Are your undergraduate studies preparing you for the FE exam?
Is your university preparing you to apply for entry-level engineering positions?If we assume that YOU (as an undergraduate engineering student) invest a significant amount of money (usually going into debt) to pursue an engineering degree expecting to receive some of these long term rewards:
- the necessary engineering knowledge to become an entry-level engineer (EIT).
- the necessary engineering knowledge to become a professional engineer (PE).
- the development of engineering problem solving that is likely to motivate you to take on a certain work-related/career path.
- the in-class training/social interactions/ group simulation required to solve engineering-related problems as a team.
- the personal habits needed to learn about and solve problems.
- the interpersonal skills needed to connect with fellow human beings (co-workers, the public, etc.)
1. the necessary engineering knowledge to become an entry-level engineerYou might ask why do I need the necessary engineering knowledge to become an entry-level engineer? Well, it depends on your personal goals. But for the most part, the majority of engineering graduates make it a goal to get an engineering job they want so bad. Many of these jobs will fall under the category as an “entry-level engineer”. And many of the jobs you will apply for will require an “EIT” certification showing that you have passed the NCEES FE exam.
Is your university preparing you for the FE exam?If we expect that our undergraduate studies will help us acquire the necessary engineering knowledge to become an entry-level engineer, what you learn as an undergraduate student should help you prepare to take and pass the FE exam. Most universities do not meet this expectation.
- Many universities do not push students to take their FE exam before they graduate even though the best time to take the FE exam is either the last year of your engineering degree or immediately after graduating. After years, the passing rate drops since the basic knowledge you learned while getting your engineering degree begins to fade (“you lose it if you don’t use it”).
- Many universities do not provide courses or prep material for the FE exam. The FE exam is a timed exam that’s 5 hours long with 110 questions. Many students are not trained to take such a long exam. Therefore, your studies should at least mentally prepare for an exam of this sort by providing an engineering curriculum designed with a goal of preparing students for the FE by providing test-taking strategies and tips and FE-type questions that reference the NCEES Reference Handbook 10.0.1. From a quick Google search, we only a few that actually do this!
- Many universities do not provide an incentive for a student to take and pass the FE exam. In fact, one university has the following statement on its website:
“The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam is the first step in the process leading to a Professional Engineering (PE) license. To prepare students for this goal, all biological, civil, environmental, and mechanical engineering majors are required to pass the FE exam to graduate with a bachelor’s degree.”
So based on this statement you are required to pass the FE exam to graduate but they do not provide prep lessons, courses, or at the very least provide an incentive to take the exam? Sounds shitty.
Those universities that do provide a monetary incentive for passing the FE exam as an undergraduate as listed below.