50-State Engineering Licensing Compliance Guide
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Wisconsin Engineering Industry Licensing

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Licensing requirements for engineering industry firms and individuals in Wisconsin.

This page provides an overview of engineering industry licensing in Wisconsin for individuals and firms. You will find state requirements, application fees, filing instructions, and more. For assistance with licensing, please contact us to learn about our software and managed license services.

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Company Licenses

Wisconsin Engineering Company Licenses

Wisconsin Certificate of Authorization

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

WI Stat. § 443.08

Eligible Entity Types:
  • Business Corporations
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Service Corporations
  • Partnerships
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Ownership Requirements:

Business Corporations:

  • Officers and directors need not be licensed, but the corporation must appoint a Wisconsin licensed individual to be responsible for all professional activities undertaken by the firm in Wisconsin.

Service Corporations:

  • All shareholders, officers, and directors must be licensed individuals.

Limited Liability Companies:

  • Members and managers need not be licensed, but the LLC must appoint a Wisconsin licensed individual to be responsible for all professional activities undertaken by the firm in Wisconsin.

Partnerships:

  • Partners need not be licensed, but the partnership must appoint a Wisconsin licensed individual to be responsible for all professional activities undertaken by the firm in Wisconsin.

Initial Registration

Form:

Application for Certificate of Authorization

Agency Fee:

$55

Turnaround:

8-12 weeks depending on processing. Applicants will be notified by mail and/or email.

Notes:
  • You may file with the Examining Board of Architects, Landscape Architects, Professional Engineers, Designers, and Professional Land Surveyors and the Department of Financial Institutions concurrently.
Before you Apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  • For each of the firm's professional services, identify a Wisconsin licensed design professional to act as the individual in responsible charge in Wisconsin.

Foreign Applicants:

  • For each of the firm's professional services, identify a Wisconsin licensed design professional to act as the individual in responsible charge in Wisconsin.
  • Obtain a certificate of good standing from your business entity's home state (to be filed during the foreign qualification process). The certificate cannot be more than 60 days old when filing foreign qualification documents.
How to Apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  1. File entity formation documents with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) - Corporation Section.
  2. File an Application for Certificate of Authorization with the Wisconsin Examining Board of Architects, Landscape Architects, Professional Engineers, Designers and Professional Land Surveyors.

Foreign Applicants:

  1. Determine whether or not your entity will need to foreign qualify in Wisconsin. If not required, skip to step 3.
  2. File foreign qualification documents with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) - Corporation Section.
  3. File an Application for Certificate of Authorization with the Wisconsin Examining Board of Architects, Landscape Architects, Professional Engineers, Designers and Professional Land Surveyors.
Required Attachments:
  • List of officers, directors, members, or partners of the firm including titles and addresses
  • List of branch office locations including licensee in responsible charge
  • List of all Wisconsin credential holders employed by the firm who will be in responsible charge of the work performed in Wisconsin, including addresses and license numbers
  • Convictions and Pending Charges form (if applicable)

Registration Renewal

Form:

Form 929: Report of Renewal Information for COA

Filing Method:

Mail, fax, or online.

Agency Fee:

$55

Due:

By January 31 of even-numbered years.

Original Ink:Not required
Notarize:Not required
Required Attachments:
  • List of directors, officers, managers, or members of the firm including addresses
  • Sealed certificate pages for each licensee employed by the firm which also specifies which licensees act as the responsible licensee
  • List of branch office locations including licensee in responsible charge

Wisconsin Geology Certificate of Authorization

Agency:Wisconsin Examining Board of Professional Geologists, Hydrologists and Soil Scientists
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:Yes

Initial Registration

Form:

Application for Certificate of Authorization

Agency Fee:

$56

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$56

Due:

By July 31 of even-numbered years.

Wisconsin Hydrology Certificate of Authorization

Agency:Wisconsin Examining Board of Professional Geologists, Hydrologists and Soil Scientists
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:Yes

Initial Registration

Form:

Application for Certificate of Authorization

Agency Fee:

$56

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$56

Due:

By July 31 of even-numbered years.

Wisconsin Land Surveying License

Not required



Land Surveying Firm licensure is not required on the State level in Wisconsin.

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.

More information: Wisconsin Examining Board of Architects, Landscape Architects, Professional Engineers, Designers and Professional Land Surveyors
Eligible Entity Types:

Wisconsin allows surveying firms to practice under most entity types, including corporations, LLCs, partnerships, and service corporations. Wisconsin does not recognize the PC or PLLC entity type but allows professional service firms to form 'service corporations'.

Wisconsin Soil Science Certificate of Authorization

Agency:Wisconsin Examining Board of Professional Geologists, Hydrologists and Soil Scientists
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:Yes

Initial Registration

Form:

Application for Certificate of Authorization

Agency Fee:

$56

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$56

Due:

By July 31 of even-numbered years.

Individual Licenses

Wisconsin Individual Engineering Licenses

Wisconsin Designer of Engineering Systems License

Agency:Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services
Law:

2017 Wisconsin Act 319

Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Ownership Requirements:

A firm, partnership, or corporation requesting a certificate of authorization shall submit a completed application and fee to the Department.

Notes:
  • Beginning August 1, 2018, an applicant for an initial credential may apply for a reduction of the initial credential fee that is equal to 10% of the initial fee. Qualification is based on the federal adjusted gross income being at or below 180% of the federal poverty guideline prescribed for the applicant's family household size by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. To determine eligibility please visit the United States Department of Health and Human Services website at https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines, prior to submitting Form 3217.
  • Candidates who are over 35 years of age AND have attain​ed 12 or more years of experience in Wisconsin are not required to take the examination. Experience acquired in another state cannot be used to satisfy this requirement.
  • Questions regarding the submission of plans for state approval should be directed to the Safety and Buildings Division of DSPS at (608) 266-3151.
  • New Graduates/Exam Candidates must submit Form #2100 to be approved for examinations.
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Qualifying Individual Requirements:
  • An applicant must have 7 years of approved experience in specialized engineering design work. No more than 4 of the 7 years may be equivalent academic training or apprenticeship as provided in Wis. Stats § 443.07(2).
  • Completion of technological academic training or apprenticeship program may be considered equivalent to experience but may not exceed a total of 4 years.
  • Graduation from a course other than engineering technology shall be equivalent to 2 years of experience.
Allow Digital Signatures?No
Allow Digital Sealing?No
Requirement Notes:

As a credential holder with this Board, you are required to obtain a personal registration seal in compliance with the specifications outlined in Wis. Admin. Code § A-E 2.02


It is the credential holder's responsibility to obtain a seal, which should only include the numbers before the dash (i.e. 30666-006, 8178-005). 


The inner circle area of the seal must include the credential holder's name, credential number, and the city and state where the credential holder resides or is employed. 


This information serves as a basis for locating the credential holder and should be the same as the mailing address on file with the Board office (i.e. if the credential holder's address is Memphis, TN, then Memphis, TN must be placed on the inner circle).

Initial Registration

Form:

Application for Electrical, Fire Protection, HVAC, Plumbing and Private Sewage System Examinations   (New Graduates/Exam Candidates must submit Form #2100 to be approved for examinations.),  Application for Designer of Engineering Systems Permit,Application for Fee Reduction (This form must accompany the application for the credential) (if applicable), Designer of Engineering Systems Applicant Appraisal Form (3 Appraisal Forms Required)

Instructions:

Designer of Engineering Systems Applicant Appraisal Form: Provide replies from three (3) references having personal knowledge of your experience, one of whom is a Registered Architect, Professional Engineer, or holds a permit as a Designer of Engineering Systems. Family members can act as supplemental references in support of an application, but not as one of the three (3) required responses. Type or print your name in the box at the top of each form prior to distribution. Forms must be forwarded by you to this office with your application. 

Filing Method:

Mail 

Agency Fee:

$55 initial credential fee + $75 exam fee (if applicable) 

Notes:

Your application for registration will be presented to the Board for review when all required documents have been received. You are encouraged to submit your application as soon as possible to allow processing and review of application before the Board meets. You’ll find a schedule of tentative Board meetings on the Department’s web site at http://dsps.wi.gov.

Required Attachments:
  • Official transcripts: Transcripts must be forwarded directly by the college to you. If you attended more than one school and transfer credits appear on the transcript from the school where the degree was received, it is not necessary to provide a transcript from the first school(s). Unofficial copies of transcripts are not acceptable.
  • Expereince record (form #463) : Evaluated by the Board to determine whether the experience you document meets the qualifying engineering experience as defined in Wis. Admin. Code § A-E 5. Provide a complete chronological listing of your experience. The beginning and ending month and year of employment must be shown for each engagement.
  • Designer of Engineering Systems Applicant Appraisal Form (form #989) - Provide replies from three (3) references, one of whom is a Registered Architect, Professional Engineer, or holds a permit as a Designer of Engineering Systems.
  • Applicants applying for a permit as a Designer of Engineering Systems on the basis that they hold a current Wisconsin master plumber license are
    required to submit the Application for Designer of Engineering Systems Permit (form #1897).

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$55

Due:

By January 31 of even-numbered years. Should you receive your initial credential in the months leading up to this date, you are still required to renew your license by the statutorily defined date.

Penalties:

$80 renewal fee if renewed later than due date. 

Notes:

If you do not intend to practice and want your license to be placed in Retired status, you can partially renew online. If your credential status is not already in Retired status, you can complete the renewal online, up to the payment. Do not pay online. Follow instructions given during the renewal process.

If you complete the renewal for Retired status online, you will need to email our office to request paper renewal forms: DSPSRenewal@wisconsin.gov. You will also need to submit Form R443. Please be sure to inform staff at the Department to include Form R443 for you to complete or you can print it from the website.

Wisconsin Engineer-in-Training Certification

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

Renewal Not Required

Not required



Wisconsin Geologist License

Agency:Wisconsin Examining Board of Professional Geologists, Hydrologists and Soil Scientists
Allow Digital Signatures?No
Allow Digital Sealing?No
Digital Sealing Guidelines:

All seals or stamps affixed to drawings to be filed as public documents shall be original. No stickers or electronically scanned images may be used. All seals and stamps on drawings shall be signed and dated by the licensed professional in permanent ink contrasting with both the seal and the background.

Wisconsin Admin Rules Ch. GHSS 1.03

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$56

Due:

By July 31 of even-numbered years.

Wisconsin Hydrologist License

Agency:Wisconsin Examining Board of Professional Geologists, Hydrologists and Soil Scientists

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$56

Due:

By July 31 of even-numbered years.

Wisconsin Professional Engineer License

Agency:Wisconsin Examining Board of Architects, Landscape Architects, Professional Engineers, Designers and Professional Land Surveyors
Allow Digital Signatures?Yes
Digital Signature Guidelines:

All seals and stamps on plans, drawings, documents, specifications, and reports to be filed as public documents shall be signed and dated by the registered professional in one of the following manners:

  1. In a permanent ink contrasting with the seal and the background.
  2. Utilizing an electronic signature, meeting the requirements of ch. 137, Stats., a security procedure is used and if permitted by the governmental unit that is to receive the plans, drawings, documents, specifications, and reports. A scanned image of an original signature shall not be used in lieu of an electronic signature with a security procedure as found in s. 137.11 (13), Stats.

Wisconsin Admin Rules Ch. A-E 2.02

Allow Digital Sealing?Yes
Digital Sealing Guidelines:

All seals or stamps affixed to plans, drawings, documents, specifications, and reports to be filed as public documents shall be original. No stickers shall be allowed. Seals or stamps may be applied by crimp type, rubber stamp or by electronic means provided the electronic seal or stamp meets the requirements of ch. 137, Stats., a security procedure is used, and electronic submissions are permitted by the governmental unit that is to receive the plans, drawings, documents, specifications, and reports.

Wisconsin Admin Rules Ch. A-E 2.02

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$82

Due:

By July 31 of even-numbered years.

Wisconsin Professional Land Surveyor License

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

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$82

Due:

By January 31 of even-numbered years.

Wisconsin Soil Scientist License

Agency:Wisconsin Examining Board of Professional Geologists, Hydrologists and Soil Scientists

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$56

Due:

By July 31 of even-numbered years.

Learn about engineering licensing in other states:

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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