The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) administers a series of tough exams required for engineering and surveying licenses in the United States. Various exams are used to provide standardized assessments to guarantee that professionals in various professions have the necessary competencies and certifications.
Here are things to know about NCEES:
Purpose of NCEES Exams
In the engineering and surveying fields, the NCEES exams are intended to serve multiple crucial functions.
- Public Safety: The main goal is to safeguard the public’s health, safety, and welfare by making sure that qualified individuals possess the know-how and abilities necessary to plan, carry out, and supervise projects in a safe manner.
- Professional Competence: The tests assess the knowledge and proficiency of surveyors and engineers, establishing a benchmark for professionalism and high-caliber work in the industry.
- Standardization: The NCEES exam offers a consistent way to evaluate professional competence, guaranteeing that the standards for obtaining a license are the same in all states and jurisdictions.
Types of NCEES Exams
NCEES offers several different exams, primarily categorized into two main groups:
1. Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) Exams
FE Exam: The first step toward obtaining an engineering license is the FE Exam. Usually taken by new graduates or those with little experience, it evaluates basic engineering knowledge. To take the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) Exam, one must pass the FE Exam.
FS Exam: Before obtaining a surveying license, candidates must pass the FS Exam. It is usually taken by recent graduates or people who are new to the field and evaluates basic surveying knowledge. To take the Professional Surveying Exam, one must pass the FS Exam.
2. Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) and Professional Surveying (PS) Exams
PE Exam: The PE Exam is taken after the completion of the necessary engineering work experience and a successful FE Exam. It assesses an engineer’s proficiency in a particular engineering field, including structural, mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering.
PS Exam: The second step in becoming licensed to practice surveying is the PS Exam. Candidates can take the PS Exam, which assesses their knowledge of surveying concepts and methods, after passing the FS Exam and gaining relevant surveying experience.
NCEES Exam Content
Depending on the discipline, NCEES exams include different topics, but generally speaking, they cover the following:
- Mathematics: Evaluation of mathematical ideas and their applications in relation to engineering or surveying.
- Science: Analysis of the scientific theories pertaining to a particular field, such as biology, chemistry, and physics.
- Fundamentals of Engineering and Surveying: An analysis of basic engineering and surveying ideas, methods, and principles.
- Ethics and Professional Practice: Evaluating understanding of professional and ethical duties in surveying and engineering.
- Specialized Topics: Subjects related to a particular discipline, such as land surveying, transportation, materials, buildings, and environmental engineering.
Eligibility and Registration
To take NCEES exams, candidates generally need to meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Completion of the required education or experience, which typically includes graduation from an accredited engineering or surveying program (for the FE and FS Exams) and gaining relevant work experience (for the PE and PS Exams).
- Successful completion of the FE Exam (for the PE Exam) and the FS Exam (for the PS Exam).
- Specific requirements may vary by jurisdiction, so candidates should check the requirements of the state or territory where they plan to become licensed.
The registration process for NCEES exams typically involves the following steps:
- Eligibility Confirmation: Candidates should ensure they meet the educational and experience requirements and have successfully completed any prerequisite exams.
- Registration and Payment: Candidates register for the exam through the NCEES website, pay the associated fees, and select their exam date and location.
- Exam Preparation: Preparing for the exam often involves studying relevant materials, taking practice exams, and reviewing the exam specifications and references provided by NCEES.
Scoring and Passing Requirements
NCEES exams are scored on a pass/fail basis, with the specific passing standards varying by exam and discipline. In general, candidates must achieve a minimum passing score to pass the exam and progress toward licensure.
Significance of NCEES Licensure
Obtaining an NCEES license is highly significant for engineering and surveying professionals for several reasons:
Public Safety: Licensure ensures that professionals have the necessary knowledge and skills to safeguard public safety by designing and overseeing projects that meet industry standards and regulations.
Professional Credibility: An NCEES license is widely recognized as a mark of competence and professionalism, enhancing one’s reputation within the industry.
Legal Compliance: In many states, NCEES licensure is a legal requirement for practicing engineering or surveying.
Career Opportunities: Licensure opens up additional career opportunities and can lead to increased earning potential.
Cross-Jurisdictional Mobility: NCEES licensure facilitates the ability to work in different states and jurisdictions, as it’s recognized nationally.
NCEES exams and licensure are instrumental in maintaining high standards within the engineering and surveying professions, ensuring that licensed professionals have the necessary qualifications to contribute to the safety, functionality, and quality of various projects and structures. Achieving NCEES licensure is a significant milestone in the careers of engineering and surveying professionals and is an important factor in their professional growth and success.