50-State Engineering Licensing Compliance Guide
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North Carolina Engineering Industry Licensing

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Licensing requirements for engineering industry firms and individuals in North Carolina.

This page provides an overview of engineering industry licensing in North Carolina 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

North Carolina Engineering Company Licenses

North Carolina Firm License (Engineering and/or Land Surveying)

Agency:North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers & Surveyors
Law:

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 89C-24

Eligible Entity Types:
  • Professional Corporations
  • Professional Limited Liability Companies
  • Partnerships
  • Limited Partnerships
  • Limited Liability Partnerships
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:Yes
Ownership Requirements:

Professional Corporations:

  • At least 2/3 of the shares of ownership must be held by licensed design professionals.
  • At least one director and one officer who is a shareholder must be a North Carolina licensee.

Professional Limited Liability Companies:

  • At least 2/3 of the owners must be licensed design professionals.
  • At least one member and manager must be licensed in North Carolina.
  • No company may be an owner of the Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC)

Partnerships:

  • Partners need not be licensed, but the partnership must appoint a North Carolina licensed individual to be responsible for all professional activities undertaken by the firm in North Carolina.
Exam Required?Not Set
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?Not Set

Initial Registration

Exemption Eligible Organizations:
  • A licensee that wishes to operate as a sole proprietor using a name other than their signature name as reflected in the Board records must apply for Firm Licensure as a Non-Exempt Sole Proprietorship. A sole member LLC or corporation is not a proprietorship. Refer to the Business Firm Chart on the Board web site (www.ncbels.org) for more information. 
Form:

License Application

Filing Method:

Mail or email to firms@ncbels.org

Agency Fee:

$100

Turnaround:

5-7 business days. Applicants will be notified by mail/email.

Original Ink:Required
Notarize:Required
Notes:
  • This application may only be used for Non-Exempt Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, Business Corporations or Limited Liability Companies that meet the exception in NCGS 55B-15(a)(1).
  • If the Corporation or Limited Liability Company was formed after June 5, 1969, it does not qualify for this exception and the firm should not use this application. Refer to the Business Firm Chart on the Board web site (www.ncbels.org) for more information.
  • Only Corporations and Limited Liability Company’s formed prior to June 5, 1969, may qualify as Business Corporations or Limited Liability Company’s. All others must qualify as Professional Corporations or Professional Limited Liability Company’s and use the Professional Corporation Application or Professional Limited Liability Company Application per North Carolina General Statue 55B (Professional Corporation Act).
Before you Apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  • Ensure that your business entity will meet ownership requirements.

Foreign Applicants:

  • Ensure that your North Carolina entity will meet ownership requirements.
  • 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 6 months old when filing foreign qualification documents.
How to Apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  1. Email an Application for Licensure and entity formation documents to the North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers & Surveyors at firms@ncbels.org.
  2. Once approved by the board, file the approved entity formation documents with the North Carolina Secretary of State - Business Registration Division.
  3. After Secretary of State approved, email proof of entity formation with the North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers & Surveyors at firms@ncbels.org.

Foreign Applicants:

  1. Email an Application for Licensure and foreign qualification documents to the North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers & Surveyors at firms@ncbels.org.
  2. Once approved by the board, file the approved foreign qualification documents with the North Carolina Secretary of State - Business Registration Division.
  3. After Secretary of State approved, email proof of foreign qualification with the North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers & Surveyors at firms@ncbels.org.
Required Attachments:
  • All entities
    • A copy of Form B-09 
    • The original firm Articles dating prior to June 5, 1969, must indicate that the firm was practicing engineering/land surveying at time of Incorporation/Organization. If they do not then evidence that the firm was performing engineering/land surveying prior to June 5, 1969, must be submitted
    • Each location of the firm that is or may be offering services should be listed
  • Foreign PLLC's:
    • Certificate of good standing from domestic jurisdiction (less than 6 months old)
    • Certified copy of Articles of Organization and any amendments to present (original, not a photocopy)
    • A copy of the firm's Operating Agreement and any amendments to present. 
  • Domestic Entities:
    • A copy of the firms original North Carolina Articles and any amendments to present. 
    • If the firm has already submitted and obtained a NC Certificate of Authority, a copy must be provided with the application. 
  • Foreign Entities
    • a copy of the corporations' original Articles of Incorporation and any Amendments to present from its State of formation, a copy of a Certificate of Existence less than (6) months old and a copy of the proposed North Carolina Certificate of Authority (Form B-09)
    • *If the firm has already submitted and obtained a NC Certificate of Authority, a copy must be provided with the application. 
  • Partnerhsips 
    • List all Partner(s) and corresponding ownership. All Partners must be individuals. A firm may only be a Partner if that entity is also licensed with the NC Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors.
    • If filing as a Domestic Partnership, along with the application, submit a copy of the recorded Secretary of State Registration. If the firm is not currently registered with the NC Secretary of State, submit a copy of the proposed Registration.
    • If filing as a Foreign Partnership (Non-North Carolina Entity), submit a copy of the original Registration from the firm’s home state of registration and any amendments to present. Also submit a copy of a Certificate of Existence less than (6) months old.

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$75

Due:

Annually by June 30.

Original Ink:Not required
Notarize:Not required
Penalties:
  • If the business firm does not apply for renewal of the Firm License within thirty (30) days after the date of the expiration of such license. In that case, the Firm License shall be automatically suspended. The Firm License may be reinstated within one year upon receipt of the renewal application and payment of the required renewal fee plus the reinstatement fee. 
  • Failure of a business firm to renew the license for a period of one (1) year shall require the business firm to submit a new application and meet all other requirements in effect for licensure
Required Attachments:
  • List of license holders who have stock ownership
  • List of non-licensed employees who have stock ownership
  • List of branch office locations including licensee in responsible charge
  • Disclosure of disciplinary actions taken against North Carolina licensees (if applicable)

Amendment

Form:

Business Firm Change Form or Professional Corporate Change Form or Professional Limited Liability Company Change Form

Agency Fee:

$15 for name changes and professional service changes. No fee is charged for all other changes.

Due:

The Board of Examiners must be notified within 30 days of any change in personnel status, locations, etc. contained in the license.

Reinstatement

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$175

Notes:

File for renewal online and email the board at firms@ncbels.org to inform them that the late renewal was filed online.

North Carolina Geological Corporation License

Agency:North Carolina Board for the Licensing of Geologists
Law:

NC GS § 55B-10 and NC GS § 89E-7

Eligible Entity Types:
  • Professional Corporation
  • Professional LLC
  • Partnerships
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:Yes
Ownership Requirements:
  • For firms offering only geological services: North Carolina Licensed Geologist must be an officer and director if professional corporation, or member and manager if PLLC.
  • For firms offering multiple professional services: Each professional service offered must be represented by an officer and director (member and manager for PLLC). A North Carolina Licensed Geologist must hold both positions.
  • 2/3 of the shares or interest must be held by licensed professionals (professional geologists, engineers, land surveyors, landscape architects, architects or soil scientists in any state with comparable requirements)
  • For Domestic Corporations/LLC (In-State), the North Carolina Licensed Geologist must be a shareholder or interest holder
  • For Foreign Corporations/LLCs (Out-of-State), the North Carolina Licensed Geologist is not required to be a shareholder or interest holder
  • For partnerships, at least one partner must be a North Carolina Licensed Geologist
Exam Required?Not Set
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?Not Set

Initial Registration

Form:

Application for Corporate License

Agency Fee:

$55

Notarize:Required

Registration Renewal

Form:

Renewal Form

Agency Fee:

$25

Due:

Annually by June 30.

Notarize:Not required

Individual Licenses

North Carolina Individual Engineering Licenses

North Carolina Engineer Intern Certification

Agency:North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers & Surveyors
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:Not Set
Exam Required?Not Set
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?Not Set

Initial Registration

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$0

Renewal Not Required

Not required



North Carolina Geologist License

Agency:North Carolina Board for the Licensing of Geologists
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:Not Set
Exam Required?Not Set
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?Not Set
Allow Digital Signatures?Yes
Digital Signature Guidelines:

The board generally allows the use of electronic signatures but does not yet have official guidance regarding their use.

Allow Digital Sealing?Yes
Digital Sealing Guidelines:

The board generally allows the use of digital seals but does not yet have official guidance regarding their use.

Initial Registration

Form:

Application for Individual License

Agency Fee:

$55

Notarize:Required

Reciprocal Registration

Registration Renewal

Form:

Renewal Form

Agency Fee:

$85

Due:

Annually by June 30.

Notarize:Not required

North Carolina Professional Engineer License

Agency:North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers & Surveyors
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:Not Set
Exam Required?Yes
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?Not Set
Allow Digital Signatures?Yes
Digital Signature Guidelines:

Electronically Transmitted Documents. Documents, including drawings, specifications and reports, that are transmitted electronically beyond the direct control of the licensee shall have the computer-generated seal removed from the original file, unless signed with a digital signature as defined in Paragraph (e) of this Rule. After removal of the seal the electronic media shall have the following inserted in lieu of the signature and date: "This document originally issued and sealed by (name of sealer), (license number), on (Date of sealing). This medium shall not be considered a certified document." Hardcopy documents containing the original seal, signature and date of the licensee may be duplicated by photocopy or electronic scanning processes and distributed either in hardcopy or electronic medium. The scanned digital files of certified documents are not subject to the requirements of this Paragraph. The electronic transmission beyond the direct control of the licensee of CAD, vector or other files subject to easy editing are subject to the requirements of this paragraph. Easy editing is based on the file consisting of separate elements that can be individually modified or deleted. Documents that are excepted from certification by a statement meeting the requirements of Subparagraphs (c)(1) through (c)(5) of this Rule are not subject to the requirements of this Paragraph.

(e) Documents to be electronically transmitted beyond the direct control of the licensee that are signed using a digital signature, shall contain the authentication procedure in a secure mode and a list of the hardware, software and parameters used to prepare the document(s). Secure mode means that the authentication procedure has protective measures to prevent alteration or overriding of the authentication procedure. The term "digital signature" shall be an electronic authentication process that is attached to or logically associated with an electronic document. The digital signature shall be:

  1. Unique to the licensee using it;
  2. Capable of verification;
  3. Under the sole control of the licensee; and
  4. Linked to a document in such a manner that the digital signature is invalidated if any data in the document is changed.

(f) A digital signature process may be submitted to the Board for approval that it meets the criteria set forth in Subparagraphs (e)(1) through (4) of this Rule. The licensee shall confirm that if another process is used, that it meets the criteria.

21 NCAC 56 .1103

Allow Digital Sealing?Yes
Digital Sealing Guidelines:

The seal may be a rubber stamp, embossed seal, computer-generated seal, or other facsimile that becomes a permanent addition to a plan sheet or map;

21 NCAC 56 .1103

Initial Registration

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$100

Original Ink:Not required
Notarize:Not required

Reciprocal Registration

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$100

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$75

Due:

Annually by December 31.

North Carolina Professional Land Surveyor License

Agency:North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers & Surveyors
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:Not Set
Exam Required?Not Set
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?Not Set

Initial Registration

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$100 application fee + $275 exam fee

Notarize:Not required

Reciprocal Registration

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$100 application fee + $275 exam fee

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$75

Due:

Annually by December 31.

North Carolina Surveyor Intern Certification

Agency:North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers & Surveyors
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:Not Set
Exam Required?Not Set
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?Not Set

Initial Registration

Form:

Application for Certification as a Surveyor Intern

Agency Fee:

$0

Notarize:Required

Renewal Not Required

Not required



The surveyor intern certificate does not expire and, therefore, does not have to be renewed.

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.