The FE certificate is an important certification that every engineering graduate out there should have. It opens up many new opportunities job-wise, and it makes the journey towards PE licensure much easier, as having an FE is required to apply for the PE licensure. However, many engineers and graduates find themselves hesitant about taking the exam. Some find it unnecessary, as many jobs do not require the candidates to have an FE, and others believe that they may not need it any time soon. Luckily, the FE exam does not expire. If you sit for the exam and pass it once a lifetime, you don't have to take it ever again. This means you can take the exam at any point in your career, and it would still be valid and beneficial for the rest of your working years as an engineer.
If you have just graduated from an engineering program or are still enrolled in one, the smart thing to do is take the exam as soon as possible. It's better to do it soon after graduation or during your senior year. It will be easier as the materials are still fresh in your mind and you don't have to spend a lot of time preparing for it. Although the FE exam format is different from the exams you had in college, it's better to take it while still used to taking tests rather than later in your career when you'll have to figure out new test tactics and habits.
The fact that the exam doesn't expire and you don't have to renew it speaks for its importance and why you shouldn't hesitate to take it. And even though it is not necessary for job applications, many employers consider not having it a red flag and a lack of motivation and internal drive.