Illinois Structural Engineering License

Illinois licenses professional engineers and structural engineers separately.  To practice as a structural engineer, one must hold a structural engineering license in the state of Illinois.

Requirements for Licensure

Structural Engineering applicants must have:

  • a 4 Year ABET accredited engineering degree and 4 years of work experience.
  • OR a 4 year unaccredited engineering degree and 8 years of work experience.
  • OR a 4 year related science degree and 8 years of work experience.
  • AND Previously passed the NCEES Fundamentals of Engineering exam.
  • AND Previously passed the NCEES 16 hour Structural Engineering exam.

A degree in engineering technology does not meet the education requirements for the state of Illinois. Refer to the board for more information on the above listed requirements.

Approved work experience is gained as follows:

  • 1 year is given for the successful completion of a master’s degree in engineering.
  • 2 years is given for the successful completion of a doctorate.
  • The maximum credit given for graduate study is 2 years total.
  • 1 year is given for the completion of a certified cooperative program with field experience of at least 1 academic year alternating with periods of full-time academic training.
  • Credit for structural engineering experience earned prior to receipt of baccalaureate degree is given provided the experience is full time and the applicant takes 8 or more years to earn the degree as a part-time student.
  • The remainder of the experience must be earned under the direct supervision of a licensed structural engineer. In at least the last two years of experience, the applicant shall have had primary responsibility for the engineering activities.
  • All experience must be verified and submitted with the application.

Application Process

The Structural Engineering application process requires four steps:

  1. Apply to qualify for the examination through the board, pay the $100.00 fee, and wait for approval to register for the exam. The following must be included with your application:
    • Official Transcripts
    • Verification of employment (form VE-SEG) for CO-OP program (if claiming this credit. must be returned to you in a sealed envelope to be included with the application)
    • Verification of Employment (form VE-SEG) for all work experience (must be returned to you in a sealed envelope to be included with the application)
    • Verification of examination (form CT-SEG) for the jurisdictions in which the FE, PE, and/or SE were passed (not required if exams were taken in Illinois)
    • Check for the fee of $100.00 made payable to Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
  2. Apply for the Structural Engineering exam directly through NCEES, and obtain an NCEES ID.
  3. Apply to Continental Testing Servicesfor the Structural Engineering exam, and pay the $1,020.00 fee (includes both the Lateral and Vertical structural exams).
  4. Pass the Structural Engineering exam.

Exam Exemptions

No exemptions are listed.

License by Comity

If the applicant has passed the SE exam, and is a licensed structural engineer in another state, he or she may apply for an Illinois structural engineering license by comity.  Simply complete the License by Endorsement application. The fee for this application is $100.00.

To simplify the application process, Illinois accepts the NCEES record.

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

Illinois requires continuing education to help safeguard life, health, and property, and to promote public welfare. To demonstrate continuing professional competency, the licensed engineer must earn 30 Professional Development Hours (PDH) per biennial renewal period.

Approved Activities:

Continuing professional activities which satisfy the professional development requirements are as follows (provided these activities are relevant to the practice of structural engineering):

  • Successfully completing university sponsored courses.
  • Successfully completing courses which are awarded continuing education units (CEU).
  • Successfully completing tutorials, televised courses, short courses, correspondence courses, or videotaped courses.
  • Attending seminars, in-house programs, workshops, or professional or technical presentations made at meetings, conventions, or conferences.
  • Teaching, presenting, or instructing in any of the above mentioned courses.
  • Authoring published papers, articles, books, or accepted licensing examination items.
  • Receiving a United States patent.
  • Active participation on a committee or holding an office in a professional or technical society. 2 PDHs are awarded per committee membership or office held.  A maximum of 10 PDHs may be accepted per renewal period.

A maximum of 10 PDHs per renewal period may be earned from completion of self-administered courses, provided each self-administered course includes an exam graded by the sponsor. A maximum of 10 PDHs per renewal period may be claimed for in-house courses.

The board does not preapprove any Continuing Professional Competency activities. It is the responsibility of each licensee to determine if the claimed PDH meets these requirements.


Continuing Professional Competency activities must meet the following criteria:

  • Contribute to the advancement, extension or enhancement of the professional skills and/or scientific knowledge of the licensee in practice of structural engineering.
  • Foster the enhancement of general or specialized practice and values of structural engineering, related sciences and engineering ethics;
  • Be developed and presented by persons with education and/or experience in the subject matter of the program.


The conversion to PDH from other units is as follows:

  • 1 University semester hour = 15 PDH
  • 1 University quarter hour = 10 PDH
  • 1 Continuing education unit (CEU) = 10 PDH
  • 1 Hour of acceptable professional development = 1 PDH
  • Authorship of papers, articles, or books = preparation time (not to exceed 10 PDH) – Cannot be claimed until published
  • Receipt of a US patent = preparation time (not to exceed 10 PDH)
  • Teaching or instructing qualifying courses or seminars, or making presentations at technical meetings, earns PDH at three times that of participants. Repetitious programs may not garner additional credit.

The board accepts self study courses provided an examination has been completed by the licensee and graded by the sponsor.

Carryover limit:

The Illinois board does not allow carryover of professional development hours.

Continuing Professional Competency Exemptions:

licensees may be exempt from the continuing professional competency requirements for one of the following reasons:

  • A non-career military licensee serving on active duty during a substantial part of the prerenewal period.
  • A licensee who has experienced serious illness or injury of a nature and duration which has prohibited completing the continuing professional competency requirements. To claim this exemption, a letter from a physician must be supplied to the board.
  • A physical inability to travel to the sites of approved programs documented by a currently licensed physician.
  • Any other similar extenuating circumstance.

A request for waiver of continuing education requirements must be made prior to the renewal date.

New Licensees:

New licensees are exempt from the continuing education requirements for the first renewal of their structural engineering license.


It is the licensees responsibility to maintain continuing education records. At minimum, these records must include a log showing the type of activity claimed, sponsoring organization, location, duration, instructor’s or speaker’s name, and PDH credits earned. Records must also include attendance verification in the form of completion certificates, signed attendance receipts, paid receipts, a copy of a listing of attendees signed by the sponsoring organization, or other proof of attendance. These records must be maintained for a period of 4 years, and copies must be furnished to the board, if requested for auditing purposes.

License Renewal

The license renewal period is 2 years in the state of Illinois, and licenses expire on November 30th of each even numbered year.  The yearly Structural Engineering license renewal fee is $30.00, equating to a $60.00 fee per renewal period.

It is important to keep your address updated with IDFPR to ensure license renewal notifications are sent to the correct locations.  It is the licensees sole responsibility to maintain licensure with Illinois.

Leave a Reply