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: Neither U.S. Citizenship nor California residency is required; however, disclosure of your Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number is mandatory. Your application will not be processed without it.  Additional information is located on the Information Collection, Access and Disclosure page.

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.There is a flowchart depicting the requirements.

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.


Process Flowcharts-Scheduling Exams and Applying for Licensure

These instructions apply to all Professional Engineer applicants, including Professional Engineer applicants that are applying for a waiver of the Fundamentals 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: Complete the application in its entirety. The application must be typed, and an original/wet signature is required on each page. Handwritten forms will not be accepted in accordance with Title 16, California Code of Regulations section 420(a)(1).
  • Application for License as a Professional Engineer (Including:  Agricultural, Chemical, Control Systems, Electrical, Fire Protection, Industrial, Mechanical, Metallurgical, Nuclear, and Petroleum Engineer)
  • Application for License as a Civil Engineer
  • Application for License as a Traffic Engineer
  • FEES:  Submit the appropriate fees as indicated on the first page of the application. Submit one check or money order payable to the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA).
  • 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. Review the 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 degree 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: If licensed as a Professional Engineer in another state, submit a license verification using the verification system available through NCEES. Login to your NCEES account and request that the license verification(s) be sent to the Board.
  • VERIFICATION OF EXAM(S):  Submit copies of your NCEES exam results for the NCEES exams that you have passed in California or in another state. Login to your NCEES account and print out copies of the exam result(s).
  • SUBMIT PROOF OF COMPLETING THE FINGERPRINTING REQUIREMENT:  Applicants must submit proof of completing the fingerprinting requirement unless they have fulfilled the requirement with a prior application to this Board (i.e. Applicants who have fulfilled the requirement with their California Engineer-in-Training application). Applicants who still need to fulfill the requirement must submit a copy of the completed Live Scan Form (applicants who reside or are currently located in California) or Fingerprint Cards (applicants who reside or are currently located outside of California). For additional information, review the Fingerprinting FAQs.
  • CALIFORNIA PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS STATE LAWS AND BOARD RULES EXAM (TAKE HOME EXAM): Applicants are required to take and pass the exam to ensure that they are familiar with the laws and regulations that govern the practice.  The exam answer sheet must be submitted with the application. 
  • SUBMIT ALL DOCUMENTS IN ONE ENVELOPE:  Put the application, all supporting documentation, and payment in one envelope. Do not submit the documents separately. Submitting the documents separately will significantly delay the processing of your application.
  • USE A MAIL TRACKING OR DELIVERY CONFIRMATION SYSTEM:  Use a mail tracking or delivery confirmation system to confirm the Board’s receipt of your application. Due to the large volume of applications received by the Board, the Board cannot confirm receipt of applications or provide status checks. Communication regarding your application status will be sent to you via email (including emails from Board staff requesting additional documentation regarding your application, and notification of application approval).

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 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 NCEES 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 Fundamentals 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. 
Review the application filing process for requesting a waiver of the FE examFor information regarding the qualification requirements, review Business and Professionals Code section 6755 and Title 16, California Code of Regulations section 438(a).  There is also an EIT waiver flowchart depicting the requirements.

National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) exam information is located on the NCEES website.

Information regarding the state-specific examinations

Information regarding examination Special/Religious Accommodations