Hi, all! On this next episode of “Congrats, you made it! But wait, there’s more…” we’ll take a look at my life as a newly registered professional engineer. If you read my last blog post from 2018, you heard all about my preparation for the PE Exam as well as some tips for determining what Depth Section to take the second half of your test on. Well, I’m happy to share that I took the test on April 13, 2018, in the state of Maryland and received my passing results on June 4, 2018. Shortly thereafter, I was owner of a Maryland PE License and seal. I could now act as the Engineer of Record (EOR) for any project I manage for Foresite Group in the state of Maryland. But what about all of my projects outside the state of Maryland and all of the opportunities that arise in states our company hasn’t worked in before? The short answer is to apply for Licensure by Comity in the states you would like to obtain additional licensure in. The application process can vary significantly between different jurisdictions, but I will give you some general guidelines to aid in your journey and expedite the process wherever possible.
Step 1: Become an NCEES Record Holder The NCEES Records Program is a life hack for applying for licensure in multiple jurisdictions. Establishing your Record is a way for you to gather and provide the most frequently requested information by the various jurisdictions you will be applying to. You will need to fill out a lengthy application which compiles your college transcripts, exam results, professional references, employment/experience verification, etc. but it is ohhhh so worth it. Although this application may seem cumbersome at first, it is important to remember that you are doing it with NCEES now so that you don’t have to replicate the effort for every jurisdiction you apply to moving forward. Once your Record is created, it will be sent to NCEES for approximately a 30-day review and approval process.
Step 2: Transmit your NCEES Record to the states you would like to obtain licensure in Once your NCEES Record is approved, you will unlock a section of your NCEES profile allowing the transmittal of your record to any of the 50 U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Your first transmittal will cost you $175, and every subsequent transmittal comes with a fee of $75. It is important to understand that transmitting your Record does not complete your application by comity with each state. You will want to go to each specific state’s Engineering Board website (or that state’s equivalent) and identify the additional steps for completing your comity application.
Step 3: Complete all state requirements for your comity application I’m going to give you a head start by dropping a link with all the state board websites thanks to the National Society of Professional Engineers. A little digging around on each state’s website should help with discovering what is required to complete your PE application by comity, in addition to the NCESS Record transmittal. In most cases, you will find an application fee and application (with sections you can likely skip thanks to NCEES). Of course, some states have some one-off requirements such as an ethics/regulations quiz, notary signatures required, background check release forms, and more. I suggest you reach out to the board about one week after you think you have finalized the application to confirm that they have everything they need to review and hopefully approve your request. You should assume that each state will take about 4-6 weeks for their review.
Step 4: While you wait – Confirm your business is permitted to provide services in each state This step is very important! In most states, having your personal PE license and seal is not enough to provide engineering services. In fact, it is commonly against state code of ethics for an entity to even offer services before your firm (whether sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership or LLC) has a business license, Certificate of Authorization (COA) and/or registration with the Secretary of State (SOS). It is very important to research and confirm that your firm has all these boxes checked before planning to use your seal state’s seal. It is worth pointing out that the order of Individual PE, Firm License, SOS Registrations has seemingly been a toss up between different jurisdictions. Some will require specific order and others allow concurrent applications.
Step 5: You’re approved! – Order your seal/stamp Assuming your application gets approved, you will be notified by the state board with any additional steps required for completing the registration. Some states will send your approval with your license, while others may require that you send proof of procession of a valid seal before sending your license. In any case, you will likely have to order an approved personalized stamp with your name and license number from a third party vendor. Make sure that you execute whatever final steps are necessary to complete the registration. You will want to keep close tabs on each state’s license number, expiration date, and renewal fees/requirements.
Good luck to all who plan to complete these comity applications and remember to always work smart, safe, and ethically in all your endeavors! I will be sure to follow up with my maintenance and renewal experiences as I continue my career in Professional Engineering.
About James Marooney, PE
James Marooney, PE, is a Regional Leader for Wireless Services in Washington D.C. at Foresite Group. He graduated from University of Maryland with his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a minor in Project Management. James enjoys working with a communicative team in order to get the job done on time. He has a special interest in working with a variety of carriers, especially learning how each carrier implements their systems and methods to complete a job.