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How To Become An Engineer In California

Engineer In California

California has a thriving economy, and is a top destination for new residents, entrepreneurs and industrialists. That makes it an ideal location for engineers looking for projects, work or the opportunity to run their own business.Aspiring engineers in California should also consider the legal aspects of their professional journey. To establish a solid foundation for your engineering ventures, it’s important to understand LLC formation in California. This comprehensive guide on LLC formation in California provides the necessary information and step-by-step instructions to set up your engineering practice as a limited liability company. By familiarizing yourself with the process, you can ensure legal compliance and personal liability protection. Don’t miss out on this resource if you’re looking to establish a successful engineering career in the Golden State.

However, the state of California also has stringent rules and requirements that potential engineering candidates need to abide by. Within the state, the engineering practice is regulated under the Professional Engineers Act. Engineers also have to abide by what is set down in the Board of Rules and Regulations. Failure to comply with these established rules can prevent you from working as an engineer in the state.

Here is everything you should know about how to become an engineer in California:

1. Choose Your Field

The engineering practice in California is distributed into three sections. These are segmented into specific acts. Engineers who pass qualifying exams receive licenses for their specialisations within these segments. Within California, these are:

  • Practice Act: The specializations covered under this act are Electrical, Civil and Mechanical engineering. Only people who have received their practice act license can practice and offer services under these specializations within the state.
  • Title Act: This refers to licenses that allow engineers to use certain titles in association with their names and services offered. The Title Act covers agricultural engineering, fire protection, chemical engineering, control systems, metallurgy, petroleum, traffic, and nuclear engineering.
  • Title Specialization: This covers specialized engineering trades that have special requirements in order to gain a license. These fields are considered subspecialties within the engineering industry. Covered fields are geotechnical engineering as well as structural engineering.

2. Register for the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam

This exam is held by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. It’s held twice a year, in April and in October, across five locations in California. Passing this exam is the first step in getting your engineering license in California.

You will need to register for the exam, pay the examination fees, and pass with an acceptable score. You should also remember to save your transcripts as they will be required later on to secure your Professional Engineering license.

3. Engineer-in-Training Certificate

To receive this certificate, you’ll have to pass a qualifying examination as well. However, at this stage, your work experience becomes just as important. Engineers that want to receive this stage need to have up to six years of experience in a related field.

This experience can be obtained either within the country, or outside of it. Where global experience is involved, maintaining records of experience obtained as well as work done can help you use that experience towards your certification. Most engineers stay as an Engineer-in-Training for up to six years.

If you’re looking for work within the US, then you can find that work as an unlicensed engineer as well. Certain kinds of work don’t need you to have a license. A licensed engineer can work with local, state and federal governments and secure better pay. However, unlicensed engineers can also gain experience and earn their livelihoods.

You will also need to secure references in this stage. Foreign experiences can be recorded through the Engagement Record and Reference Form.

4. Applying for your Professional Engineer License

This involves filling out a two-page application form. Here, you’ll be required to provide your Social Security Number or Taxpayer ID as well. This is necessary to receive your PE license.

You’ll also need to provide documents pertaining to your workplace experience, as well as transcripts of qualifying examinations and previous courses undertaken. You should also send two stamped postcards addressed to you with your application.

Finally, the answers you’ve provided for your ‘Take Home Examination of State Laws and Board Rules’ should be included with your application package as well. There’s also a $125 application fee. This can be sent either via check or using money order to the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Once your application has been processed, you will have to appear for a Professional Engineers licensing examination. Provided you pass this examination, you will be able to get your engineering license in California.

Benefits of Getting a Profession Engineering License in California

A professional engineering license helps you secure better paying jobs. You can work for the government or organizations that aren’t immediately accessible to non-licensed candidates. While getting an engineering license in California is hard and time consuming, it opens doors to various opportunities.

You can also work as a non-licensed engineer in the state. With this, you can find work that falls outside the purview of licensing requirements. Mechanical jobs and trader skills can be used to earn employment without a license.

Even after you secure your license, you should be aware of the need to renew your license eventually. Being aware of this and applying in tome can prevent your license from lapsing.


An engineering license helps you work as a regulated engineer in California. You have fulfilled all the state’s requirements and the state has licensed you to work as an engineer within the state.

However, even with your license, unfortunate events can still affect you. From workplace accidents to business disruptions, business insurance can protect your engineering practice. Financial coverage can protect you against lawsuits, protect your income, and enable business growth despite obstacles. If you want to learn more about business insurance for engineers, then click here.