The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam is typically the first step in the process leading to PE licensure. It is designed for recent graduates and students who are close to finishing an undergraduate engineering degree. The FE is a computer-based exam that is administered year-round in testing windows at NCEES-approved Pearson VUE test centers. 

The 6-hour FE exam, administered year-round at NCEES-approved Pearson VUE testing centers, includes:
  • 2-minute Non-disclosure agreement
  • 8-minute Tutorial
  • 5 hour and 20 minute computer-based exam with 110 questions
  • 25-minute scheduled break
  • Candidates must be present for the entire 6 hours


FE Reference Handbook
The FE Reference Handbook is available for free download by registering or logging into MyNCEES. Examinees are urged to familiarize themselves with this resource prior to taking the computer-based exam. A searchable, electronic copy of the handbook will be displayed on the monitor during the exam.

How to Prepare for the FE Exam:

  • Review the FE exam specifications, fees, and requirements. An FE preparation class may be offered in your area. Free practice exams are available at
  • The NCEES FE Reference Handbook is the only resource that can be used during the exam. This will be provided electronically on a second screen in the exam room. For access prior to the exam, a hard copy may be purchased or a free electronic copy (.pdf) can be downloaded at The handbook is searchable. 
  • Understand the scoring and reporting; it’s different from university grades.


Next Steps after passing the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam
  • After taking and passing the FE exam you become an “Engineer in Training” (EIT).
  • Check your state requirements for what work experience under the supervision of a PE is needed before qualifying to take the PE exam and what supervision is required (under a licensed PE or not). Some states count intern time; some do not.
  • Qualified experience required by your State Board or jurisdiction, often under the supervision of a PE, ranges from 2 to 6 years.  Time in a graduate or internship program may count but then may affect comity (license transfer) with other jurisdictions. Look at requirements in any and all states where you might practice in the near future.