California Forms and Links for Professional Engineers and Engineers-in-Training

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Forms:

California Licensing

California Map

California MapWelcome to the California professional and structural engineering licensing page! This page will provide all of the detailed steps necessary to get licensed and stay licensed in California.

California is the state for which most potential engineers will first meet the educational and work experience requirements for the professional engineering license, making it one of the most sought after licenses nationally.

It is important to note that California has a clear definition between Civil Professional Engineers and Structural Engineers.  Civil professional engineers may provide services on all structural projects except for schools and hospitals.

For detailed contact information for the California Board for Professional Engineers, and Land Surveyors see the contact information page.

Through this page, you can find detailed instructions on how to:

You can also:

Refer to the forms and links page if you want to change your address, order a duplicate license, lookup a license, etc.

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, feel free to contact us at info@civilpe.net.

California Structural Engineering Title Authority

Per the Building Design Authority, Licensed Civil Professional Engineers in the state of California have the authority to design all buildings except public schools and hospitals.  California grants the authority for licensed Civil Professional Engineers who’ve had additional work experience, and passed additional tests, to use the title “Structural Engineer”.  Only Civil Professional Engineers with the authority to use the title “Structural Engineer” may design public schools and hospitals in California.

Requirements for Licensure

To be granted the authority to use the title “Structural Engineer”, the applicant must

  1. hold a current and valid license as a civil engineer in the state of California.
  2. Provide evidence showing 3 years of full-time experience in “responsible charge” of structural engineering work.  This experience must be gained after the date of the examination which was taken to gain initial licensure.
  3. Passed the 16 hour Structural Engineering exam provided and administered by NCEES.
  4. Paid the appropriate fee.

It is acceptable for the “initial licensure,” listed in item 2 above, to be from a jurisdiction other than California.  If you hold a Civil PE license in another jurisdiction, meet the experience requirements listed in item 2 above, and wish to be granted authority to use the title “Structural Engineer” in California, you’ll have to first obtain the Civil Professional Engineering license by comity, and second, pass the 16 hour Structural Engineering exam.

Refer to the Board for more detailed information on the requirements to be granted the authority to use the title “Structural Engineer,” and a detailed application checklist.

Application Process

The application process involves 2 steps:

  1. Submit the Califonia Structural Engineering application to the board with the appropriate fee.
  2. Once the application is accepted, register for the national 16 hour SE exam through NCEES and pay the appropriate fee. Instructions on registering for the exam will be provided once the initial application to the board is accepted.

The application is the most time consuming, and it’s important to keep filing dates in mind when applying. Explicitly follow these steps to ensure your application to the board is complete and processed in a timely manner.

  1. Select 3 references and contact them immediately to verify they’re comfortable serving as your reference. These references must be licensed Civil Professional Engineers in the state of California with the authority to use the title “structural engineer”. Refer to the application instructions for help in obtaining appropriate references if you reside outside of California.
  2. Complete the 2 page application for license as a Structural Enginner.
  3. Review the Professional Engineer Engagement Record and Reference Form Instructions, complete part A of the Engagement Record and Reference Form for EACH of your references.
  4. Mail the Engagement Record and Reference Form, with Part A completed, to each of your references. Include a self addressed stamped envelope, a copy of the information collection disclosure, and instructions to have the reference stamp and sign over the envelope seal once the reference form is complete (reference forms will not be accepted without this stamp and signature). The references must return these completed and sealed forms to you for inclusion in the application.
  5. If you’re applying by comity submit the verification of registration form to the jurisdictions for which you’re already licensed. If the jurisdiction will only submit the verification form directly to the California Board, make sure to include that in writing with your application.
  6. Submit the application, along with the 3 sealed engagement record and reference forms, 2 self-addressed, stamped post cards the board will use for notification of the application status, and the verification of registrations (if required) to the board with a check made payable to the “Department of Consumer Affairs” for 125.00. This application fee is non-refundable.

Now you get to wait until the application is processed by the state of California. For questions concerning your application, contact the evaluator assigned to you on the California board contact information page. Once accepted, follow the provided instructions to register for the SE exam administered by NCEES. The fees required to register for the NCEES SE exam are $510 for the vertical forces component, and $510 for the lateral forces component, for a total of $1020.

Your total fee for applying for your California Structural Engineering license amounts to $1145.  On a positive note, much like the California Professional Engineering license, if you obtain the California Structural Engineering license, you’ll be able to obtain your Structural Engineering license in all other jurisdictions by comity!

Exam Exemptions

No exemptions are listed in the state of California.

License by Comity

If the applicant has passed the NCEES 16 hour SE exam, and is a licensed structural engineer in another state, he or she may apply for a California structural engineering license by comity, following the same process outlined in the Application Process. Be aware that you’ll have to obtain the California Professional Engineering license before you can gain authority to use the title “structural engineer”.

NCEES 16 Hour Structural Engineering Exam Details

The Structural Engineering exam is typically the last step in become a fully licensed structural engineer. Refer to the NCEES exam schedule for upcoming exam dates. This exam is targeted for an engineer with 4 or more years of structural engineering experience after college graduation.  Exam specifications and references will be posted on the NCEES website 6 months prior to exam administration.

The exam consists of two 8 hour breadth and depth exams. On day one, the examinee will take the 8 hour Vertical Forces Component which focuses on gravity loads and incidental lateral loads (lateral earth pressures). Day 2 will consist of the 8 hour Lateral Forces Component. Each component consists of a 4 hour, multiple choice, breadth exam in the morning, and a 4 hour, essay style, depth exam in the afternoon. Examinees must choose either buildings or bridges for the afternoon portion of each component, and must make the same choice for both components.

This exam is open book, and the examinee is allowed to bring any reference to the exam provided it is bound, and stays bound throughout the test. Loose papers bound by a 3 ring binder, or other device, are acceptable.

Refer to the calculator policy for a list of approved calculators for this exam.

Continuing Education Requirements

Continuing education is not required for professional and structural engineers licensed in California.

License Renewal

The license renewal period is 2 years in the state of California. A notice will be sent to your address approximately 60 days prior to the expiration date. The fee to renew is 115.00. This fee increases to 172.50 for those who fail to renew within 60 days after the expiration date. Refer to the board for detailed renewal information.

Note: this renewal fee is in addition to the Professional Engineering license renewal fee.  The Civil Professional Engineering license must be renewed and in good standing before the Structural Engineering license can be renewed

California Professional Engineering License

California is an important state for licensure as a Civil PE for two reasons, it requires the least amount of work experience and is the most difficult test to pass nationally.

California requires only 2 years of work experience for those with a BS degree from an ABET accredited program, and 1 year for those with a Masters degree from an ABET accredited program.  This is the first state for which most engineers will satisfy the requirements to sit for the Professional Engineering exam and become fully licensed.  That being said, this is one of the most difficult states to get licensed in.  In addition to the national 8 hour Professional Engineering exam provided by NCEES, prospective civil engineers have to take 2 additional tests: the California specific Civil Engineering Surveying exam, and the California specific Civil Seismic Principles exam (each of which are 2.5 hours in length).

I highly recommend getting licensed in California as soon as you meet the requirements.  If you get licensed in this state, you can obtain your Civil PE in every other state by comity (once you’ve achieved the necessary work experience in the state for which you’re seeking licensure).

Requirements for Licensure

Licensure as a Professional Engineer in the state of California is a three step process.  The first step is to pass the fundamentals of engineering exam.  The second step is to obtain 6 years of qualifying experience (this experience does not have to come after taking the FE exam). Finally, the prospective engineer must take and pass the Professional Engineering exam along with the California specific Civil Engineering Surveying exam, and the Civil Seismic Principles exam.  Qualifying experience is given as follows:

  1. Undergraduate Education
    • Four years’ credit for graduation with an engineering degree from a Board approved engineering curriculum (ABET accredited in the US or CEAB accredited in Canada).
    • Two years credit for graduation with a bachelor’s level engineering technology degree, or one year credit for graduation with an associate level engineering technology degree, from a technology curriculum which has been accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission (TAC) of ABET.
    • Two years credit for graduation with an engineering degree from any school whose engineering curriculum is not Board approved (including all foreign schools).
  2. Post-Graduate Education
    • The Board may give a maximum of one year credit as qualifying experience for satisfactorily completed graduate work in an ABET-approved engineering curriculum. No credit will be given for foreign graduate work or graduate work done in any non-ABET approved curriculum. Completed post-graduate work is work for which a degree has been received.
    • Applicants who possess a board-approved postgraduate degree in engineering will receive 5 years of experience credit toward the 6-year experience requirement regardless of the undergraduate degree. A board-approved postgraduate degree is one where either the undergraduate or postgraduate engineering curriculum is accredited by ABET.
  3. Engineering Teaching
    • a maximum of one year credit as qualifying experience is given for engineering teaching in a college curriculum, provided that an applicant is claiming no more than four years credit for education.
  4. Work Experience
    • Qualifying work experience under the direct supervision of a licensed professional engineer

For more detailed information on qualifying work experience refer to http://www.bpelsg.ca.gov/applicants/faq_eng.pdf

Application Process

The application process involves 3 steps:

  1. Submit the Califonia PE application to the board with the appropriate fee.
  2. Once the application is accepted, register for the national 8 hour PE exam through NCEES and pay the appropriate fee. Instructions will be provided once the initial application to the board is accepted.
  3. Register for the state specific Civil Engineering Surveying, and Civil Seismic Principles exams through Prometric. Instructions will be provided once the initial application to the board is accepted.

The application is the most time consuming, and it’s important to keep filing dates in mind when applying.  Explicitly follow these steps to ensure your application to the board is complete and processed in a timely manner.

  1. Select 4 references and contact them immediately to verify they’re comfortable serving as your reference. If you’re going to be working primarily in California, these references must be licensed in California. If you’re going to be working primarily in another state, these references must be from that state.
  2. Complete the 2 page Civil PE application.
  3. Review the Professional Engineer Engagement Record and Reference Form Instructions, complete part A of the Engagement Record and Reference Form for EACH of your references.
  4. Mail the Engagement Record and Reference Form, with Part A completed, to each of your references.  Include a self addressed stamped envelope, a copy of the information collection disclosure, and instructions to have the reference stamp and sign over the envelope seal once the reference form is complete (reference forms will not be accepted without this stamp and signature).  The references must return these completed and sealed forms to you for inclusion in the application.
  5. Order certified sealed college transcripts for inclusion with your application.
  6. If you’re applying by comity, or took the Fundamentals of Engineering exam in a different state, submit the verification of registration form to the jurisdictions for which you’re already licensed. If the jurisdiction will only submit the verification form directly to the California Board, make sure to include that in writing with your application.
  7. Complete the take home exam and include it with your application.
  8. Submit the application, along with the 4 sealed engagement record and reference forms, the sealed transcripts, the completed take home examination, 2 self-addressed, stamped post cards the board will use for notification of application status, and the verification of registrations (if required) to the board with a check made payable to the “Department of Consumer Affairs” for 425.00.  This fee includes a 125.00 non-refundable application fee, a 150.00 seismic exam fee, and a 150.00 surveying exam fee.  If your application is denied, the seismic and surveying exam fees will be returned to you.  The board provides a full fee breakdown.
Now you get to wait until the application is processed by the state of California.  For questions concerning your application, contact the evaluator assigned to you on the California board contact information page. Once accepted, follow the provided instructions to register for the PE exam administered by NCEES and the Califonia seismic and surveying exams administered by Prometric.  The fees required to register for the PE exam through NCEES are  265.00, and for the seismic and surveying exams through Prometric are 117.60.

Your total fee for applying for your California Civil PE license amounts to $807.60.  If that’s not motivation to study hard, ensuring you pass on the first try, I don’t know what is!

Exam Exemptions

No exemptions are listed in the state of California.

License by Comity

If the applicant has passed the PE exam, and is a licensed professional engineer in another state, he or she may apply for a California professional engineering license by comity, following the same process outlined in the Application Process.  Be aware that you’ll have to still take the California specific seismic and surveying exams!

Professional Engineering Exam Details

The Professional Engineering exam is typically the last step in become a fully licensed professional engineer.  Refer to the NCEES exam schedule for upcoming exam dates. This exam is targeted for an engineer with 4 or more years of engineering experience after college graduation.  During exam registration each examinee must choose from one of the following modules for the afternoon portion of the exam:

The exam is an 8 hour breadth and depth multiple choice exam.  The 4 hour morning session is a 40 question breadth exam equally covering each of the above listed modules.  The 4 hour afternoon session is a 40 question depth exam covering only the module selected during registration.  This exam is open book, and the examinee is allowed to bring any reference to the exam provided it is bound, and stays bound throughout the test. Loose papers bound by a 3 ring binder, or other device, are acceptable.

Refer to the calculator policy for a list of approved calculators for this exam.

California Specific Examinations

The California specific Seismic Principles Examination is a 2.5 hour multiple choice exam testing the examinees knowledge of the seismic provisions of the California Building Code.  Refer to the board for a reference list for this exam. A strong understanding of the seismic design requirements of the CBC (which references the IBC), and  ASCE7 are necessary to pass this exam. The board provides a test plan that you can use for review.

The California specific Civil Engineering Surveying Examination is a 2.5 hour multiple choice exam testing the examinees knowledge of basic surveying principles.  Refer to the board for a reference list for this exam, and a test plan that you can use for review.

Continuing Education Requirements

Continuing education is not required for professional engineers licensed in California.

License Renewal

The license renewal period is 2 years in the state of California.  A notice will be sent to your address approximately 60 days prior to the expiration date.  The fee to renew is 115.00.  This fee increases to 172.50 for those who fail to renew within 60 days after the expiration date. Refer to the board for detailed renewal information.

California Land Surveyor-in-Training Certification

Under California law, certification as a LSIT is the first step toward becoming a licensed Professional Land Surveyor.

Requirements for Licensure

Land Surveyor-in-Training (LSIT) certification applicants must have:

  • Three years or more of postsecondary (college-level) land surveying education.
  • OR three years or more of land surveying-related work experience.
  • OR a combination of postsecondary (college-level) land surveying education and land surveying-related work experience totaling three years.
  • AND Previously passed the NCEES Fundamentals of Surveying exam.

Application Process

The LSIT application process for California is new as of the October 2012 examination. New candidates now apply to sit for the Fundamentals of Surveying exam directly through NCEES (the FS exam author and administrator). To earn the LSIT certification, each applicant must register for the Fundamentals examination on the NCEES website (navigate to https://app.ncees.org/emsLogin/ to begin the registration process). pay the NCEES examination fee, which is $170 at the time of this writing, and sit for the Fundamentals examination. Examinees who pass the examination then apply to the Board of Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists, and pay the application fee of $50.00 (at the time of this writing) to be issued a certificate as a Land Surveyor-in-Training.

Exam Exemptions

California lists no exemptions for the Fundamentals of Surveying exam.

License by Comity

If the applicant has passed the FS exam in another state, the applicant will not be required to take the FS exam a second time, provided the exam was an 8-hour written LSIT/FS exam. Proof of taking and passing this examination must be verifiable by the appropriate state‟s Engineering Board.

FS Exam Details

Designed for students who are within one year of completing their undergraduate degree, the Fundementals of Surveying exam is typically the first step in becoming fully licensed as a Professional Land Surveyor.  This 8 hour, 170 multiple choice exam is split into a 4 hour morning session, and a 4 hour afternoon session.  The FS exam is closed book, and each examinee will be given a reference manual on exam day.  A pdf outlining this reference material may be downloaded from NCEES as a study aid at no charge. Refer to the FS exam specifications provided by NCEES for a detailed breakdown of what will be tested in the Fundamental of Surveying exam.

Continuing Education Requirements

Continuing education is not required for those holding an LSIT certification.

License Renewal

The LSIT certification does not expire, and is not subject to renewal.

 

California Engineer-in-Training Certification

Under California law, certification as an Engineer-in-Training is the first step toward becoming a licensed Professional Engineer.

Requirements for Licensure

Engineer-in-Training (EIT) certification applicants must have:

  • Three years or more of postsecondary (college-level) engineering education.
  • OR three years or more of engineering-related work experience.
  • OR a combination of postsecondary (college-level) engineering education and engineering-related work experience totaling three years.
  • AND Previously passed the NCEES Fundamentals of Engineering exam.

Application Process

The Engineer-in-Training application process for California is new as of the October 2012 examination.  New candidates now apply to sit for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam directly through NCEES (the FE exam author and administrator). To earn the Engineer-in-Training certification, each applicant must register for the Fundamentals examination on the NCEES website (navigate to https://app.ncees.org/emsLogin/ to begin the registration process).  pay the NCEES examination fee, which is $125 at the time of this writing, and sit for the Fundamentals examination. Examinees who pass the examination then apply to the Board of Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists, and pay the application fee of $50.00 (at the time of this writing) to be issued a certificate as an Engineer-in-Training.

Exam Exemptions

Individuals who’ve completed one of the following are exempt from taking the Fundamentals of Engineering exam:

  • Taken and passed the Fundamentals of Engineering exam in another state
  • Obtained a BS degree in engineering from an ABET accredited program and completed 15 years of qualifying work experience
  • Obtained a BS and a Masters degree in engineering from an ABET accredited program and completed 14 years of qualifying work experience
  • Obtained a BS degree in engineering technology from an ABET accredited program and completed 17 years of qualifying work experience
  • Obtained a BS degree in engineering technology and a Masters degree in engineering from an ABET accredited program and completed 16 years of qualifying work experience
  • Obtained a BS degree in engineering from a non-ABET accredited program and completed 17 years of qualifying work experience
  • Obtained a BS degree in engineering from a non-ABET accredited program and a Masters degree in engineering from an ABET accredited program and completed 16 years of qualifying work experience
Further elaboration on the above mentioned exemptions may be found on page 3 of the pdf document at http://www.bpelsg.ca.gov/applicants/faq_eng.pdf.

License by Comity

If the applicant has passed the Fundamentals of Engineering exam in another state, the applicant will not be required to take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam a second time, provided the exam was an 8-hour written EIT/FE exam. Proof of taking and passing this examination must be verifiable by the appropriate state’s Engineering Board.

Fundamentals of Engineering Exam Details

Designed for students who are within one year of completing their undergraduate degree in engineering, the Fundamentals of Engineering exam is typically the first step in becoming fully licensed as a Professional Engineer. A 4 hour general morning session, and a 4 hour discipline specific afternoon session constitute the 8 hour, multiple choice exam.  All examinees are  required to take the same morning exam, which tests basic math, science and engineering knowledge typically obtained in the first 2 years of an ABET accredited engineering program.    The afternoon portion of the exam tests engineering discipline specific knowledge typically gained in the first 3 years of an ABET accredited program.  Examinees choose 1 of the following 7 modules for the afternoon portion of the exam (click on the link for exam details) :

The FE exam is closed book, and each examinee will be given a reference manual on exam day.  A copy of this manual may be purchased at http://www.ncees.org/Exams/Study_materials.php?exam=FE&product=1R   for review prior to exam day.

Continuing Education Requirements

Continuing education is not required for those holding an Engineer-in-Training certification.

License Renewal

The Engineer-in-Training certification does not expire, and is not subject to renewal.

 

California Board Contact Information

California Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologist

Address:

2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 300,
Sacramento, CA 95833-2944

General Contact Information:

Toll Free: (866)780-5370
Local Phone: (916) 263-2222
Fax: (916)263-2221
Email: bpels_office@dca.ca.gov

Website:

URL: http://www.bpelsg.ca.gov/

Contacts:

Name: Susan Christ, Professional Engineer (Civil)
Title: Staff Engineer
Phone: (916) 263-2247
Email: Susan.Christ@dca.ca.gov
Name: Mike Donelson, Professional Engineer (Electrical)
Title: Staff Engineer
Phone: (916) 572-7357
Email: Mike.Donelson@dca.ca.gov
Name: Joyce Hirano, Professional Engineer (Civil)
Title: Staff Engineer
Phone: (916) 263-5438
Email: Joyce.Hirano@dca.ca.gov
Name: Ray Mathe, Professional Land Surveyor
Title: Staff Land Surveyor
Phone: (916) 263-2271
Email: Raymond.Mathe@dca.ca.gov

Get Answers to Specific Questions

If you have questions about  Professional Engineering or Professional Land Surveying licensure qualifications, applications, examination results or about the reinstatement of a delinquent license contact one of the following evaluators.  Note that the evaluator assigned to you is based on the first letter of your last name. 

Name: Evaluator 1
Assigned: A through G
Phone: (916) 304-3641
Email: BPELS_Evaluator1@dca.ca.gov
Name: Evaluator 2
Assigned: H through N
Phone: (916) 263-2252
Email: BPELS_Evaluator2@dca.ca.gov
Name: Evaluator 3
Assigned: O through Z
Phone: (916) 263-1436
Email: BPELS_Evaluator3@dca.ca.gov

Other Miscellaneous Questions:

If you have questions about the California specific examinations contact the board at:

Phone: (916) 263-2271
Email: BPELSG_Exam_Info@dca.ca.gov

If you have questions about the Engineer-in-Training or Land Surveyor-in-Training certification qualifications, applications, and/or exam results contact the board at:

Phone: (916) 263-2232
Email: BPELS_EIT_LSIT@dca.ca.gov

To request license verification to be sent to another state, contact the board at:

Phone: (916) 263-1567
Email: BPELS_License_Verifications@dca.ca.gov

Order a Professional Engineer and/or Professional Land Surveyor Roster:

Rosters may be ordered through the Department of Consumer Affairs at http://www.dca.ca.gov/consumer/public_info/sc_available.shtml, or by contacting the following departments:

Public Sales Department
Phone: (916) 574-8150
Email: public_sales@dca.ca.gov
Public Information Department
Phone: (916) 574-8100
Email: public.information@dca.ca.gov

The cost to order a roster is 235.00 for the standard version, and 245.00 for a custom list.