Instructions on How to Apply for a Geotechnical Engineer License

California grants the authority to use the title "Geotechnical Engineer" to licensed Civil Engineers who meet all licensure requirements including passing the required examination.

The following instructions summarize the requirements for licensure as a Geotechnical 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.

Geotechnical Engineer Application Filing Process

Process Flowcharts-Scheduling Exams and Applying for Licensure

Each applicant for authority to use the title "Geotechnical Engineer" must:

  • Hold a valid and current license as a Civil Engineer in California.
  • Provide evidence showing four (4) years of qualifying, full-time experience.  Experience must be documented on Geotechnical Engineer Engagement Record and Reference Forms
    Review the information on What Constitutes a Satisfactory Reference.
  • Pass the required examination.
  • Supply the Board with proof of completing the fingerprinting requirement upon submittal of application for licensure. Review the Fingerprinting FAQs for information and instructions on how to meet the requirement.
  • Pay the required fees.

    It is the applicant's responsibility to submit a complete application package. A partial application packet will not be considered for evaluation.

    Review the application checklist included with the Application for License as a Geotechnical Engineer to ensure that you are submitting all required documentation along with your application.  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.

    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).

    Qualifying experience must be gained while you are validly and currently licensed as a Civil Engineer. You may count experience up to the date you file your application.

  • This consists of professional level employment "in responsible charge" of major projects. It does not include overtime, trainee, orientation programs, any work done before initial licensure as a Civil Engineer, or work done on exempt structures as defined in Business and Professions Code section 6737.1 .

    Experience must cover at least 50% of the major areas of geotechnical engineering. You may receive one (1) year of qualifying experience credit for a postgraduate degree if it is from a Board-approved curriculum in civil engineering which has a major emphasis in geotechnical engineering, and if the degree was not used for credit to obtain your Civil Engineering license. Transcripts must be submitted in a sealed envelope. No credit is allowed for teaching, but an instructor of geotechnical engineering in a Board-approved curriculum may receive qualifying experience credit on a proportional basis for geotechnical engineering consulting work that is substantiated by proper references.

    Qualifying experience must include a variety of experience in program development, analysis, and report preparation; it should also demonstrate working knowledge of field and lab studies and site monitoring. To qualify for licensure, you must furnish evidence of responsible charge experience in the first three items and provide evidence of working knowledge of the latter two.

    For work experience to be accepted as satisfactory, each engagement must be separate and distinct - dual credit will not be allowed for overlapping engagements.

    The term "responsible charge" means the process of exercising control and direction of professional engineering work, and making engineering decisions which can only be made by a Professional Engineer. Responsible charge directly relates to the span or degree of control over projects that a Professional Engineer is required to maintain.

    The span of control necessary to be "in responsible charge" is such that the engineer:

    (1) Personally makes engineering decisions concerning a project, including consideration of alternatives, or reviews and approves proposed decisions prior to their implementation, whenever such decisions affect the health, safety, or welfare of the public; and

    (2)Judges the qualifications of technical specialists and the validity and applicability of their recommendations before such recommendations are incorporated into the work.

    When making critical engineering decisions, the engineer must be physically present or be available by telephone or other communication devices within a reasonable period of time. The engineer must be a licensed Civil Engineer in the state where the work experience took place in order for that engagement to qualify as "responsible charge."

    Examination Schedule
    Information regarding the examination
    Information regarding examination Special/Religious Accommodations