I recently graduated in Electrical Engineering. I want to take and
pass the FE exam so that I can progress toward becoming a PE.
Where I went to school, they no longer require electrical engineering
majors to take some of the basic engineering classes such as statics,
dynamics, and thermodynamics. Will this hurt me on the FE exam? Is
there a good resource that I can use to learn enough in these areas to
pass the test?
Is there a website where can I go to find out more about the format of
the FE exam and possibly register for it?
Any help would be appreciated.
That means you will have NOTHING to do with power. So why do you need a
BTW: I just can't see how someone who doesn't "know" statics, dynamics, or
basic thermodynamics can call himself an "engineer."
Sounds like "computer science" to me. Nothing wrong with it. Knowing
some "real" engineering might help in some jobs but I don't see a situation
where a PE would be useful.
I think you are wasting your money on the test. You still have to take
another test when you get the 5 years experience. In 5 years if you want
the PE, get a study guide. You may find that the non-EE questions require
little more than common sense and high school physics and chemistry. If
they require more, brush up.
Some of the places I interviewed at want me to be able to put a PE
stamp on designs. These places mostly design communications systems.
Does a PE for electrical engineering only relate to power engineering?
I took the basic physics classes, but not the engineering classes;
they weren't required. ABET still accredited the program. My
coursework background is mostly in RF, optics, and remote sensing.
My thinking was that it couldn't hurt. It might make me more
marketable and I might pick up some valuable information in the
process. I would have liked to take more of the basic engineering
classes in school, but the course load was pretty heavy just to get
through the program and get a degree.
No. It doesn't apply to anything, in particular. The PE is most
important in Civil Engineering. The plans for large buildings are always
"sealed" and some, thus, things like HVAC and power distribution might also
have a "seal" requirement.
Utilities are usually exempt from "seal" requirements.
Obvioulsly, the PE can't hurt. BUT (unless something has changed) you need
FIVE years of work before you can apply for the PE. You can't do anything
after taking the EIT exam that you could not do before.
If you have a "real" degree and "real" experience then you can take the PE
exam in 5 years. If you don't get the "real" experience taking the EIT
exam will not make any difference (in theory.) If you get the "real"
experience, you can take the PE exam.
The best reason I can figure for taking the EIT exam is to just get used to
the questions. Were I you, I would take it "cold."
Well, double check my facts (that the future PE exam can be taken regardless
of what you take this year) and if I am correct (I gave up my PE about 6
years ago so I am out of touch) just take the exam "cold."
I take back my "wasting your money" comment. So long as the cost doesn't
make a serious dent in your budget and "failing" has no negative
consequences, such exams are often an education' in themselves. If you get
a question and the first thing that comes to mind is: "WTF are they talking
about?" then you have just learned about another part of the engineering
Doesn't sound like you went to an ABET accredited engineering school. You
need to check with your state's engineering board to see if they will accept
your education as equivalent, or if you can make up the deficiency with
added experience. Here are some state board links:
Browse around the NCEES site for general info on exams and licensing.
in article firstname.lastname@example.org, Greg Aagard at
email@example.com wrote on 6/17/04 8:00 AM:
It would be worth your while to read the Professional Engineering Act or
whatever equivalent applies in your state.
My understanding is that when public health or safety is involve, it is
required that engineering be blessed by a PE. This includes the PE not
extending his status into realms he is not qualified to handle even though
someone with the same title may be.
It may also be that the prospective employer wants to avoid liability by
hiring a PE to sign off on the engineering. If that is the case, it may pay
to see a lawyer first.
As I recall from LONG AGO, the EIT exam was multi-choice whereas the PE exam
I suppost the idea is to use th EIT to SCREEN applicants so that the graders
time isn't wasted on looking and the answers of folks really too stupid to
even be in the test room.
Obvious, if the EIT is "required" before the PE, you take the EIT. If
money is tight, he should delay taking the EIT for a time (unless those
states REQUIRE a significant wait, on the order of years, between passing
the EIT and the PE.)
MOST of what I used my my PE exam was stuff I knew when I graduated from
high school (and, of course, the mechanical sense that most engineers have
before they even think about applying for engineering school.) By the end
of my second year in college I knew almost all of it. The only "new" stuff
I brought to the table was on the "money side" of Industrial Engineering
where one was asked to evaluate the paybacks of invests and such. You can
teach such stuff to yourself by getting a "business" calculator and educate
yourself until you understand all the functions.
Of course, when I took the test, you could pick and choose what questions
one wanted to answer. I skilling some of the stuff on land surveying, for
example. The Chemical and Electrical stuff was dirt easy. The CE stuff
Maybe things have changed. I get my PE in 77 or 78 and gave it up around
'95. During the entire time I never "sealed" a single drawing or document.
Oh, if you USE your "seal" you definitely need professonal insurance
("errors and Omissions".) This protests you for everything short of fraud
or gross misconduct. Your employer's insurance may cover you.
Very few lawyers can give a useful opinion on this subject. You will
likely get better advice from an insurance agent as from all but the most
IF you hire a lawyer in connection with your liability as an engineer be
prepared to pay several $K just to "educate" your lawyer. He will bill it
is "legal research" but you PAY for his education. You might save a few $
if you hire a lawyer that has already been educated at the expense of
another engineer. So ask about.
in article firstname.lastname@example.org, Bob Peterson at
email@example.com wrote on 6/18/04 5:48 PM:
Maybe so. Butit may be the difference between criminal liability and civil
Not even. You might get into some unusual cases (such as a doctor
performing in an unlicensed way) but its highly unlikely anyone would allow
you to sign off on design work done that would require a PE stamp (like a
Yes and no.
If you seal a drawing you claim a certain level of professional experience
and ability. The "seal" implies that what is described by the drawing is
Without the "seal" it's just a drawing.
in article firstname.lastname@example.org, bob peterson at
email@example.com wrote on 6/19/04 1:21 PM:
That is where the corporate exemption comes in. You can screw a design
completely and still not be personally liable without a PE. Your employer
will be. I think that sufficiently egregious incompetence may lead to
More than that.
If someone hires an insexperienced and (legally speaking) unqualified)
person to ceate a design and then he builts it and someone gets hurt, the
inexperienced designer just isn't at fault.
Of course, anyone can sue anyone. But all the "new guy" has to say is that
he expected that a "real" engineer would follow up on his work and correct
Likewise, for example, liability insurance for a NURSE is a fraction of the
same coverage for a doctor.
You have completely misunderstood the so called "exemption". It does not
exist to shield anyone from liability. Generally, your employer (usually
their insurance carrier in fact) will defend you and pay the settlements,
but you personally would still likely be sued.
Any sufficiently stupid act regardless of PE or not might lead to criminal
action, but this is extremely rare.