Engineering Firm Licensing

A business entity offering engineering services to the public typically must register with the State Board of Engineers and receive a Certificate of Authorization. The Certificate of Authorization, or firm license, is necessary to practice engineering in about 75% of states. Firms practicing without one can be liable for steep penalty fees.

License and Registration Requirements for Engineering Firms

View our 50-state engineering firm licensing requirements table

Licensure for engineering firms usually follows incorporation or foreign qualification of the business entity with the Secretary of State. Common legal structures for firms are corporations or professional corporations (PC), and limited liability companies (LLC) or professional LLCs. Incorporation refers to formation of the business entity, whereas foreign qualification refers to applying for a Certificate of Authority to transact business in another state.

After registration with the Secretary of State, firms must apply for a Certificate of Authorization through the relevant licensing board. It is worth noting that the Certificate of Authorization is a separate document from the Certificate of Authority used during foreign qualification. This can be a confusing for firms needing to file both documents, especially in Oklahoma and Missouri, where the licensing board form is also called a Certificate of Authority application. Applications and forms are fairly standard, but there are some differences from state to state.

Applications require proof of incorporation or foreign qualification and typically a fee. Other required items can include notarized bylaws and ownership requirements. For example, in North Carolina there are ownership requirements in order to obtain a Certificate of Authorization. A minimum of two-thirds of the controlling officers, partners, directors, or members of the entity must be engineers and/or professional engineers registered under the laws of any U.S. jurisdiction, and at least one must be an engineer registered in North Carolina.

Some states combine the applications for engineering, architecture and land surveying firm licensure into a single design firm application. Firms that provide more than one of these professional services may only need to fill out a single application but with a slightly higher application fee. Illinois, for instance, uses a general design firm application for architecture, land surveying, professional engineering, and structural engineering.

Initial Registration Fees

Fees for an initial license range from $0 to $600. Georgia and California do not require an application fee, while Alaska charges $600. The average firm fee is about $135 while the most common filing fee is $100.

Renewal Requirements

Firm license renewal varies by state. Slightly over half of the states that require a firm license call for licenses to be renewed every two years. Almost all other state licenses renew annually. California is an exception to this however, as licenses are only renewed when firm information changes.

Like initial application fees, renewal fees also vary by state. Fees range from just $10 in Georgia and to as much as $500 in Alaska. Firms can expect to pay closer to the national average of $115 when applying for a license, however, the most commonly applied fee is $50.

Alabama

More Info

Agency

Alabama Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$80

Form:

Online Renewal

Due:

Annually by January 31st.

Alaska

More Info

Agency

Alaska State Board of Registration for Architects, Engineers, and Land Surveyors

License Renewal

Fee:

$500

Due:

Biennially by December 31.

Arizona

More Info

Agency

Arizona State Board of Technical Registration

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$50

Form:

Firm Registration Form

Due:

Annually

Arkansas

More Info

Agency

Arkansas State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Professional Surveyors

Initial Application

License Renewal

California

More Info

Agency

California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors

Initial Application

License Renewal

Due:

Renewal only due when firm information changes

Colorado

More Info

Not required

Firm licenses are not currently required, however, individual engineers should register with the Board of Licensure.

Connecticut

More Info

Agency

Connecticut State Board of Examiners for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$375

Form:

Online

Due:

Annually

Delaware

More Info

Agency

Delaware Association of Professional Engineers

Initial Application

License Renewal

District of Columbia

More Info

Not required

Firm licenses are not currently required, however, individual engineers should register with the Board of Professional Engineering.

Florida

More Info

Agency

Florida Board of Professional Engineers (FBPE)

Initial Application

License Name:Certificate of AuthorizationFee:

$255

Form:

Certificate of Authorization Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$98.75

Form:

Online

Due:

Biennially by February 28

Georgia

More Info

Agency

Georgia Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors

License Renewal

Fee:

$10

Form:

Online

Due:

Biennial Renewal (June 30 of even-numbered years)

Hawaii

More Info

Not required

Business entities (corporation, limited liability company, partnership, etc.) do not require firm licensure to practice engineering in Hawaii as long as the person overseeing the professional work is a licensed professional engineer. 

Idaho

More Info

Agency

Idaho Board of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors (IPELS)

License Renewal

Fee:

$60

Form:

Online

Due:

Annually on the last day of the month that the COA was issued in.

Illinois

More Info

Agency

Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$75

Filing Method:

Online

Due:

By April 30 of odd-numbered years.

Indiana

More Info

Agency

Indiana Professional Licensing Agency: Board of Registration for Professional Engineers

License Renewal

Fee:

$20

Form:

Online

Due:

Annually

Iowa

More Info

Not required

Firm licenses are not currently required, however, individual engineers should register with the Bureau of Professional Licensing.

Kansas

More Info

Agency

Kansas State Board of Technical Professions: Engineering, Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Land Surveying

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$85

Form:

Online

Due:

Business Entities with names beginning with A-L renew by December 31 in even numbered years; M-Z renew by December 31 in odd numbered years. 

Kentucky

More Info

Agency

Kentucky Board of Engineers and Land Surveyors

Initial Application

Fee:

$100 for one practice or $150 for both

Form:

Application for Business Entity Permit

License Renewal

Fee:

$100 for one practice or $150 for both

Form:

Online

Due:

December 31 Annually

Louisiana

More Info

Agency

Louisiana Professional Engineering and Land Surveying Board

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$120

Form:

Online

Due:

Either March 31 or September 30 Biennially

Maine

More Info

Not required

A firm, copartnership, corporation or joint stock association may engage in the practice of professional engineering in Maine, provided that the practice is carried on only by professional engineers licensed in the State. See 32 M.R.S. § 1253.

Maryland

More Info

Agency

Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation: Board for Professional Engineers

Initial Application

Fee:

$0

Form:

Online

License Renewal

Fee:

$0

Form:

Online

Due:Biennially by the registration date.

Massachusetts

More Info

Not required

  • Although not requiring express licensure with the Board, a co- partnership, corporation or joint stock association may practice engineering provided that the person in direct charge, control, and supervision of the practice is a professional engineer holding a Massachusetts certificate of registration and is an active participant in the contracting, reporting, publishing, scheduling, etc. of professional services being offered by the firm.
  • Engineering firms may need to file a regulatory board certificate with the secretary of state prior to forming a professional entity.

Michigan

More Info

Not required

Engineering firms must receive approval from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs before offering engineering services to the public. Submit all required firm information and statements to the department in order to receive approval.

Minnesota

More Info

Agency

Minnesota Board of Architecture, Engineering, Land Surveying Landscape Architecture, Geoscience and Interior Design

Initial Application

Fee:

$100

Form:

A cover letter with contact information (a contact person name, firm name, address, phone number)

License Renewal

Fee:

$25

Due:

Annually by December 31.

Mississippi

More Info

Agency

Mississippi Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Surveyors

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$100

Due:

Annually by December 31

Missouri

More Info

Agency

Missouri Board For Architects, Professional Engineers, Professional Land Surveyors and Professional Landscape Architects

License Renewal

Fee:

$100

Due:

Biennially by December 31 of either odd or even years depending on when you apply.

Montana

More Info

Agency

Montana Board of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$25

Form:

Certificate of Authority Renewal

Due:

Annually by October 1

Nebraska

More Info

Agency

Nebraska Board of Engineers and Architects

Initial Application

Fee:

Depends on number of licensees: $100 for 1-5, $200 for 6-10, $300 for 11-49, $400 for 50+

Form:

Certificate of Authorization

License Renewal

Fee:

Depends on number of licensees: $50 for 1-5, $150 for 6-10, $250 for 11-49, $350 for 50+

Form:

Certificate of Authorization Renewal

Due:

Biennially by December 31 of either odd or even years depending on when you apply.

Nevada

More Info

Agency

Nevada State Board of Professional Engineers & Land Surveyors

Initial Application

Fee:

$50

Form:

Firm Registration

License Renewal

Fee:

$50

Form:

Firm Renewal

Due:

Annually within 30 days of the anniversary date or originial filing

New Hampshire

More Info

Agency

New Hampshire Board of Professional Engineers

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$100

Form:

Certificate of Authorization Renewal

Due:

Annually by December 31

New Jersey

More Info

Agency

New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs - State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors

Initial Application

License Name:Certificate of Authorization RequestFee:

$120 for Biennial or $60 for Annual

Form:

Certificate of Authorization Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$120 for Biennial or $60 for Annual

Form:

Renewal Application

Due:

Biennially by August 31 of even years

New Mexico

More Info

Not required

Firm licenses are not currently required, however, individual engineers should register with the Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers.

New York

More Info

Agency

New York State Education Department: Office of the Professions - State Board for Engineering & Land Surveying

Initial Application

License Name:Certificate of AuthorizationFee:

$125

Form:

Application for Certificate of Authorization

License Renewal

Fee:

$75. Late fees are $10 per month of uncertified practice.

Form:

Renewal applications are sent in the mail.

Due:

Triennially

North Carolina

More Info

Agency

North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers & Surveyors

Initial Application

Fee:

$100

License Renewal

Fee:

$75

Form:

Online Renewal

Due:

Annually by June 30

North Dakota

More Info

Agency

North Dakota State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers & Land Surveyors

Initial Application

License Name:Certificate of Commercial Practice ApplicationFee:

$200

Form:

Certificate of Commercial Practice Application

License Renewal

License Name:Certificate of Commercial Practice RenwalFee:

$200

Form:

Certificate of Commercial Practice Renewal

Due:

Annually by December 31

Ohio

More Info

Agency

Ohio Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors

Initial Application

License Name:Firm Certificate of AuthorizationFee:

$50

Form:

Certificate of Authorization Application

License Renewal

License Name:Firm Certificate of Authorization RenewalFee:

$50

Form:

Certificate of Authorization Renewal

Due:

Biennially by June 30

Oklahoma

More Info

Agency

Oklahoma Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors

Initial Application

License Name:Application for Certificate of AuthorizationFee:

$200 for domestic $250 for foreign

Form:

Certificate of Authorization Application

License Renewal

License Name:Application for Certificate of Authorization RenewalFee:

$200 for domestic $250 for foreign

Due:

Biennially

Oregon

More Info

Not required

Oregon does not currently license engineering firms, but individuals are licensed by the Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying.

Pennsylvania

More Info

Not required

Pennsylvania does not license firms, but requires that engineering companies have at least one licensed engineer on staff. The name registration for is only required for firms with some form of "Engineer" in the name. You must receive board approval prior to foreign qualification.

Rhode Island

More Info

Agency

Rhode Island Division of Design Professionals

Initial Application

License Name:PE Certificate of Authorization (COA)Fee:

$150

Form:

Engineering Certificate of Authority

License Renewal

License Name:PE Certificate of Authorization (COA)Fee:

$50

Due:

Biennially

South Carolina

More Info

Agency

South Carolina Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$75

Form:

Online

Due:

Biennially during odd years

South Dakota

More Info

Agency

South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation: Board of Technical Professions

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$80

Form:

Certificate of Authorization Renewal

Due:

Biennially by anniversary of initial application

Tennessee

More Info

Agency

Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance: Tennessee Board of Architectural and Engineering Examiners

License Renewal

Not required

No renewal form is required, however, firms must notify the board within 60 days if a change occurs to the information listed on the disclosure.

Texas

More Info

Agency

Texas Board of Professional Engineers

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$150

Form:

Online

Due:

Annually

Utah

More Info

Not required

Firm licenses are not currently required, however, individual engineers should register with the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.

Vermont

More Info

Not required

Firm licenses are not currently required, however, individual engineers should register with the Board of Professional Engineering.

Virginia

More Info

Agency

Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects

Initial Application

Fee:

$30 for Professional LLCs and $100 for all other entity types.

Form:

Business Entity Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$50

Form:

Online only

Due:

December 31 of odd years.

Washington

More Info

Agency

Washington Department of Licensing - Business and Professions Division

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$110

Form:

Online

Due:

Annually

West Virginia

More Info

Agency

West Virginia Board of Registration for Professional Engineers

Initial Application

Fee:

$0 for Sole Proprietorship, $100 for firms with 3 or fewer PEs, or $150 for firms with more than 3 PEs. 

Form:

Engineering Authorized Company Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$0 for Sole Proprietorship, $100 for firms with 3 or fewer PE's, or $600 for firms with more than 3

Form:Forms are sent in the mail.Due:

Biennially

Wisconsin

More Info

Agency

Wisconsin Examining Board of Architects, Landscape Architects, Professional Engineers, Designers and Professional Land Surveyors

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$82

Form:

Online Renewal

Due:

By January 31 of even numbered years

Wyoming

More Info

Agency

Wyoming Board of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$90

Form:

Renewal for Business Entity Authorization

Due:

Annually by December 31

Key Terms

Design Firm - Engineering firm registration is sometimes grouped with architecture and land surveying on a single “design firm” application form.

EI (Engineering Intern) - A term also used to describe an Engineer in Training.

EIT (Engineer in Training) - A professional designation granted upon having completed at least 3 years of school at an ABET-accredited university and having passed the FE exam.

FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) - An exam testing on basic engineering principles that is required to become an engineer in training.

PE (Professional Engineer or 'Principles and Practice in Engineering') - Means either Professional Engineer or refers to the Principles and Practice in Engineering exam that is a prerequisite for an engineering license.

Reciprocity - When a licensed engineer in one state can provide documentation (often an NCEES Record) to more easily apply for a license in another jurisdiction.

Industry Resources

Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
Accrediting board that sets standards for university programs in a variety of applied science disciplines.

American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)
Engineering, architecture, and land surveying advocacy group.

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Organization that provides continuing education, professional conferences, and advocacy efforts to the civil engineering community.

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
Mechanical engineering organization that focuses on education and professional development.

Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC)
Reviews accreditation requirements and makes final decisions regarding the accreditation process.

National Council of Examiners for Engineering & Surveying (NCEES)
Develops, administers, and scores the exams used for engineering licenses.

National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)
NSPE is an advocacy group for professional engineers.

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