Brightwood Engineering Frequently Asked Questions

Brightwood Engineering Frequently Asked Questions

Brightwood College purchased Kaplan Engineering Education in September 2015. Kaplan Engineering Education is now Brightwood Engineering Education. You will still receive the same high-quality education you’ve come to expect from Kaplan Engineering, written and led by the same industry-leading authors and instructors.

Your access period to Kaplan Engineering products will not change as a result of the transition to Brightwood. Online courses have an access period of 6 months from purchase date.

Brightwood College is a new school that now includes campuses that were formerly Kaplan College. The goal of Brightwood College is to prepare you with the education you need to pass your exams and excel in today’s job market. You can learn more about Brightwood College at

Licensure is the process you go through to become licensed as a professional engineer (PE). A license is a standard of accountability, a differentiator that gives you a competitive edge over other job candidates. A license gives you more credibility, respect, and authority as a professional.

  • You can start your own company or work as a consultant.
  • You gain increased job mobility and opportunities.
  • You will have a license recognized in every state, giving you the opportunity to work on projects anywhere your career takes you.
  • You will have the potential to earn a higher income. PEs average $20,000 a year* more in salary compared to unlicensed engineers in comparable positions.
  • 75,000 students graduate each year with an engineering degree; 5 out of 9 students take the FE and 4 out of 5 pass it; only 1 out of 9 becomes a PE**

* According to the National Society of Professional Engineers Salary Survey
**According to the National Council on Examiners of Engineering and Surveying (NCEES)

Exact qualifications vary by state, but the basic requirements are the same. Licensure requires obtaining a college degree in engineering from an approved, accredited university or college, as well as passing two nationally standardized exams: the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam (usually taken as a senior in college) and the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam (usually taken after four or more years of professional experience).

Exam dates are set by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), the entity that writes and scores the exams.

Upcoming exam dates are:

The FE exam is offered year-round.

2016 - October 28
2017 - April 21, October 27

2016 - October 28–29
2017 - April 21–22, October 27–28

Both the FE and PE exams are administered locally through your state board of registration. The registration periods vary significantly by state, anywhere from 45-180 days before the exam. Contact your state board directly for particulars.

To completely prepare for the exam, we suggest the following:

  • Fundamentals of Engineering: FE Exam Preparation for the morning and afternoon general exams.
  • Fundamentals of Engineering Supplied-Reference Handbook. This is the only book allowed into the exam. Familiarizing yourself with the content and organization of the book in advance will save time searching for information during the exam.
  • A discipline-specific FE review book for the afternoon exam.
  • An Exam Files FE supplemental review study guide for additional problem-solving practice in specific subject areas.

See our FE review materials

The PE exam is eight hours in length and consists of a morning (breadth) and afternoon (depth) session. The exam is open book, but some states place restrictions on the material allowed into the exam. Units used for several of the exams are as follows.

SI and Conventional English

  • Chemical
  • Civil
  • Electrical and Computer
  • Mechanical

Conventional English

  • Vertical Forces & Incidental Lateral components
  • Lateral Forces components

Civil, electrical, and mechanical engineers have a breadth exam in the morning and the option of several different depth exams in the afternoon. Some states have additional requirements or offer a different version of the exam. For example, to earn licensure as a civil engineer in California, you must also pass the state-administered exams on engineering surveying and seismic principles.

See the NCEES website for more on the PE exam.
Visit your state board for PE regulations for your state.

To completely prepare for the PE Exam, we suggest the following:

  • A license review book specific to your discipline.
  • A problems and solutions book specific to your discipline.
  • Any number of supplemental review resources, including sample exams and additional problems and solutions.
  • A cross-code reference book if applicable.

See our PE review materials.

All answer sheets for multiple-choice exams are machine graded; a percentage of answer sheets are also manually verified to ensure accuracy. The essays for Lateral Forces PE exams are scored by teams of subject-matter experts.

Visit the NCEES for more information on exam grading.

Brightwood Engineering Education offers discounts for students on FE review materials and cash rebates to schools, engineering departments, or student organizations that want to help promote our products on campus. We will custom design a partnership that best suits your fundraising needs. We will assign a special promotion code and catalog of items just for you. You will have your own representative to answer all your questions and offer support to all your on-campus effort.

Sales tax is only applied to online purchases in the following states: CA, FL, IL, and NY.  To make a tax-exempt purchase from one of these states, please call customer service directly to place your order at 877-708-2793.  A copy of your tax-exempt certificate is needed and can be faxed in advance of your order to 608.779.8374.

Brightwood makes every attempt to make our websites and products mobile- and tablet-friendly. However, not all features are compatible with all tablets and phones.

  • When working on regulated course material, we recommend using a Windows- or Mac-based desktop or laptop computer.
  • We recommend the use of Windows 7-10 or Mac OS X operating systems. We also support Windows Vista and Windows XP.
  • We recommend the use of Chrome or Firefox browsers. We also support Internet Explorer 8-11. We do not recommend Safari due to limited capabilities with certain features.
  • We recommend online learners have the latest versions of Flash and Java installed.
  • We recommend online learners have at least a 2MB connection.