In this article, we take a high-level look at what is the engineer-in-training (EIT) certification & license, why you should take care of it now, and what are the actual steps to obtain your EIT certification and license in your state.
The engineer-in-training (EIT) certification & license is a professional designation given by state governments to those who have successfully passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, sometimes referred to as the EIT exam. An EIT certification doesn’t grant you any special legal privileges; it simply indicates to employers and peers that you’ve passed the FE exam and that you are halfway done in your journey to become a fully licensed professional engineer (PE), which is the ultimate goal.
In order to get your engineering certification (EIT), you must pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. In summary, the FE exam is a ~5.5-hour-long multiple-choice exam that covers the majority of the courses seen in a 4-year engineering program. The test has a ~70% pass rate for first time takers.
PrepFE is an interactive online dashboard with hundreds of FE practice problems to get your ready to PASS the FE exam.
It is highly recommended you take care of the FE exam now rather than later. You should get your EIT certification now, so you can become a professional engineer (PE) a few years down the road or at least have the option to. Prolonging when to take the FE exam will only make things more difficult later down the road as the longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes to pass the 5.5-hour long engineering exam.
The point of getting your EIT certification now, as opposed to later, is that by taking the FE exam now you will be more likely to pass the FE exam than if you took it later in your career. You will be taking advantage that what you learned in college still hasn't been completely forgotten yet. You never know where your career might take you and you don’t want to end up in a position where it’s been 10+ years since the last time you opened an engineering textbook but now you need to study for a 5.5-hour long engineering exam.
Below are the general steps to become an engineer-in-training. Ultimately, every state has its own requirements to become an EIT but the steps shown below are what is most common
In order to take the FE exam, you must have attended an ABET-accredited engineering program. There are three ways to be eligible to take the FE exam if you attended college outside of the United States.
The best way to prepare for any engineering exam is by doing tons of practice problems that resemble that engineering exam. PrepFE focuses on just that. We provide users hundreds of FE practice problems, with detailed solutions, similar to the problems they would see in the actual FE exam
You submit the paperwork to your state government proving to them that you passed the FE exam, so they can mail you your EIT certificate.
In professional work emails and documents, it is common for people with EIT certifications to add the initials “EIT” after their names e.g. Kayla Smith, EIT.
As mentioned previously, the ultimate reason to bother getting your EIT certification is so you can become eligible to take the PE exam. Once you pass the PE exam, you can file more paperwork with your state government to become a professional engineer (PE). A professional engineer (PE) is the final step in engineering licensure. PE’s have the legal right to stamp and sign engineering documents and drawings that go out to the public.
Recall getting your EIT certification is merely a required, intermediate step before becoming eligible to take the PE exam. Will getting your EIT certification help you get a raise? It depends.
If you are a civil engineer, it is often expected of you to have your EIT certification from the moment you start your career in civil engineering. It is likely your employer will hold off any promotions solely because you are not an EIT yet. This is especially true if you work for a designer consultant or a government agency. If you work for a contractor, the importance of your EIT certification for your current job is a case-by-case basis. However, you will need your EIT certification if you ever decide to go from construction to engineering design or government.
In the case of civils, your EIT certification will result in more money in the sense that you will not be held back in the corporate ladder because you don’t have your EIT certification just yet. On the other hand, it is standard practice to get an immediate $2,000 - $5,000 per year raise immediately after obtaining your professional engineering (PE) license. And to eventually get your PE, you must have had your EIT. Additionally, it is often a requirement in the civil engineering world to have a PE license in order to move up to management positions, which tend to pay $10K-$20K more per year than project engineer or junior engineer positions.
If you are a mechanical, electrical, chemical engineer, or etc… the value of the EIT certification depends on who is your employer or who could be your employer in the future. Unlike civils, other engineering disciplines aren’t expected to have their EIT certifications from their first day of their engineering careers. Obtaining your engineering certification will likely impress your boss and possibly result in you getting to your next promotion a bit faster than you normally would have. The Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) estimates mechanical engineers with a PE license, and by the default EIT certification, make $16,000 more per year than those who don’t have their PE license. The whole reason to bother getting your EIT certification now is so you have the option to get your PE license later down the road. You are really just thinking ahead and getting the FE exam over with.
You don’t need to retake the FE exam if you move to a different state than the one where you took the FE exam and got your certification from. Your EIT jurisdiction, unlike PE jurisdiction, is valid in any state.