Engineering Licensing Compliance Guide

Engineering Licensing Compliance

Land Surveying Firm Licensing

A Survey of Licensing: The map below illustrates nationwide licensing requirements for land surveying firms

Click on the map or links below to read about detailed license requirements in that state.
12 States (and D.C.) Do Not Require Firm Licensure
36 States Require Firm Licensure
2 States Require Firm Registration or Other Prerequisites

Overview of Land Surveying Firm Licensing Requirements

Prior to providing land surveying services in a state, firms are required to meet a number of licensing and registration requirements. Although not every state issues a land surveying firm license, surveying businesses in non-licensure states must adhere to regulations dealing with entity structure, ownership, and individual licenses needed before taking on surveying projects.

In states where a firm license is required, firms must designate an employee as the surveyor in responsible charge of all surveying activities. The surveyor in charge is generally required to have an active professional surveyor license in the state where the firm license is being issued.

License application requirements vary by state, but many applications ask for:

  • Business entity information
  • A list of officers or owners of the firm
  • Surveyor-in-charge information
  • A certificate of authority (if a foreign entity)
  • A certificate of good standing from the secretary of state
  • Application fees
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Firms operating in more than one location within the same state will likely also need to provide surveyor-in-charge and contact information for each of their branch office locations. In some states, each branch office must obtain its own firm registration or license.

Entities that offer engineering or geological services in addition to land surveying services will typically need a separate license for each professional service they provide. A few states do, however, issue design firm licenses that cover land surveying, a number of engineering disciplines, geology, and architecture under a single license.

Multi-State Licensure

Surveying firms pursuing projects outside of their home state are typically met with a number of licensing-related challenges. Firms should expect to have to register with the board of surveyors, secretary of state, and sometimes the department of revenue before providing services in each new state.

Although the order of the licensing process varies, states often require firms to foreign qualify their business entity with the secretary of state before applying for a surveying firm license. Firms should also ensure that at least one employee is actively licensed and can act as the firm’s surveyor-in-charge in the state.

Before providing surveying services in a new state, firms should confer with the state’s tax authority and apply for any necessary tax-related registrations. Corporate income tax, withholding tax, and unemployment insurance tax registrations are commonly required when doing business in a new state.

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Maintaining Compliance

Once licensed, firms must work to maintain COAs, licenses of individual qualifiers, and good standing of their entity in each state.

License Renewals

After licenses and registrations are obtained, firms must file renewals to remain in good standing. Land surveying firm licenses typically renew on an annual or biennial basis, and firms may also need to submit annual reports to maintain their entity registration with the secretary of state.

In addition to these structured renewal events, firms must also report address, contact information, qualifying individual, and ownership changes as they occur. States typically require these types of changes to be reported within 10 or 20 days of their occurrence.

Firms should also track continuing education requirements to ensure that their qualifying individuals meet their individual license renewal requirements. Surveyors in charge who fail to meet renewal requirements will jeopardize the good standing of the firm license.

A loss of good standing with the board of surveyors or secretary of state typically results in the payment of penalty fees to reinstate, and registrations left delinquent for long enough can become dissolved entirely. Maintaining compliance in these areas is the key to avoiding unnecessary penalties and preventing costly delays caused by delinquent registrations.

Keeping up with each state’s requirements, tracking renewals, and submitting the applications on time are critical to avoiding penalties. Dedicated compliance software and services can help you keep track of varying jurisdiction requirements and relevant updates to state laws.

50-State Chart of Land Surveyor Firm License Requirements

See the table below for an overview of state requirements or click more info to view detailed licensing information in your state.

Alabama

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Alabama Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$100

Form:

Online Renewal

Due:

Annually by January 31.

Alaska

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

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

Initial Application

Fee:

$500 ($200 application fee plus $300 registration fee) 

Form:

Certificate of Authorization for Corporate LLC, or LLP Practice

License Renewal

Fee:

$300. Firms that obtained a license in the second half of the renewal period and are renewing for the first time pay a prorated fee of $150.

Form:

Biennial Certificate of Authorization Renewal for Corporate LLC or LLP Practice

Due:

By December 31 of odd-numbered years.

Arizona

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Arizona State Board of Technical Registration

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$50

Form:

Annual Firm Registration (Renewal)

Due:

Annually by the initial registration anniversary date.

Arkansas

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Arkansas State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Professional Surveyors

Initial Application

Fee:

$150

Form:

Certificate of Authorization Application

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

License Renewal

Fee:

$100

Form:

COA Renewal

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Due:

Biennially by December 31. Licenses ending in even numbers must be renewed every even-numbered year, and licenses ending in odd numbers must be renewed every odd-numbered year.

California

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

California Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists

Initial Application

License Renewal

Colorado

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Not required

Land surveyor firms are not licensed at the state level in Colorado. Business entities are permitted to practice surveying provided that they comply with CO Stat. § 12-25-204.

Connecticut

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection - Occupational and Professional Licensing Division

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$375

Due:

Annually


Agency

Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection - Occupational and Professional Licensing Division

License Renewal

Fee:

$375

Filing Method:

Online

Due:

Annually by April 30.

Delaware

Our Resources:

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Agency

Delaware Division of Professional Regulation - Board of Land Surveyors

License Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Due:

By June 30 of odd-numbered years.

District of Columbia

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Not required

Firm licenses are not issued at the state level, however, a licensed individual must oversee all surveying work. Firms should consult board rules and state statutes before doing business.

Florida

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Florida Board of Professional Surveyors and Mappers

Initial Application

Fee:

$255 for a regular license or $180 for a temporary certificate.

Form:

Land Surveying Certificate of Authorization Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$355 ($350 renewal fee and $5 unlicensed activity fee).

Filing Method:

Online

Georgia

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Georgia Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors

License Renewal

Fee:

$10

Form:

Online

Due:

By June 30 of even-numbered years.

Hawaii

Our Resources:

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Not required

Land Surveying firms are not licensed at the state level in Hawaii. Business entities are permitted to practice architecture provided that they comply with HAR § 16-115-4.

Idaho

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

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

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$120

Filing Method:

Online

Due:

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

Illinois

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation

License Renewal

Fee:

$75

Filing Method:

Online

Due:

Expires on April 30 of every odd year.

Indiana

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Not required

Indiana does not issue firm licenses at the state level and no longer requires professional corporations to obtain a certificate of registration before incorporating.

Iowa

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Not required

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

Kansas

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Kansas State Board of Technical Professions

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$95

Form:

Paper Renewal Form for Business Entities

Filing Method:

Mail or 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

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Kentucky Board of Engineers and Land Surveyors

Initial Application

Fee:

$100 for a land surveying firm permit or $150 for a land surveying and engineering firm permit.

Form:

Application for Business Entity Permit

License Renewal

Fee:

$100 for a land surveying firm permit or $150 for a land surveying and engineering firm permit.

Form:

Online

Due:

Annually by December 31.

Louisiana

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Louisiana Professional Engineering and Land Surveying Board

Initial Application

Fee:

$165 or $330 for both 

Form:

Firm Licensure Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$120

Form:

Online

Due:

Either March 31 or September 30 Biennially

Maine

Our Resources:

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Not required

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

Maryland

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Maryland Board for Professional Land Surveyors

Initial Application

Fee:

$135 (of which $35 is non-refundable application fee)

Filing Method:

File an application online then email a managing agent certification form to dlopllandsurveyors-dllr@maryland.gov.

License Renewal

Fee:

$100

Filing Method:

Online

Due:

By June 30 of odd-numbered years.

Massachusetts

Our Resources:

More Info

Not required

     
  • Although not requiring express licensure with the Board, a co- partnership, corporation or joint stock association may practice land surveying provided that the person in direct charge, control, and supervision of the practice is a land surveyor 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.
  • Surveyor firms may need to file a regulatory board certificate with the secretary of state prior to forming a professional entity.

Michigan

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) - Bureau of Professional Licensing

Initial Application

Fee:

$0

License Renewal

Minnesota

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

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

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$25

Form:

Professional Firm Registration Renewal

Due:

Annually by December 31.

Mississippi

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Mississippi Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Surveyors

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$50 online or $75 by mail.

Form:

Certificate of Authority Application (Renewal)

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Due:

Annually by December 31.

Missouri

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

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

License Renewal

Fee:

$50

Filing Method:

Online

Due:

Licenses originally issued in even-numbered years expire on December 31 of each even-numbered year and licenses originally issued in odd-numbered years expire on December 31 of each odd-numbered year.

Montana

Our Resources:

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

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Nebraska Board of Examiners For Land Surveyors

Initial Application

Fee:

$25

Form:There is no form, simply follow the instructions.

License Renewal

Fee:

$25

Form:There is no form, simply follow the instructions.Due:

Annually

Nevada

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Nevada State Board of Professional Engineers & Land Surveyors

Initial Application

Fee:

$50

Form:

Firm Registration

License Renewal

Fee:

$50

Filing Method:

Online

Due:

Annually within 30 days of the anniversary date or originial filing

New Hampshire

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

New Hampshire Board of Land Surveyors

Initial Application

Fee:

$75 for corporations and partnerships, $50 for sole-proprietorships

Form:

Certificate of Authorization to Practice Land Surveying

License Renewal

Fee:

$75 for corporations and partnerships, $50 for sole-proprietorships

Form:

Certificate of Authorization to Practice Land Surveying (Renewal)

Due:

Annually by December 31.

New Jersey

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

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

Initial Application

Fee:

$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:

By August 31 of even-numbered years.

New Mexico

Our Resources:

More Info

Not required

Firm licenses are not issued at the state level, however, a licensed individual must oversee all surveying work. Firms should consult board rules and state statutes before doing business.

New York

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

New York State Education Department - Office of the Professions - State Board for Engineering, Land Surveying, and Geology

Initial Application

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

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers & Surveyors

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$75

Filing Method:

Online

Due:

Annually by June 30.

North Dakota

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

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

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$200

Form:

Certificate of Commercial Practice Renewal

Due:

Annually by December 31.

Ohio

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Ohio Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$50

Form:

Certificate of Authorization Renewal

Due:

By June 30 of even-numbered years.

Oklahoma

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Oklahoma Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors

Initial Application

Fee:

$200 for domestic $250 for foreign

Form:

Certificate of Authorization Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$200 for domestic $250 for foreign

Form:

Form A 1-3

Due:

Biennially by June 30. Firms whose name begins with letters A-G renew during even-numbered years and firms with H-Z names renew during odd-numbered years.

Oregon

Our Resources:

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Not required

Firm licenses are not issued at the state level, however, a licensed individual must oversee all surveying work. Firms should consult board rules and state statutes before doing business.

Pennsylvania

Our Resources:

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Not required

Pennsylvania does not license firms, but requires that land surveying companies have at least one licensed land surveyor on staff. Entities with some form of "Survey" in their name will be required to file a fictitious name registration with the board. You must also receive board approval prior to foreign qualification.

Rhode Island

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Rhode Island Division of Design Professionals

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$100

Due:

By May 31 of even-numbered years.

South Carolina

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

South Carolina Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$75

Filing Method:

Online

Due:

By March 31 of odd-numbered years.

South Dakota

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

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

Initial Application

Fee:

$100

Filing Method:

Online

License Renewal

Fee:

$80

Filing Method:

Online

Due:

Biennially by the date of issuance.

Tennessee

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance - Tennessee Board of Examiners for Land Surveyors

Initial Application

Texas

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Texas Board of Professional Land Surveying

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$129

Form:

Online

Due:

Annually by December 31.

Utah

Our Resources:

More Info

Not required

Firm licenses are not issued at the state level, however, a licensed individual must oversee all surveying work. Firms should consult board rules and state statutes before doing business.

Vermont

Our Resources:

More Info

Not required

Firm licenses are not issued at the state level, however, a licensed individual must oversee all surveying work. Firms should consult board rules and state statutes before doing business.

Virginia

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

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

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$50

Due:

By February 28 of even-numbered years.


Agency

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

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$50

Due:

By December 31 of odd-numbered years.


Agency

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

License Renewal

Fee:

$25

Due:

By February 28 of even-numbered years.


Agency

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

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$25

Due:

By December 31 of odd-numbered years.


Agency

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

License Renewal

Fee:

$50

Due:

By February 28 of even-numbered years.


Agency

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

License Renewal

Fee:

$50

Due:

By December 31 of odd-numbered years.

Washington

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

Washington Department of Licensing - Business and Professions Division

Initial Application

License Renewal

Fee:

$110

Filing Method:

Online

Due:

Annually by December 31.

West Virginia

Our Resources:

More Info

Agency

West Virginia Board of Professional Surveyors

License Renewal

Fee:

$100

Form:

Surveying Certificate of Authorization Renewal

Due:

Annually by December 31.

Wisconsin

Our Resources:

More Info

Not required

Firm licenses are not issued at the state level, however, a licensed individual must oversee all surveying work. Firms should consult board rules and state statutes before doing business.

Wyoming

Our Resources:

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:

By December 31 of the year following initial licensure and biennially thereafter.

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.

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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