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The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam is the first step in the process of becoming a professional licensed engineer (P.E.). The FE exam is designed for recent graduates and students who are close to finishing an undergraduate engineering degree. I graduated in May 2018, but I have a lot of friends that are still in school and in their process to complete their undergraduate engineering degree. I am currently helping them search for job opportunities as they get closer to their graduation dates.
Students have asked me the following question and I want to post it here to see what other professionals think about it. Students have asked me if they should take the FE exam and pass it before they start applying for a job? I asked them why, and the response was that many companies are listing FE or Engineering-in-Training (E.I.T.) as desired or preferred in their applications.
Should students take priority in their FE exam before completing their degree and applying for a job?
Additionally, if you can share when did you take the FE exam? Before or during your first engineering job?
I graduated as a Civil Engineer outside the US and worked as a P.E. overseas for several years. When I came to the US in the early 90's I took my E.I.T in order to obtain my US license and I had to study at night because I was working and had a family. Back then it consisted in 120 problems covering all disciplines, to be solved in 8hs. Studying at night, so many years after college and having kids was somehow complicated.
I remember it was the first time that you could not bring books or manuals to the exam and instead they sent us a booklet in the mail with math formulas that was full of errors. As I studied for the exam I corrected the errors writing over my booklet, but when I arrived to the test location the proctors took all we had and handed us clean copies of the booklets with all the erros still in them!!!.A couple of months after I took and passed the exam, I received in the mail an envelope from the board with a new copy of the booklet including a yellow page of erratas.My son took his F.E. exam the same week he graduated as a BSCE and was hired as an engineer the following week. It was a consulting firm that had told him that if he showed up with the exam already passed, they would hire him right away. So I also recommend new graduates to take the exam as much in advance as possible.Good Luck.