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Two of the more regulated industries in the United States are engineering and surveying. Because the health of a building, so to speak, relies on the foundational work provided by both of these industries, governing boards want to ensure that anyone who starts a business in engineering or surveying meets its strict requirements before working.

Each state has its own governing Board for professional engineers and land surveyors, and has the right to create new rules and set standards for the engineering/surveyor firm license. This Board inspects any claims of negligent work and reviews applications. If you want to work as a professional engineer or professional surveyor, you’ll have to go through this Board.

What the Title “Professional Engineer” Means

Some states won’t even let you call yourself an engineer unless you have an engineering license. Others designate those that are licensed by referring to them as Professional Engineers. Either way, there is a difference in what you can and cannot do with that title.

With an engineering license, you have the ability to:

  • Bid for government contracts
  • Stamp and seal designs
  • Serve as principal of an engineering firm
  • Consult
  • Offer your engineering services to the public

Every state may have slightly different requirements and processes for becoming a professional engineer, so check with your state’s engineering business licenses, permits & tax Board to find out what you need to do. Here’s an example of the process you might undergo to get your engineering license.

First, earn your engineering degree from an accredited engineering program. Next, take and pass the FE Exam. After that, you’ll need to get work experience (usually about four years or more) under the supervision of a professional engineer. Next, pass the professional engineer exam, and finally, apply for and get approved to carry your engineering license.

Becoming a Professional Surveyor

To work as a surveyor at all, you must have a surveyor license. You’ll be able to call yourself a professional surveyor after you’ve completed these steps.

First, make sure you have the level of education required by your state. Some states just want a high school diploma, while others want a bachelor’s degree from an accredited surveying program. Next, pass the FS exam. After that, you will need work experience being supervised by a licensed surveyor. After you complete the minimum required work experience, you can now take the professional surveyor exam. Pass it, and you’ll have your business license in hand, ready to work!

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