The first step to becoming a licensed engineer in NY is taking the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. Though many engineering students graduating with their bachelors degree are often corralled into taking it close to graduation, there are many circumstances where this is not the case. Foreign students, science majors, and such might not have had the background or opportunity to take care of this rite of passage early on. This guide is written with this latter half of the engineering population in mind.
Finding information about the Fundamentals of Engineering exam (also known as the Engineer in Training exam, or the EIT) from the NYS Office of the Professions website can be particularly tricky. This is partially because they gear the presented information towards the final goal of taking the P.E. exam. You should start off by checking out their website: www.op.nysed.gov/prof/pels/
A total of 6 credits is required to take the FE exam. Depending on your educational background you may need a few years worth of work experience. Without a lot of exposition, you should simply check out the official NYS website's eligibility and points table: www.op.nysed.gov/prof/pels/pelic.htm#credits
The Application Forms:
The application forms for the FE are the same as those used for the PE so be sure to check off the right box when applying. The forms you will use are outlined below:
Form 1: Application for Licensure and First Registration - This is the basic personal info and summary page for the other forms. It is self-explanatory.
Form 2: Certification of Professional Education - This form verifies your education requirements. Section I is for you to fill out and section II is only for your school's registrar to complete. Both forms are to be sent to the registrar who then mails them directly to the New York State Education Department, Office of the Professions. You should add a cover letter and detail explicit instructions to the registrar to avoid any delays. Give the registrar enough time to complete these items and send them out (ideally a couple of weeks, though this varies with each institution). Typically you would create one set for each related engineering school responsible for conferring you your degrees (bachelors and masters separately). Some colleges and universities have associated fees for this service so make sure you send a check with that cover letter. I'd advice to also call the registrar to confirm they've received your information and will be doing what you've asked them to do.
If work experience is required, you will also need to fill out the following forms:
Form 4: Report of Professional Experience - Just as the name implies, this is where you relate your professional experience along with Form 4a to fulfill your work related credits. Your endorser will sign off on the more detailed account you will write on Form 4a.
Form 4A: Verification of Professional Experience - This form expands on Form 4 and asks you for more detail. Specific examples of your engineering work experience must be given including the duration and type of work performed, how much responsibility you had, and which codes you used (NYS, national, international). There are several guidelines on what they are looking for on the website. Some engineers write beautiful paragraphs, others use bulleted lists that go straight to the point, while some write something in between. As long as you mention somewhere that you have met the requirements, your application will be accepted. The point is you don't have to be too verbose to get the point across.
Depending on your situation you may also need to fill out the change of name/address form. Read about it on the official website for more information. Additionally I recommend you print out the application checklist as it will help you keep you organized. It also serves as a good summary of what you need to fill out to apply.
Some important things to keep in mind as you start:
You will need a passport quality photo ID - find a photo store, they will usually be able to do it on the spot for a modest fee.
You will need to notarize your application - find a notary public to sign off on your applications. NY State laws require that a notary is entitled to a modest fee, around $2 last time I checked, for the service.
You will need your superiors at work to attest to your work experience (if you require experience) - ideally you already have an idea on which person or persons you can ask to sign off on the work experience required for the application. Don't forget to inform them of their involvement well in advance. If you have changed companies, take this into account and allow yourself some extra time to get your information in by the deadlines.
Taking the exam will inevitably lead you to paying two major fees. The first ($70 as of this writing - see Form 1) is the basic application fee that the state charges. The second fee will be for the proctoring company which will handle the administration of the test. This currently involves a heftier $125 charge payable to said company. You will get the bill for the latter after the state has reviewed your application for eligibility.
Make copies of everything you send out and receive. Keep all your receipts and confirmation letters. Make sure you pay off everyone who needs a check including your registrars (if necessary), the NYS government, and Castle Worldwide (the test moderators).
Taking the Test
If you've made it to the point were you've paid everyone off, you should theoretically find your golden ticket to the exam in the mail a month or so before the test date.
A few tips for the eager test taker. Try out the calculators described on the approved list. Most aren't too expensive. I actually ended up using the one I bought just for the test as my standard engineering tool of choice. Also know how to use that calculator if it's not the one you've been using since college. No super calculators are allowed in the test room so get used to whatever you've got. In fact, I suggest locking away your uber-calculator that plays tetris and use only your approved calculator in the months leading towards the exam. Solar calculators remove the chance of running out of power.
Finally, sleep well the night before and give yourself lots of time to get to your test site. Good luck!