Information and Instructions: California Geotechnical Engineer Application

It is in your best interest to ensure your application is as complete and thorough as possible, giving sufficient detail to allow thorough review and evaluation and demonstrating that you are fully qualified to take the geotechnical engineer examination.
Applicants will not be allowed to sit for the examination if they have not met the Board's requirements.

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


  • Complete and sign the application. Applications must be completed online or typed. Make a copy to keep for yourself.
  • Submit a check or money order made payable to the "Department of Consumer Affairs" for the appropriate fees found on the Board Fee Schedule found HERE.
  • A minimum of four signed and sealed/stamped envelopes from your references containing Part A and Part B of the Engagement Record and Reference Form. Your references must place their seal/wet-stamp over the sealed flap of the envelope. You may provide the envelopes. Do NOT open the envelopes -- they must be sealed to be considered. Click here for information on what constitutes a satisfactory reference.
  • College transcripts IF you are claiming education credit. Envelopes from the college must be unopened. For additional information please see the flowchart.
  • Certified copies of court documents for any criminal convictions required to be disclosed in response to Question 9 on the application. If you are unable to obtain certified copies of the court documents, you must provide the name/location of the court, the case number (if known), and the date of the conviction, along with a description of the criminal conviction, in the Remarks section of the application.

GENERAL - California grants the authority to use the title "Geotechnical Engineer" to licensed civil engineers who successfully meet the requirements for licensure based on qualifying experience and successful completion of the examination. This application is required with evidence of experience and references.

  • The name you use on this application must be the same as the name on your civil license. If you wish to change your name on your civil license, please complete, sign and send the Name Change Affidavit to the Board.
  • The address you use on the application will be your address of record. Licensees' names and addresses are public records and are published in both electronic and print media, as well as disclosed upon request to the Board. You may choose to use a home address, a post office box, or a business address. If you wish to change your address of record for your civil license, use the Address Change Affidavit.

This information is a summary of some of the important requirements relating to certification to use the title "Geotechnical Engineer." It is not intended to apply to every situation. You are responsible for complying with the current complete requirements in the Professional Engineers Act and the Board Rules and Regulations.
Eligibility - 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 years of qualifying, full-time experience.
  • pass the required examination.
  • pay the required fees.

Neither U.S. citizenship nor California residence is required. However, disclosure of your social security number or individual taxpayer identification number is mandatory. U.S. citizens who do not have a social security number may contact their local United States Social Security Office at 1-800-722-1213 or Non-U.S. citizens without a social security number may request an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from the Department of Treasury (Internal Revenue Service) at (215) 516-4846 or

Experience Requirements -
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.

Qualifying Experience -
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 Section 6737.1 of the Business and Professions Code. Experience must cover at least 50% of the major areas of geotechnical engineering. You may receive one 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.

Definition of "responsible charge" - 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:

  • 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
  • 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 DATES/LOCATIONS - The Geotechnical Engineering Examination is administered as a computer based examination twice a year. Click HERE for more information.

CANCELLATION OF APPLICATION AND FORFEITURE OF FEE - Any of the following actions will result in cancellation of the application and forfeiture of the application fee:

  • failure to appear for examination as scheduled
  • failure to respond to a request from the Board for information within 90 days from the date of mailing of such a request.