Most states issue professional engineering licenses through their Board of Professional Engineering. While some states issue generic Professional Engineering licenses, others issue licenses for specific disciplines, including Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Structural Engineering.
Before an individual may apply for a license, the Board will generally require graduation from an accredited school, the passing all necessary examinations, and accumulation of the requisite amount of experience. The license application will then require proof that each of these requirements has been met, along with the completion of tedious forms. Other supporting documentation may be requested as well, such as personal/character references and transcripts.
Each of these regulations seeks to increase public protection by maintaining a high standard of competency across the profession. Once an engineer license is issued, renewals are required to be filed either annually or biennially, varying by state.
Obtaining an engineer license in one state does not allow an individual to provide engineering services in any other state.
How do we get licensed as an engineering firm in a new state?
Properly licensing your engineering firm to do business in multiple states is time consuming for companies to handle in-house.
The first step to getting licensed when expanding into a new state is to hold the proper licensing in the home state of the engineering firm. This includes:
- Business entity formation
- Professional Engineering licenses for individual engineers employed by the firm. These licenses may require education, experience, and testing.
- Professional Engineering firm license
Once the firm holds the proper licenses in the home state, they may be eligible to obtain a certificate of authorization for professional engineering firm from other states through reciprocity or comity, as it is often referred. Common requirements include:
- Foreign Qualification/Registered Agent
- Home State License Verification
- Description of business activities
- Corporate Documents
One issue that firms face is ownership licensure requirements. Most states either do not have ownership requirements or require one owner of the firm be authorized to practice in that state. However, New York and Michigan are different in this way. In Michigan, for an out of state to practice in Michigan, two-thirds of the firm’s principals need to be licensed as professional engineers in Michigan.
New York requires that greater then 75% of domestic firms and 100% of foreign firm’s shareholders, officers, and directors be licensed as professional engineers. Although only those engineers who will be actually providing professional services must be licensed in New York State, the rest must be licensed in some other jurisdiction. This is problematic for many firms that have mixed ownership. For such firms to practice in New York, they may need to set up a new, separate corporation, meeting New York State’s ownership requirements.
Another issue that firms face is the unique name requirements which may limit the names under which a firm may provide services. Applications may be denied if your firm name conflicts with the specific requirements of a state. Engineering firms may need to alter their “doing business as” name in the state to prevent denial.
Finally, professional engineering firms may also be subject to local business licenses, payroll taxes and sales taxes.
CT Corporation understands the requirements in each state and will save your company dozens of hours of research and application preparation. Learn more about our License Research and License Filing services. We streamline the licensing process to get you licensed fast and keep you in compliance. CT Corporation will navigate the license requirements for professional engineering firms by helping you obtain all the licenses and registrations you need and manage your ongoing license renewals. For a free consultation, please contact CT Corporation to consult a licensing specialist.