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 submit a complete application that demonstrates that the applicant is fully qualified for licensure as a Professional Land Surveyor.
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 submitted to the Board for their records. If applicants fail to provide additional information or references within 90 days following the 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) exam (unless approved for a FS waiver).
- Pass the NCEES Principles and Practice of Surveying (PS) exam.
- Pass the California state-specific Professional Land Surveyor exam.
- Pass the California Professional Land Surveyors State Laws and Rules exam.
- Provide evidence showing six (6) years of equivalent full-time experience in land surveying, including other credits, with one (1) year each being in responsible field and responsible office training.
- All applicants are required to supply the Board with a full set of fingerprints upon submittal of an application for licensure/certification. If a Professional Land Surveyor applicant has submitted fingerprints with a previous application to the Board, resubmittal with a subsequent application is required if it has been 24 months or more since the last submittal of fingerprints. Please view the Fingerprinting FAQs for detailed information.
- 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 educational 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.
- One-half year of experience will be granted for each year of study in a Board-approved curriculum without graduation.
APPLICATION AND APPLICATION FILING PROCESS
All applicants are required to supply the Board with a full set of fingerprints upon submittal of an application for licensure/certification. If a Professional Land Surveyor applicant has submitted fingerprints with a previous application to the Board, resubmittal with a subsequent application is required if it has been 24 months or more since the last submittal of fingerprints. Please view the Fingerprinting FAQs for detailed information.
- Applying for Licensure as a Professional Land Surveyor
- Process Flowcharts-Scheduling Exams and Applying for Licensure
- How to Use BPELSG Connect to Complete and Submit a PLS Application
- BPELSG Connect (Carefully follow all instructions within BPELSG Connect)
- Work Experience Engagement/Reference Instructions for Professional Land Surveyor Applicants
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR APPLICANTS APPLYING FOR A WAIVER OF THE NCEES 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. The applicant must check the box on the application indicating that they are seeking a waiver. The information submitted with the application must substantiate that the requirements have been met. View the FS Waiver page and the FS Waiver Flowchart for additional information.
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.
- 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.
- Holds a valid LSIT certificate from another state.
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 the required information and documentation.
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 (formerly known as NCEES Council Records) in lieu of Work Experience Engagements/References and transcripts, 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 PROFESSIONAL CIVIL ENGINEERS APPLYING FOR PROFESSIONAL LAND SURVEYOR LICENSURE
Applicants who are licensed as a Professional Civil Engineer and wish to apply for licensure as a Professional Land Surveyor, must submit a complete application demonstrating that they 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.