Structural Engineer Application

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

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

Neither U.S. Citizenship nor California residency is required for licensure; 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.



Legacy Applicants:

Legacy applicants (applicants who submitted a paper application, approved before the launch of Structural Engineer applications in BPELSG Connect) do not need to submit an application in BPELSG Connect and do not need to contact the Board once they have passed the NCEES PE Structural Exam (for information on the exams acceptable for licensure view the FAQs Regarding the Structural Engineer (SE) Exam). License numbers, for legacy applicants who have passed the exam and met all licensure requirements, will be automatically issued every two (2) weeks. Applicants can search by name on License Lookup to check if their license number has been issued. 

Applicants who are unsure if they need to submit an application in BPELSG Connect should submit an email to with their full name and a description of their circumstances.

New Applicants:

NCEES has converted the 16-hour Structural Exam to a computer-based testing (CBT) format.  View the NCEES website for detailed information.

Applicants cannot submit an application for Structural Engineer licensure until they have passed the NCEES PE Structural Exam and satisfied the following requirements:


For information on the exams acceptable for licensure view the FAQs Regarding the Structural Engineer (SE) Exam.  Applicants who have not passed an accepted exam should proceed directly to NCEES to create and/or login to their MyNCEES account and register.

Once an applicant has passed an acceptable exam scenario and has the required qualifying experience, they can submit an application for licensure using BPELSG Connect.  For additional information, view Structural Engineer Application Instructions

There is no final filing date.  Applications can be submitted and will be accepted on a continuous basis. 

Once an applicant submits an application through BPELSG Connect, they will be able to login to their user profile to monitor the status of the application review and address any deficiencies.

Do not contact the Board for status updates; applicants should login to their BPELSG Connect account and refer to their dashboard for status updates. View the Application Status Definitions for detailed information.

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

  • Hold an unexpired, valid California Civil Engineer license.
  • Satisfy the work experience requirements in accordance with Title 16, California Code of Regulations section 426.10(b)
  • Passed the NCEES PE Structural Exam before application submittal.  For information on the exams acceptable for Structural Engineer licensure view the FAQs Regarding the Structural Engineer (SE) Exam.
  • All applicants are required to supply the Board with a full set of fingerprints upon submittal of an application for licensure/certification.  If a Structural Engineer 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.

It is the applicant's responsibility to submit a complete application in BPELSG Connect. A partial application will not be considered for evaluation.  Applicants should review the Application Instructions to ensure they are submitting all required documentation along with their application.

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. If an applicant fails 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).


Structural engineering qualifying experience is counted three (3) years from the date of licensure as a Civil Engineer in California or three (3) years from the date of licensure as a Civil Engineer in another state.

Structural engineering qualifying experience consists of professional practice in responsible charge of structural engineering projects. It does not include overtime, trainee, or 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.

Qualifying experience shall include structural design experience in all areas as follows:

  • Use of three (3) of the four (4) common construction materials – Steel, Concrete, Wood, and Masonry
  • Determination of lateral forces – seismic or wind
  • Selection of framing systems
  • Selection of foundation systems
  • Application of code requirements
  • Multi-story buildings or equivalent multi-level structures

Checking of structural engineering plans and calculations is also considered qualifying experience provided that the work is performed under the immediate supervision of, and certified to, by a licensed Structural Engineer and demonstrates structural engineering experience in all areas listed above.

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, or legally authorized to practice structural engineering in the state where the work experience took place, in order for that engagement to qualify as "responsible charge."  “Responsible charge” doesn’t mean signing/stamping, but instead making engineering decisions/recommendations that only a Professional Engineer can make.

Applicants who have been licensed and practicing in another state may apply prior to three (3) years after obtaining their license as a Civil Engineer in California under certain circumstances. The Board will consider an application submitted sooner than three (3) years after licensure as a Civil Engineer in California by a person who meets any of the following requirements:

  • Has practiced under the exemption for officers and employees of the government of the United States of America; or
  • Has practiced in responsible charge in another state (licensure in another state does not allow for responsible charge experience in California); or
  • Has practiced in responsible charge in another country.


The Board will accept an applicant under any one of the above conditions provided that the applicant has at least three (3) additional years of experience in structural engineering work in excess of those six (6) years required for the Civil Engineer license.