Engineering education programs would be well served to align their curricula and program outcomes to the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam and Professional Engineer (PE) Exam specifications. These exams are required steps in the process of becoming a licensed engineer in most states. NCEES (the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing professional licensure for engineers and surveyors. It develops, administers, and scores these examinations used for engineering licensure. Starting in 2011, NCEES held survey-creation meetings with diverse teams to develop a draft survey containing the subjects in each discipline and establish consensus support. NCEES launched a web-based survey of technical society members, institution report recipients, deans and department heads of all EAC/ABET programs, PE and FE exam committee volunteers, and others; more than 7,000 people completed the survey. Respondents rated the importance of each topic area to indicate how important it is for a new engineer to have minimum competence in that area. Based on these survey results, a set of topics and associated weighting was proposed and approved. Starting in 2014 the various FE exams will contain some overlapping content (e.g., mathematics and engineering economics), but there will no longer be a common breadth portion. Each FE exam, including industrial engineering, will be a freestanding exam. The PE exam specifications have also been revised; the new specifications will be used beginning in 2013. This paper highlights these recent changes to the discipline-specific content of the industrial engineering (IE) exams and suggests possible resulting curriculum modifications. As the IE profession undergoes changes in its application of traditional principles and adds new areas of focus, it is timely that the FE and PE exam specifications have been revisited to reflect changing priorities within the profession. For academic departments to stay relevant and assist industrial engineering graduates to become PE licensed, modern curriculum should stay closely aligned to the FE and PE exam specifications but not attempt to "teach to the test". The paper concludes with a discussion of how these specifications have been used to assess and update academic curriculum.

Meeting Name

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition (2013: Jun. 23-26; Atlanta, GA)


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Second Department

Psychological Science

Keywords and Phrases

Academic department; Engineering economics; National council of examiners for engineering and surveyings; Non profit organizations; Professional engineer; Professional licensure; Program outcomes; Web-based surveys; Curricula; Engineering education; Industrial engineering; Professional aspects; Specifications; Surveys; Engineers

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





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