For those who are not aware, EIT (Engineer in Training) is a professional designation from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) used in the United States to designate a person certified by the state as having completed two requirements:
- Completed a minimum of three years of post-secondary school at an ABET-accredited engineering program, or related science curriculum approved by the Board.
- Passed the NCEES six hour Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Examination.
After completing and passing the FE exam, the state will award that person an engineer in training designation. The FE exam is now a computer-based exam that is administered year-round in testing windows at NCEES-approved Pearson VUE test centers. Below is a list of available testing windows. Registration for the FE exams is accessible 7 days per week, 24 hours per day. Prior to registration, an individual will have to create an account at ncees.org. NCEES policy allows examinees to take the FE exam once during any two-month testing window, and no more than three times in a twelve month period.
January – February
April – May
July – August
October – November
The FE exam contains 110 multiple-choice questions. The exam appointment time is 6 hours long, which includes a nondisclosure agreement, tutorial (8 minutes), the exam (5 hours and 20 minutes), a scheduled break (25 minutes), and a brief survey. Below is a list of the seven disciplines offered for the FE. Majority of the disciplines commonly focus on mathematics, statistics, ethics/professional practice and engineering sciences from basic dynamics (e.g., friction, force, mass, acceleration, momentum) to electricity, current and voltage laws. The bulk of the exam for each discipline will focus towards it’s own subjects based on current studies from Universities. Below is a brief description of what should be expected on the exam.
The chemical exam will strongly have material based on chemistry and chemical reaction engineering. Questions will be based on inorganic (e.g., molarity, acids, electrochemistry, etc.) and organic (e.g., nomenclature, reactions, basic biochemistry, etc.) chemistry. Mass transfer and separation is another big topic that will be on the exam covering molecular diffusion, convective mass transfer, and separation systems. These are questions a chemical engineer should be familiar with after graduation. Other topics one should be aware of are fluid mechanics/dynamics, thermodynamics, process control and economics which are subjects a chemical engineer might not have much experience with.
The civil exam has a wide range of engineering subjects from mechanics of materials to construction and surveying. As an civil engineer, in their senior year, should have good knowledge in fluid mechanics, dynamics, geotechnical engineering and transportation engineering which will be on the exam. These are subjects that should be fresh in your minds prior to graduation. Other subjects that will be on the exam that might need more attention are hydraulics and hydrologic systems which are not common in an civil engineer curriculum.
The electrical and computer exam has a mixture of subjects based on electrical engineering, computer engineering and a little of computer science. As an electrical engineer, one should focus on subjects not typically in a EE degree curriculum. Subjects like computer networks, computer systems and software development. As an computer engineer, one should focus on properties of electrical materials, power and control systems. This is an ideal plan for passing the FE electrical and computer exam. Other subjects one should be aware are circuit analysis (DC and AC steady state), linear systems, signal processing, electronics, electromagnetics and communications.
The environmental exam has a strong focus on environmental sciences/chemistry and water/wastewater. More questions will come from these two subject areas. It’s ideal to allow more study time for those subjects and subjects one will not be familiar with prior to graduation like risk assessment and fluid mechanics. Other subjects like air quality, solid and hazardous waste, and groundwater and soils should be fresh in mind during senior year in college.
All the exams have some questions about probability and statistics and engineering economics, but for the industrial exam majority of the questions come from these two subjects. Also, based on current curriculum from universities, manufacturing, human factors, ergonomics and safety, work design, quality and system engineering are subjects on the exam a senior in college should be comfortable with. Other subjects that might be a little challenging to grasp are modeling and computations, industrial management, production and service systems, facilities and logistics. These are the subjects not typically practice during college.
The mechanical FE subjects are all what you will see in a standard ME curriculum except electricity and magnetism which only have 3-5 questions in that section. The bulk of the exam will focus on thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, mechanical design and analysis, and dynamics, kinematics, and vibrations. Its ideal to focus more time on subjects with more questions whether or not you’re confident in that subject.
The Other Disciplines exam is different than the other exam in that it doesn’t focus on one general area. This exam has a little bit of every subject crammed in one. More of the questions will come from Mathematics and Advanced Engineering Mathematics. Anything from differential equations to numerical methods. Other main sections of the exam are heat, mass, and energy transfer, fluid mechanics and dynamics of liquid, strength of materials and statics.
An exam fee of $225 is payable directly to NCEES during the registration process. Some licensing boards may require examinees to file a separate application and pay an application fee as part of their approval process in order to be qualified for seating for an NCEES exam. You will be notified during the registration process if the licensing board you selected has additional requirements.
Taking the FE exam is highly encouraged for all students in the field of engineering. Typically juniors or seniors in college take the exam prior to graduation. This exam should be taken either during college or a year or two after graduation. The longer you wait to take the exam the harder it will be to pass. Taking and passing the exam will separate you from others during job hunting. For those who wish in the future to do engineering consulting work, passing the FE is a step needed to achieve the ability to do so; next step is taking and passing the PE exam.