As a licensed professional engineer, there are certain situations where you may need to obtain a PE license in another state. In this article (and video above), I talk about if, and how, you can get licensed in states other than the one where you passed the PE exam.
You worked hard and passed the PE exam, and now, you want plan to use it in states other than the one in which you took the exam. Can you receive permission to do so? The answer is yes you can, but unfortunately, earning a professional engineering license in one state does not automatically make you eligible to obtain the license in other states.
Why You Would Need To Become Licensed in Other States?
Maybe your firm does work in multiple states, so you need to have the flexibility to work in different states, or maybe you are relocating to another state and you want to maintain your ability to sign and seal plans in your new home state.
Some engineers might be targeting work or employment in another state and they feel that having the license in that state ahead of time gives them a leg up on opportunities there. And I agree it can give you a HUGE advantage over other candidates.
Here is the Process of Getting Licensed in a State Other Than the One You Passed the Exam In
States do vary in their requirements for what one needs to submit to gain what is often referred to as ‘reciprocity’ or the ability to transfer your PE license to another state, but the following requirements are typically the same across the board. You’ll need:
- Proof of passing the PE exam,
- Completed state-specific paperwork for the state you are transferring to,
- School transcripts or supplementary experience records and references, and the
- Completed state-specific PE license application to that State.
You will need to submit all of these items, which is why it is important to always keep good records of your working experience throughout your career.
Since you’re already licensed in one state, you are one huge step closer to obtaining your PE license in a different state. Keep in mind, if your previous professional engineering license expired prior to filling out a license application for another state, you may be considered an unlicensed applicant and might have to take the PE licensure exam again, however this does vary state by state.
The common thought many engineers have is that they can achieve multi-state licensure by reciprocity, meaning that another state will automatically recognize a license held in another state. However, this is not always the case. Those trying to obtain their license in another state must meet the same requirements as those that initially apply in the state.
If your current PE license is in good standing, typically obtaining a new license in another state is as simple as filling out some paperwork and an application. This is considered licensure by comity. This just means that most states allow a licensed professional engineer in one state to become licensed in another by meeting all of their application requirements. If you received your license on different standards, maybe it was a long time ago and there were less requirements, it may be more difficult for you to become licensed by comity in another state.
A Temporary Engineering License
Some states allow licensed engineers from other states to obtain a temporary engineering license in their state. States typically grant these licenses for the duration of one project or over the course of one year. The state board website will indicate whether this is an option for your state and what the rules are. A temporary license may not be an option for the state in question. If not, you will need to follow the application process in that state to practice engineering.
Here’s One Way NCEES Can Help You Obtain Your PE License in Various States
The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (also known as NCEES) has made getting a PE license in a different state easier with their Council Records Program. This program compiles all of your license credentials in one place. Your record will include most – if not all – of the records and paperwork you’ll need to apply for licensure in other states. The process of getting started with this program is as simple as applying for an NCEES Record. Once your record is established, they’ll even electronically submit it to the licensing board on your behalf.
It’s important to remember that each state in which you hold a license requires that you keep up with their continuing education requirements. Typically, each continuing education hour applies to each state. For instance, if Texas requires 13 continuing education hours per year, then you can apply the same 13 hours to other states that you are licensed. Just keep in mind that other states may require a different number of hours or their content requirements might be different, for example New York is more strict around the content being technical in nature for their PDH courses.
It’s critical that you, as a professional engineer, stay informed of and always adhere to the laws of each state you are working in. You are responsible for staying abreast of changes. Your work and actions must meet the standards of the states you are licensed in.
There you have it, you can apply for licensure in other states, but you might also look into whether a temporary license is an option for you depending on the scope of the work you will be doing and the timeframe, especially if your work there will be short-lived.
Becoming a Licensed Professional Engineer in Another State
New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers
How to Become a Licensed Professional Engineer in Other States
Council Records Program
The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying
I hope you found this article helpful. In upcoming articles, I will solve some more PE exam practice problems and answer other questions from our subscribers.
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Lastly, I encourage you to ask questions in the comments of this video, or on this page and I’ll read and respond to them in future videos. So if there’s a specific topic you want me to cover or answer, we have you covered.
I’ll see you next week… on Pass the PE Exam
Anthony Fasano, P.E.
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success