Licensure & Registration

NCEES Announces Changes to FE Examination Specifications

By Michael Behnke, P.E.

The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) recently announced changes to the test specifications for the Electrical and Computer module of the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination. The FE examination is the first step in the process of becoming a licensed Professional Engineer (PE), and is administered year-round at NCEES-approved Pearson VUE test centers. The new specifications will apply to all candidates who sit for the exam on or after 1 July 2020.

To ensure the FE exam keeps pace with changes in the engineering profession, every six to eight years the content of the exam goes through a rigorous review and update process. This process, which can take up to 18 months to complete, begins with the development of a survey by a committee of licensed engineers who have a strong knowledge of their industry and expectations for the knowledge and skills that recent engineering graduates should possess in order to work in a manner that protects the public health, safety, and welfare. The results of this survey, for which responses from a broad cross section of professionals from both industry and academia are solicited, is analyzed to determine the extent to which the current specifications reflect these expectations. The exam specification is then modified to include new knowledge areas and remove obsolete ones.

The updated specification for the Electrical and Computer module includes two notable additions. First, there is a new knowledge area related to electrical safety. In addition, the computer engineering portion of the specification includes a new knowledge area related to network security and network intrusion detection and prevention.

The exam registration process varies from state to state, so potential FE candidates are encouraged to visit the NCEES website to determine registration requirements for their particular jurisdiction.

Michael Behnke, P.E., is a member of the IEEE-USA Licensure & Registration Committee and serves on the NCEES Electrical & Computer PE Exam Committee.  In addition, he is the current chairman of the and Electrical and Computer Module Subcommittee for the FE Exam.


Guest Contributor

IEEE-USA is an organizational unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), created in 1973 to support the career and public policy interests of IEEE’s U.S. members. IEEE-USA is primarily supported by an annual assessment paid by U.S. IEEE Members.

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