Instructions on How to Apply for a California Professional Land Surveyor License

GENERAL
California grants the authority to practice land surveying to applicants who meet all licensure requirements, including passing the required examinations.

The following instructions summarize the requirements for licensure as a Professional Land Surveyor, but they are not intended to apply to every situation. The applicant is responsible for complying with the current requirements of the Professional Land Surveyors' Act and the Board Rules and Regulations.  If conflicts arise, the Professional Land Surveyors’ 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.

ELIGIBILITY AND EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS
An applicant for licensure as a Professional Land Surveyor must meet the qualifying experience requirements outlined in Business and Professions Code section 8742, and Title 16, California Code of Regulations section 425. 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.

It is the applicant's responsibility to compile and submit a complete application package that demonstrates that the applicant is fully qualified for licensure as a Professional Land Surveyor.  Review the application checklist included with the Application for Licensure as a Professional Land Surveyor to ensure that you have included all required documentation 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).

Each applicant must:

  • Pass the NCEES Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) examination.
  • Provide evidence showing six (6) years of equivalent full-time experience in land surveying, including other credits, with one (1) year each being responsible field and responsible office training.  Experience must be documented on Professional Land Surveyor Engagement Record and Reference Forms. Additional information regarding the form is located on the reference instructions.
  • Pass the NCEES Principles and Practice of Surveying (PS) examination.
  • Pass the California state-specific Professional Land Surveyor examination.
  • Pass the California Professional Land Surveyors State Laws and Board Rules Exam (Take Home Exam)
  • 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.

The experience requirements must be met under the responsible charge of a Professional Land Surveyor or a Professional Civil Engineer who is authorized to practice land surveying.

Each applicant shall be granted education credit towards the six (6) years of qualifying experience based on no more than one of the following alternatives (they may not be combined):

  • A maximum of four (4) years of experience will be granted for graduation from a Board-approved curriculum with an emphasis in land surveying. Sealed transcripts must be provided to receive experience credit.
  • One-half year of experience will be granted for each year of study in a Board-approved curriculum without graduation. Sealed transcripts must be provided to receive experience credit.

APPLICATION FILING PROCESS
Applying for Licensure as a Professional Land Surveyor
Requesting a Waiver of the Fundamentals of Surveying Exam when Applying for Licensure as a Professional Land Surveyor
Process Flowcharts-Scheduling Exams and Applying for Licensure  

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR APPLICANTS APPLYING FOR A WAIVER OF THE FUNDAMENTALS OF SURVEYING (FS) EXAM

Professional Land Surveyor applicants who are applying for a waiver of the NCEES Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) exam [also known as a Land Surveyor-in-Training (LSIT) waiver] need to submit a complete application package as described on the application checklist included with the Application for Licensure as a Professional Land Surveyor.   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. 

The NCEES Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) exam requirement (see Business and Professions Code section 8741) may be waived provided an applicant meets any one of the following conditions:

  • Has a valid license as a Civil Engineer in California.
  • Is a graduate of an approved four-year land surveying curriculum and submits satisfactory evidence of 15 years or more of qualifying experience.   Experience must be documented on Professional Land Surveyor Engagement Record and Reference Forms.  Additional information regarding the form is located on the reference instructions.  Proof of graduation (sealed transcripts) must be submitted.
  • Is a graduate of a non-approved land surveying curriculum, with a B.S. degree or equivalent, and submits satisfactory evidence of 17 years or more of qualifying experience.  Experience must be documented on Professional Land Surveyor Engagement Record and Reference Forms.  Additional information regarding the form is located on the reference instructions.  Proof of graduation (sealed transcripts) must be submitted.
  • Holds a valid LSIT certificate from another state.

A flowchart depicting the requirements
Information about the application process

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR COMITY APPLICANTS

Applicants licensed in another state (comity applicants) must meet the same application requirements as all other applicants. This includes submitting all of the required documentation indicated on the application checklist that is included with the Application for Licensure as a Professional Land Surveyor.

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. 

LICENSED CIVIL ENGINEERS APPLYING FOR PROFESSIONAL LAND SURVEYOR LICENSE
If you are a licensed Professional Civil Engineer and wish to apply for licensure as a Professional Land Surveyor, you must submit a complete application demonstrating that you have two (2) years of actual broad based progressive experience in land surveying, as required by Business and Professions Code section 8742 and Title 16, California Code of Regulations section 425. Applicants must meet all other application requirements.

EXAMINATION INFORMATION
View the Examination Schedule for exam dates.

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

Information regarding the state-specific examination

Information regarding examination Special/Religious Accommodations