Instructions on How to Apply for a California Professional Engineer License

The following instructions summarize the requirements for licensure as a Professional Engineer, but they are not intended to apply to every situation. The applicant is responsible for complying with the current requirements of the Professional Engineers Act and the Board Rules and Regulations.  If conflicts arise, the Professional Engineers Act will take precedence.
NOTE: Disclosure of your Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number is mandatory. Your application will not be processed without it. Click here for more information.
There are three categories of Professional Engineer licensure available in California: (1) practice act, (2) title act, and (3) title authority. The practice acts are Civil, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering. Practice act means that only a person appropriately licensed with the Board may practice or offer to practice these branches of engineering. The title acts are Agricultural, Chemical, Control Systems, Fire Protection, Industrial, Metallurgical, Nuclear, Petroleum, and Traffic Engineering. Title act means that only a person licensed by the Board in that branch of engineering may use the title in any manner. The title authorities exist for two sub-branches of Civil Engineering: Structural Engineering and Geotechnical Engineering. A title authority indicates a proficiency in that field greater than what is required for Civil Engineering licensure. Applicants who meet all licensure requirements, including passing the required exam(s), will be issued a license in the branch of engineering for which they applied.
An applicant for licensure as a Professional Engineer must meet the qualifying experience requirements outlined in Business and Professions Code sections 6751(c) and 6753 and Title 16, California Code of Regulations section 424.  A flowchart depicting the requirements is located here.
Review all applicable laws and regulations to confirm that you meet the qualifying experience requirements before you file an application with the Board.  Qualifying experience must be completed by the date of application submittal and is calculated on an actual time basis, not to exceed forty hours per week. If education is used as a part of the required qualifying experience, the actual work experience must be gained after graduation.
It is the applicant's responsibility to compile and submit a complete application package. The application must demonstrate that an applicant is fully qualified for licensure.
Flowcharts depicting the process are located here.
These instructions apply to all Professional Engineer applicants, including Professional Engineer applicants that are applying for a waiver of the Fundaments of Engineering (FE) exam [also known as an Engineering-in-Training (EIT) waiver] and comity applicants (applicants licensed in other states).  The applicant is responsible for submitting a complete application package.  A partial application package will not be considered for evaluation.
  • APPLICATION FOR LICENSURE: The application must be complete and signed with an original “wet” signature. The application must be typed or completed online and printed. Handwritten forms will not be accepted in accordance with Title 16, California Code of Regulations section 420(a)(1).
  • APPLICATION FEE AND STATE SPECIFIC EXAM FEE(S): Include the applicable application and state specific exam fee(s) (if taking state specific exams), as specified on the application.  The payment should be made by check or money order made payable to the "Department of Consumer Affairs". 
  • ENGAGEMENT RECORD AND REFERENCE FORMS: Applicants must submit a minimum of four envelopes from references containing Part A and Part B of the Engagement Record and Reference Forms. The references must place their professional seal/stamp over the sealed flap of the envelope. Do not open the envelopes.  The envelopes must be sealed to be considered. Click here for information on what constitutes a satisfactory reference.  Review Business and Professions Code sections 6752 and 6751.2 and Title 16, California Code of Regulations section 427.10 for additional information regarding references.
  • OFFICIAL, SEALED COLLEGE TRANSCRIPTS:  Applicants who are claiming educational credit or requesting a waiver of the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam must submit sealed college transcripts for all engineering degrees.  Applicants should not open the transcript envelopes, because open transcripts will not be accepted.  The Board does not accept evaluations of foreign transcripts. If the transcript is not in English, the applicant must obtain a notarized translation of the foreign transcript and submit both the translated and the original language version of the transcripts.
  • VERIFICATION OF LICENSURE/EXAM: Applicants who are licensed in another state and/or have passed an exam in another state must submit a verification of licensure/exam from that state.  Applicants must use the verification system available through NCEES. Applicants must login to their MyNCEES account (or create one) and then follow the directions to request that the verification be sent to California.
  • COPY OF COMPLETED LIVE SCAN FORM OR FINGERPRINT CARDS:  All applicants are required to supply the Board with proof that they have completed fingerprinting upon submittal of application for licensure/certification.  Click here for information and instructions on how to meet the requirement.
  • CERTIFIED COURT DOCUMENTATION:  Applicants who mark “Yes” to any question in Section 4 of the application must submit certified court documents and a written statement explaining in their own words the acts or circumstances that led to the plea/conviction.  Click here for additional information.
  • CALIFORNIA LAWS AND BOARD RULES EXAM (TAKE HOME EXAM): Applicants are required to take and pass the exam.  The exam must be submitted with the application.  The exam is located here.
NOTE: The Board has the authority to seek additional information pertinent to the education and experience of the applicant as may be required to verify the applicant’s qualifications. Applicants should keep a copy of all materials sent to the Board for their records.  If applicants fail to provide additional information or references within 90 days following the mailing of a request by Board staff, the application may be considered abandoned, and the application fee forfeited (Title 16, California Code of Regulations section 428).
Applicants licensed in another state (comity applicants) must meet the same application requirements as all other applicants. This includes submitting all of the documents described above.
Applicants must provide verification of licensure and exam from the other state by using the verification system available through NCEES. Applicants must login to their MyNCEES account (or create one) and then follow the directions to request that the verification be sent to California.
Comity applicants may submit NCEES Records (formally known as NCEES Council Records) in lieu of Engagement Record and Reference Forms, but NCEES Records are not required.  In the case that the NCEES Record does not provide the information the Board needs to determine if an applicant meets the requirements for licensure in California, the applicant will be asked to provide additional information. 
Review Business and Professions Code section 6759 for additional information regarding comity.
Professional Engineer applicants who are applying for a waiver of the Fundaments of Engineering (FE) exam [also known as an Engineering-in-Training (EIT) waiver] need to submit a complete application package as described above.   The applicant must check the box on the application indicating that they are seeking a waiver.  The documents that are submitted with the application must substantiate that the requirements have been met. 
The application filing process is explained here.  For information regarding the qualification requirements, review Business and Professionals Code section 6755 and Title 16, California Code of Regulations section 438(a).  A flow chart depicting the requirements is located here.
National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) exam information is located here on the NCEES website. 
State specific exam information is located here on the Board’s website.


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