The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, part one of a two-part licensure exam, has undergone significant changes in the last few years. This paper provides a pedagogical discussion of the recent changes to the FE exam, presents data on FE passing rates over the last five years, and discusses ways engineering libraries can support their students as they prepare to take the FE exam in their senior year. Earning licensure as a Professional Engineer (PE) is often the culmination of an engineering student’s education and apprenticeship. But getting there can be difficult and sometimes confusing especially when the process changes. There are four requirements to becoming a PE: graduate from an ABET-accredited engineering program, pass the FE exam, work under a PE for three to four years, and pass the PE exam. Prior to 1996, all applicants took the same FE exam regardless of their engineering discipline. After 1996, the morning portion of the exam was the same for test takers but the afternoon exam was discipline specific. That changed again in 2014 and applicants now take the FE exam in one of seven disciplines: chemical, civil, electrical and computer, environmental, industrial and systems, mechanical, or other disciplines. Undergraduate engineering students may take the FE exam in their senior year. For many civil engineering seniors, passing the FE exam is a requirement for graduation and often a condition of employment. For other disciplines, the FE exam is optional but recommended for students interested in pursuing an engineering career where protection of public health and safety are of concern.
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