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NCEES revises Engineering Education Standard

April 7th, 2015

(From the NCEES publication LICENSURE EXCHANGE, April 2015, ISSN NO. 1093-541X, VOLUME 19, ISSUE 2 – PAGE 10)

The NCEES ENGINEERING EDUCATION STANDARD has recently been revised. The standard was originally developed by an NCEES advisory group of member board members and administrators and NCEES staff; it was first implemented on January 1, 2011. Since then, it has been used to evaluate thousands of non-ABET-accredited engineering degree programs from all over the world.

The 2014–15 Committee on Education was charged with reviewing the standard and recommended making several revisions. The most significant change is the addition of up to 6 credits of courses in management, accounting, written and oral communication, and business and law; these can now be included in the General Education category. At its February 2015 meeting, the NCEES board of directors voted to approve the revisions to the standard as recommended by the Education Committee. The revised Engineering Education Standard went into effect on April 1, 2015.

“The Credentials Evaluations Department will still use set criteria for the types of education it can evaluate,” explained Stef Goodenow, director of member services for NCEES. “However, the department can evaluate any combination of education if a member board provides permission. Traditionally, engineering technology degrees, by themselves, do not meet the NCEES standard.”

The revised Engineering Education Standard is available online at

New NCEES Examinee Guide Available

April 2nd, 2015

The free NCEES Examinee Guide is the NCEES’ official guide to policies and procedures for all NCEES engineering and surveying exams. All examinees are required to read this document before starting the exam registration process. It is your responsibility to make sure that you have the current version, which currently is the MARCH 2015 version available here on the NCEES web site.

NCEES exams are administered in either a computer-based format or a pencil-and-paper format. Each method of administration has specific rules.  The guide describes the rules for each exam format. You should review the appropriate section for the exam you want to take.  Currently, the only NCEES exams administered via computer are the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and the Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) exams. The Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE), Principles and Practice of Surveying (PS), and Structural Engineering (SE) exams are administered as pencil-and-paper exams.

The free guide includes the following sections:

Section I: Overview
Section II: Computer-Based Exams
Section III: Pencil-and-Paper Exams
Section IV: Appendix

uni-ball Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil

March 30th, 2015

Recently I acquired a uni-ball Kuru Toga mechanical pencil (0.5mm) to replace my trusty Pentel P205 that I have been using for a very long time. The Kuru Toga is advertised as the “The most advanced refillable mechanical pencil ever” – so my expectations were high. As an engineer, I appreciated the new technology used in this mechanical pencil. The Kuru Toga has an exclusive and patented rotating mechanism (aka the Kuru Toga Engine) that as you write, it rotates the lead to maintain a sharp point and avoid flat spots on the lead. They claim that this also reduces lead breakage. To also reduce lead breakage, the starter set includes “diamond infused lead”.

The Kuru Toga is physically thicker than the P205, and has more plastic components, making it feel cheaper.  The writing quality is very good.  The slight rotation of the lead every time you lift up the pencil is good, and does keep a dull spot from forming on the lead.  This allows for continuous writing and one does not have to rotate the entire pencil.  It took a little getting used to, but it is all that I use now.  The other aspects of the pencil are fine, such as loading of the lead and the eraser.  It is available in 0.5mm and 0.7mm sizes.  Other models of mechanical pencils from uni-ball are available that use the Kuru Toga engine (i.e. the Roulette Model), and these are heavier and thus will feel more solid in your hand.



California Requires Fingerprints

March 26th, 2015

In California, legislation has been passed requiring the Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists to verify all applicants’ fingerprints for criminal history prior to approval. Effective July 1, 2015, all applicants will be required to submit fingerprints prior to certification/licensure. This applies to all new and refile applicants.  For additional info, visit their website at

One-year countdown begins for computer-based FE, FS exams

April 5th, 2013

(From the NCEES publication LICENSURE EXCHANGE, February 2013, ISSN NO. 1093-541X, VOLUME 17, ISSUE 1 – PAGE 8)

NCEES is scheduled to complete the transition of the FE and FS exams to computer-based testing (CBT) on January 1, 2014. The transition involves significant changes to the format of the exams and the procedures for administering them.

New exam specifications
NCEES has set new specifications—the knowledge areas to be tested and their relative weights of emphasis—for the FE and FS exams. These are posted online at

The updated FE and FS specifications are the result of content reviews held in 2011 and 2012, in which NCEES surveyed a cross section of P.E.s and P.S.s, respectively, about the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary for an engineer or surveyor intern to work in a manner that safeguards the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

Changes to administration
The October 2013 exam administration will be the last time the FE and FS exams are offered in pencil-and-paper format. Effective January 1, 2014, the FE and FS exams will be offered only via CBT at approved Pearson VUE testing centers. The PE and PS exams will continue to be offered twice each year (April and October) in pencil-and-paper format, pending further action by NCEES exam committees.

Registration for all exams will open November 4, 2013. The first available seating at a Pearson VUE testing center for the FE and FS exams will be January 2, 2014. There will be four testing windows for the FE and FS each year. Each window will last two months, with a month between them. For example, exam appointments will be available in January and February, with none available in March. Individuals may take the FE or FS exam only one time per testing window and no more than three times in a 12-month period.

The FE and FS exams will be six hours in length, which will include a tutorial, breaks, the exam, and a brief survey. The FE and FS exams will continue to be closed book, and examinees will continue to follow the NCEES policy for using approved calculators. Supplied reference material for the exams will be provided on the computers at the testing centers.

Sample exams for the computer-based FE and FS will be available for purchase after the October 2013 exam administration.

“NCEES will continue to finalize details of the transition and work with Pearson VUE to identify potential sites for new testing centers to ensure adequate seating capacity at locations convenient to our candidate population centers,” said Jerry Carter, NCEES executive director.

More information on the FE and FS exams’ transition to CBT, including details of the latest announcements and events, is available online at

Volunteers are Vital to Organization’s Success

April 2nd, 2013

(From the NCEES publication LICENSURE EXCHANGE, February 2013, ISSN NO. 1093-541X, VOLUME 17, ISSUE 1 – PAGE 6)

NCEES is truly blessed to have so many individuals who volunteer their time and expertise to support the work of the organization. In addition to the members and staff of member licensing boards who help oversee the governance of NCEES, nearly 1,000 licensed professionals participate in the development and maintenance of the 22 exams offered.

There are few weekends when there is not an exam committee in session at NCEES headquarters in Clemson. Whenever I’m in town and available, I make a point of addressing each group to express the Council’s appreciation for their commitment to their profession and their willingness to spend their time away from work and family to ensure that our exams are the best they can be. I am always impressed by the pride and enjoyment I sense from many of the volunteers. They seem to really enjoy the camaraderie and the intellectual challenge of working with their peers in putting together the exams.   Read the rest of this article » » »