Frequently asked questions: Engineers, land surveyors, and on-site

Licensing and exams

Choose from the following categories:

General questions

My last name has changed. How do I update it with the Board?

You need to provide us with the legal document showing your name change, or you can provide us with a copy of your old and new driver’s licenses. The documents can be sent to us at engineers@dol.wa.gov.

I recently got licensed. When can I expect to receive my wall certificate?

You should receive your new wall certificate within 8 weeks of being notified that you have been licensed.

How do I get a new wall certificate and what is the cost?

You just need to send us an email that includes your name and license number. There is no cost for this.

My license has my full name and my stamp has only my middle initial. Is that ok?

The name on the stamp should essentially match our records on who is issued the license. Use of a middle initial, in place of a full middle name, is acceptable. However, nicknames are not acceptable unless they match our licensing records.

What do I need to do to place my PE or PLS license on “retired” status?

You may qualify for retired status when you reach age 65 and have discontinued active practice. If you are under a Board ordered sanction (suspension, reprimand etc.) at the time you reach 65 you will not be eligible for retired status until those conditions have been removed. You need to fill out the Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors Retired Certificate of Registration Application and submit to our office.

Does the company I work for or own need to be licensed?

If the company you work for is a Corporation or Limited Liability Company and offers to perform or does perform engineering or land surveying work directly to the public, the business will be required to get a Certificate of Authority from the Board as well as from Washington’s Secretary of State’s Office.

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Fundamentals of Engineering Exam

What is the difference between the FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) and the EIT (Engineer-in-Training) exams?

None. It is simply a different name for the same exam.

Do I have to submit an application to take the FE exam?

  • If you have a baccalaureate degree or have achieved senior standing in an EAC/ABET accredited or CEAB accredited engineering curriculum, you can go directly to the NCEES website and register for the exam.
  • If you don’t have an EAC/ABET accredited degree, you have to submit an application and obtain approval from the board. There is no fee. Please see How to get your engineer-in-training certificate for details.

I recently signed up for the FE exam and plan on taking the “other disciplines” exam. I plan on getting a PE in Washington in a specific branch of engineering. To do that, do I need to take the FE exam in the specific discipline?

The Washington Board does not require that the FE be in the same discipline. We only require that you take and pass the FE exam.

What if I failed the fundamentals of engineering exam?

If you were registered as a Washington applicant and failed the fundamentals exam, you can go directly to the NCEES website and register to retake the exam. You may take the exam once during any 2-month testing window, and no more than 3 times in a 12-month period.

How do I become certified as a Washington Engineer-in-Training?

If you want to be certified as an engineer-in-training in Washington, you must submit the Engineer-in-Training/Land Surveyor-in-Training Certification Application. Certificates are issued only to those applicants that designated Washington as their practice state when they registered to take the fundamentals of engineering exam.

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Fundamentals of Land Surveying Exam

What is the difference between the FLS (Fundamentals of Land Surveying) and the LSIT (Land Surveyor-in-Training) exams?

None. It is simply a different name for the same exam.

Do I have to submit an application to take the FLS exam?

Yes. You must submit a completed Land Surveyor-In-Training Registration Application and obtain approval from the board prior to registering with NCEES. There is no fee.

What if I failed the fundamentals of land surveying exam?

If you were registered as a Washington applicant and failed the fundamentals exam, you can go directly to the NCEES website and register to retake the exam. You may take the exam once during any 2-month testing window, and no more than 3 times in a 12-month period.

How do I become certified as a Washington Land Surveyor-in-Training?

If you want to be certified as a land surveyor-in-training in Washington, you must submit the Engineer-in-Training/Land Surveyor-in-Training Certification Application. Certificates are issued only to those applicants that designated Washington as their practice state when they registered to take the fundamentals of land surveying exam.

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Professional Engineer by exam or comity

What if my application for exam is received after the deadline?

Your application will be processed for the next scheduled exam. There are no exceptions.

Can the application form be faxed or emailed?

No. We must have the application with the original signature and the check.

I have looked on your website and cannot find the law review. How do I obtain a copy?

The law review is an online exam. Once we receive an application and fee, you will be sent an email providing the information to access it.

Can the FE and/or PE exams be waived?

No. Washington State does not have provisions to waive either the FE or PE exam regardless of degrees or experience or being licensed in another state.

How long will it take to process my PE comity application?

The processing time of any application is based upon how completely the applicant provides all necessary materials. We process applications daily, and issues licenses once a week. Assuming all your documents are in order and you pass the required online law review, you could be approved in a week, or it could take several months.

I will be submitting my NCEES Council Record. What other documents will I need to submit?

You need to complete pages 1–2 of the application and submit it with the application fee.

I am applying by comity and I am self employed. Can I verify my own experience?

No. The person verifying your work should preferably be licensed, but could also be someone who was closely involved in the work and can verify that the description of the work is accurate. An example would be a contractor, co-owner, governmental agency or another engineer employee of the business.

Do you accept copies of certificates or licenses as verification of FE/FLS & PE/PS exams?

No. Go to https://verify.ncees.org and follow the instructions for requesting a license or exam verification. If your state board is not listed on this site, contact the state board(s) where you took the exam(s) and/or are currently licensed to request verification be sent to the Washington Board.

Do I need a degree to apply?

No. Washington does not require a degree to become licensed. However, official transcripts are required for all applicants that want education considered towards the 8-year experience requirement.

Can I get credit for working while obtaining my degree?

No. Board rules state that work experience gained between semesters or quarters or during summers while enrolled in an approved curriculum will be considered part of the educational process. No more than 1 year of experience will be granted for 1 calendar year.

Do I get credit for my MS or PhD in engineering?

Washington State law provides that the board may, at its discretion, give credit as experience not in excess of one year, for satisfactory postgraduate study in engineering.

I received my engineering degree outside the United States. Is it acceptable?

If you have an engineering degree from a foreign country, you must have your degree evaluated by NCEES Credentials Evaluations unless your degree was accredited by EAC/ABET, or your degree was accredited by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB).

NOTE: If you have a foreign undergraduate degree in engineering, and a MS or PhD in engineering and you do not get a foreign degree evaluation, you may only receive a maximum of 4 years of credit towards the 8 years of credit needed. If you obtained a masters degree in engineering you must include a copy of your transcript for your undergraduate degree in English with your application.

My degree was evaluated by a different agency than NCEES Credentials Evaluations. Will you accept my evaluation?

No. The board only accepts evaluations done by NCEES.

Do I have to be a resident of Washington to take the PE exam?

No, but if you submit an application to the Washington Board, you will be required to come to Washington to take the exam.

Can I have my Washington exam proctored in another state?

No. If you submitted an application in Washington but lived in another state when you made application or if you lived here and moved away, we would not allow the exam to be proctored.

I failed the exam. Why can’t I review my exam?

Licensing examination content is copy write protected and not available for public inspection. Many questions are repeated from one exam to another. Review of exams would compromise the exam items from further use. If you fail a NCEES or state specific exam, you will be provided with a diagnostic report that outlines how you performed in topic areas of the exam.

What if there are no PE’s in the company I work for?

For any experience to be considered there must be a PE in the company.

What if my supervisor is not a licensed professional engineer?

Your experience must be gained under the direct supervision of a licensed professional engineer unless you are employed by the federal government, in the military or you work in the manufacturing industry. If your experience is gained in the manufacturing industry your experience is not required to be under the direct supervision of a licensed professional engineer, however, a PE must be employed at the company (at the time of your employment) and you must list his/her name and license number on the experience verification form.

Do the Professional Engineers verifying my experience have to be licensed in Washington?

No.

I don’t know 3 PE’s that I can use for references. Can I still apply?

No. RCW 18.43.050 states in part that the application “shall contain not less than five references, of whom three or more shall be engineers having personal knowledge of the applicant's engineering experience.”

I gained experience outside the United States. Does my supervisor have to be a PE?

Work experience gained outside the U.S. must be under the direct supervision of a professional engineer licensed in the United States or a professional engineer (PEng) licensed in Canada to be considered.

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Professional Land Surveyors

What if my application for exam is received after the deadline?

Your application will be processed for the next scheduled exam. There are no exceptions.

Can the application form be faxed or emailed?

No. We must have the application with the original signature and the check.

Can the FS and/or PS exams be waived?

No. Washington State does not have provisions to waive either the FS or PS exam regardless of degrees or experience or being licensed in another state.

I will be submitting my NCEES Council Record. What other documents will I need to submit?

You need to complete pages 1–2 of the application and submit it with the application fee.

I am applying by comity and I am self employed. Can I verify my own experience?

No. The person verifying your work should preferably be licensed, but could also be someone who was closely involved in the work and can verify that the description of the work is accurate. An example would be a contractor, co-owner, governmental agency or another engineer employee of the business.

Do you accept copies of certificates or licenses as verification of FLS & PS exams?

No. Go to https://verify.ncees.org and follow the instructions for requesting a license or exam verification. If your state board is not listed on this site, contact the state board(s) where you took the exam(s) and/or are currently licensed to request verification be sent to the Washington Board.

Do I have to be a resident of Washington to take the PS exam?

No, but if you submit an application to the Washington Board, you will be required to come to Washington to take the exam.

I have looked on your website and cannot find the law review. How do I obtain a copy?

The law review is an online exam. Once we receive an application and fee, you will be sent an email providing the information to access it.

If I take and pass the required Law Review, do I have to take the 2-hour Washington Specific exam?

Yes. All land surveyor applicants are required to take and pass the 2-hour written examination in addition to taking and passing the Law Review. The law review is an online exam that must be taken and passed prior to your application being reviewed. You will be required to come to Washington to take the 2-hour Washington Specific exam.

Can I have my Washington exam proctored in another state?

No. If you submitted an application in Washington but lived in another state when you made application or if you lived here and moved away, we would not allow the exam to be proctored.

I failed the exam. Why can’t I review my exam?

Licensing examination content is copy write protected and not available for public inspection. Many questions are repeated from one exam to another. Review of exams would compromise the exam items from further use. If you fail a NCEES or state specific exam, you will be provided with a diagnostic report that outlines how you performed in topic areas of the exam.

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Structural Engineer by exam or comity

I am licensed as a civil and structural engineer in my state. Do I have to get licensed in Washington as a professional engineer before applying for structural?

Yes. Washington law requires that you be currently licensed as a Washington State Professional Engineer prior to applying for structural. You must have 2 years of experience in addition to the 8 years of experience required for registration as a professional engineer in Washington State.

I have only passed the NCEES 16-hour lateral & vertical structural examination. Can I apply to Washington State as a PE based on passing only this exam?

No. Since you are required to be licensed as a Professional Engineer in Washington prior to becoming licensed in structural, you need to have taken and passed an additional 8-hour NCEES PE exam in another branch of engineering. We cannot use the 16-hour SE exam in place of an 8-hour NCEES PE exam.

What type of experience do I have to have to be considered for licensure in Structural Engineering?

You need to demonstrate 2 years of progressive structural design experience in addition to the 8 years of experience required for registration as a professional engineer in Washington State. These 2 years should be progressive in difficulty and magnitude; demonstrating sufficient breadth and scope, and be reflective of your ability to design and apply engineering principles where your judgments and decisions are trusted and relied upon. The experience must contain structural design for a building structure or non-building structure designed in Seismic Design Category D or above and/or bridges with a total span (end to end) of 200 feet.

How long will it take to process my structural application?

The review and processing time for structural engineering applications, whether by exam or comity, is fully dependent upon the quality and thoroughness of the experience descriptions provided by the applicant. Every completed application is reviewed by a committee of the Board at meetings scheduled approximately every 2 months. After that review you will be notified of the decision.

Do I have to be a resident of Washington to take the SE exam?

No, but if you submit an application to the Washington Board, you will be required to come to Washington to take the exam.

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