What are the Benefits of Passing the FE exam?

Are you about to complete your undergraduate engineering degree and contemplating becoming a professional licensed engineer (P.E.)? We’ll help you make your decision by diving into the benefits of passing the FE exam and obtaining the EIT certification which is the first step toward a P.E. license.

The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) electrical exam is a computer-based testing examination designed to test your undergraduate engineering competency. It contains 110 questions and you are given a total exam time of 5 hours and 20 minutes which roughly translates into less than 3 minutes per question. As mentioned on the NCEES® website, “this exam is primarily designed for recent graduates and students who are close to finishing an undergraduate engineering degree..” This doesn’t mean that it is not for you if you’ve been out of school for a while but it does mean that the sooner you take this exam the easier it will be for you. There’s no doubt that it is a challenging exam and it only gets tougher the more you delay it. That’s because you start forgetting concepts that you learned in your undergraduate engineering coursework.

In order to motivate you, we have come up with 6 convincing reasons that will help you appreciate the value and benefits of passing the FE exam. From widening career opportunities to higher salary prospects, the FE exam can truly open up great opportunities for you.

Benefits of Passing the FE Exam & Getting the EIT Certificate

Benefits of Passing the FE Exam

Generally speaking, passing the FE exam is the first milestone in your journey that will enable you to become a professional engineer down the road. There are many benefits of passing the FE exam. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that it can help you land a high-paying job in your chosen field. Many engineering employers clearly indicate the FE exam as a key requirement in their job postings. Even if your potential employer doesn’t require you to pass the exam, it can still give you a leg up on the competition.

Professional Engineers can sign and seal public engineering documents. They also have a better chance at management positions as compared to their unlicensed peers. Professional engineers are approved by their local engineering board as having met the minimum competency requirements deemed necessary for public safety. They work in a variety of fields, including construction, manufacturing, automotive engineering, aerospace engineering, utilities, etc.

Here are 6 key benefits that might encourage you to consider the FE exam.

1. More Career Opportunities

Passing the FE exam opens up a whole new world of career opportunities. After passing the FE exam, you can apply for an EIT certificate with the local state board. This certificate indicates to your current and prospective employers that you are on your path to becoming a PE very soon.

If you are already employed, you may qualify for a promotion and also get a chance to work on more exciting projects. If you are looking for work then passing the FE exam and having an EIT certificate can help you get your foot in the door of your dream employer.

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2. Increased Chances of Being Hired

There’s no doubt that having a professional engineering license can give your career a boost. But did you know that simply passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam can also make you more attractive to potential employers?

In today’s job market, any boost you can give yourself is important. If you’re still in college or just starting your job search, taking and passing the FE exam is a great way to make yourself stand out from the crowd.

Considering the fact that the FE examination is not a graduation requirement at most universities and is considered an ‘add-on’ by most graduates, having an EIT certificate will definitely give you an edge over other candidates that are not even thinking about this examination. Moreover, simply passing the FE exam will open up a larger pool of job vacancies for you. As mentioned earlier, several job postings clearly indicate a preference for candidates that have passed the FE exam and hold an EIT certificate.

3. Higher Salary

One of the best ways to improve your employment prospects and earning potential is to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. This exam is the first step in becoming a licensed professional engineer (PE). With a PE license, you can transition into higher-paying managerial roles or you can even open up your own personal consultation practice and increase your income streams.

The median salary for an engineer with a professional license is $99,000 per year, while the median salary for an engineer without a professional license is $94,000 per year. In other words, being licensed can raise your salary ceiling by $5,000 per year.

In general, after passing your PE exam, which has a prerequisite to the FE exam, you will receive an immediate promotion and salary bump of around $2,000 – $5,000 per year as well as the ability to occupy new roles such as a team manager or project engineer which definitely pay more as well.

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4. Recognition and Status

Licensed professionals definitely exhibit a higher level of competency in organizations. They exhibit higher ethical standards and a good acumen where they appear more concerned with the current certifications and professional norms. Even though you will not become a PE after just passing the FE exam, you will still stand out from most of the competition for promotions and salary increases because they probably won’t have their EIT certificates.

5. Raise your Profile within your Company and Outside

It is important to recognize that everyone has two profiles.

1 – Internal Profile: This is the profile that you have within the company. Your profile within the company is helped by the projects that you work on, your reputation, connections, seniority, etc. The internal profile must be developed in order to grow within the company, get promotions, salary raises, etc.

2 – External Profile: This is the profile outside the company. Your profile outside the company is helped by the hard skills that you can demonstrate via skills and expertise and the credentials such as PE, EIT certificate, graduate degrees, etc. that go with you.

Passing the FE exam helps your internal as well as external profile. It gives your internal and external profiles a lift. In order to qualify for licensure, you’ll need to first pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. Whether your GPA was stellar or not, the FE credential definitely adds to your resume as it shows that as an EIT, you have the focus and vision that is needed to dedicate yourself to your career growth trajectory. 

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6. Gain the Confidence to Take on Bigger Challenges

It’s a proven fact that the more challenges we accomplish the more confident we become in our abilities. FE exam is a challenging undertaking because it tests you on all areas of your 4-year undergraduate engineering coursework.

Moreover, it is a fast-paced exam in which you only get roughly 3 minutes per question. Combine the breadth of the exam with the time constraints and you find yourself facing an intimidating exam. That’s one of the main reasons why so many other engineers are procrastinating and not diving into the FE exam. But if you want to separate yourself from the crowd and demonstrate your dedication to career growth then the FE exam is probably the best way to do so.

As an added bonus, once you pass this exam you will gain the confidence and momentum that can help you jump right into the PE exam because you can ride the wave of self-belief!

If you are looking to advance your career as a professional electrical engineer, it’s worthwhile exploring this FE Electrical Exam Prep resource.

Passing the FE electrical exam is a key step in your engineering career, as it is the first step towards becoming a licensed professional engineer, and it opens the doors towards higher-level job opportunities.

The Long-Term Value of the FE Exam 

Passing the FE Exam is significant, but its benefits extend beyond the initial test date. The FE Exam is a stepping stone towards a rewarding and lucrative engineering career. Let’s explore the long-term implications of passing the FE Exam and how it paves the way for professional growth and increased earning potential.

The Gateway to PE Licensure

The FE Exam is the first hurdle to becoming a licensed Professional Engineer (PE). A PE license is a credential recognized across most jurisdictions and signifies your competency to practice engineering independently. This licensure opens doors to a broader range of career opportunities, including:

  • Leadership Roles: Licensed engineers often seek leadership positions within engineering firms or project management teams. Their expertise and experience make them well-suited to oversee complex projects and guide junior engineers.
  • Greater Responsibilities: A PE license allows you to take on projects requiring a stamped seal of approval from a licensed engineer. This signifies that the engineering design or analysis meets relevant safety and regulatory standards.

The Earning Power of Licensure

The long-term financial benefits of obtaining a PE license are undeniable. Studies by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) consistently show that licensed engineers earn significantly higher salaries than their non-licensed counterparts. This salary gap widens with experience, making the PE license a valuable investment in your future earning potential.

For instance, a 2023 NSPE survey revealed that the median annual salary for entry-level PEs was $77,000, while for non-licensed engineers with similar experience, the median salary was $68,000. This translates to a nearly 13% difference in starting salaries. Throughout a long career, this gap can accumulate into a substantial financial advantage.

When you pass the FE Exam and pursue PE licensure, you validate your engineering knowledge and invest in a future filled with professional growth, leadership opportunities, and a significant increase in your earning potential.

What Is The Purpose of The FE Exam?

Purpose of The FE Exam

The FE engineering exam is a stepping stone to becoming a Professional Engineer (P.E). Once you pass your FE exam, after 4 years of working as an Engineer in Training, you’re eligible to take the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam which grants you a PE license. Of course, the PE license means you’re playing in a different league altogether and opens up multiple opportunities we discussed above. If you’re thinking about taking the FE exam, we highly suggest that you go through some professional tips for passing the FE exam

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Jobs You Can Apply Once You Pass The FE Electrical and Computer Exam

Jobs You Can Apply Once You Pass The FE Electrical and Computer Exam

We already know that the FE Electrical and Computer Exam opens up a world of opportunities for the test taker, but what are those opportunities exactly? For starters, as an EIT, you can apply to a variety of jobs while also demanding a better salary. More specifically, these are the type of positions you could expect to find once you pass your exam:

  • Power Systems Engineer
  • Electrical Engineer I
  • Electrical Engineer II
  • Electrical Engineer III
  • Computer Engineer
  • Renewable Energy Engineer
  • Solar/PV Engineer

And many more…. feel free to search ‘FE/EIT’ as a keyword at Glassdoor or Indeed for more details.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1 - What percentage of engineers pass the FE exam?

As of July 2023, the pass rate for the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam exhibits a degree of variability, falling within the range of 40% to 90%. The actual pass rate is contingent upon the specific data set and the perspective from which it is examined. For the most up-to-date statistics, it is recommended to refer to the NCEES® website for the latest insights on FE exam pass rates.

2 - Does passing the FE exam impact salary?

Directly, passing the FE exam does not affect your salary. However, it significantly enhances your career prospects and credibility as a certified engineer. With a Professional Engineer (PE) license obtained through the FE exam, you can access higher-paying managerial roles or open your consultation firm, potentially increasing your income. Engineers with a PE license typically earn a median salary of $99,000 annually, while those without the license earn around $94,000 annually.

3 - Does passing the FE exam grant EIT certification?

Yes, passing the FE exam is a prerequisite for acquiring an Engineer-in-Training (EIT) certification. Remember, EIT certification does not come with special legal privileges; it signifies to employers and peers that you’ve completed the FE exam and are halfway to achieving full Professional Engineer (PE) licensure, which is the ultimate objective.

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The idea of taking the FE exam may not be quite appealing especially if you are nearing your graduation and loaded with capstone projects and final exams. However, the incremental effort in preparing for and passing the electrical FE exam can give you a head start and help you in realizing your future goals.

Planning to work for a public entity?

Planning to get a Professional Engineering license in the future? 

Then give the FE exam today!

If you were on the fence about the prospect of taking the FE exam before, we sure hope we have cleared your mind with the 6 benefits of passing the FE exam


Licensed Professional Engineer in Texas (PE), Florida (PE) and Ontario (P. Eng) with consulting experience in design, commissioning and plant engineering for clients in Energy, Mining and Infrastructure.