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Career advice

Career advice

Career advice


I am a civil engg graduate with 2 yrs of work experience in Oil and gas industry as a design engg. After completing my Masters in Transportation Engg I worked as a traffic engg for 8 months. Worked as an asst prof in college overseas for 6 months too (in civil engg dept, training undergrads). Due to personal reasons, I couldn't take the FE exam and have a career break of 8 yrs now.

I am now ready to work again and ernestly seeking ways to go about it. Is FE really necessary to obtain a job in companies?? How much relevance do online certificate courses hold in gaining a job in the industry?

Any advice on how to go about it would be greatly appreciated.


RE: Career advice

From my perspective as an EIT who does have his FE, it can't hurt to obtain. I worked for the railroad industry as a Construction/Project Manager capacity for about 18 months before leaving and going to a civil design job. For me and my current company, the FE was a must. I was also fortunate that my College's policy was in order to graduate, you had to take (not necessarily pass) the FE, but they did a lot to help us prepare to pass it. If you want to do "Civil Design" I would heavily suggest it. If you are looking to get back into the oil/gas industry (or other related fields) it may not be necessary, but once again can't hurt to have.

Should you decide to take the test, remember a few things. First and fore most, the FE is MINIMAL COMPETENCY EXAM. You really only need to score 65-70% to pass, so don't stress to much over the exam (of the people in my class that failed, I'd say about half were due to test anxiety). The second thing is to learn the FE reference manual that is provided for the test. I had the paper test and knowing how to navigate the reference manual was what could make or break a section for you. Since they have switched to electronic, my understanding is that its even quicker to find things using the "Search" function. Finally, just remember the various test taking skills you were taught since you first started taking standardized tests (always fill in an answer; guess the same letter on every question you don't know - for example, my "answer of the day" was "B" when I took the exam; statistically, the answer is NOT "All/None of the above"; etc).

I can't give you any insight into online certification. The only other advice I have is to consider taking a test prep course if you have been out of the civil field for 8 years now just as a refresher. Below is a link to the NCEES (the guys who administer the FE) with a breakdown of how many questions and of what subjects the Civil FE covers.


Best of luck,

RE: Career advice

Early in my career, I worked under the supervision of two brilliant engineers; neither had a PE. One designed numerous long span bridges - cable stayed, truss, suspension. But that was then and this is now. However, to a large degree, it really depends on the industry you're in.

I'm a bridge engineer and most of the projects I work on are for government agencies. On many transportation projects
to be a project manager or discipline lead (bridge, highway, traffic) you need to be a PE.

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