 14, 2015
    Hi guys,

    Not trying to hijack Lyman post, but I have a related question about FE/PE. What do you guys think if you field is in Power( Generation, Transmission, Distribution or Power Electronics) Do you guys think, in this case will it be worth? or What about if your field is in Industrial/Commercial Electrical Design/Consult?

    thanks in advanced!
  6. WBahn


    Mar 31, 2012
    Do power generation, transmission, and distribution sound like fields that might involve public works projects?

    If so, then the FE/PE credentials are likely to be valuable, if not outright required, by many employers.